Traversing the Subtler Shades of Believing

More than anything, pray for clarity.
“Lord, teach me the way to achieve _____.”
is a far more effective prayer
than “Lord, please give me _____.”

The Spikenard Won’t Wash Off

Why did You choose me

choose to not turn me away
nor cast me aside,
choose me to survive the fire,
to break me early
enough to be saved
enough to be brought back
singing
enough to again
find my way to You?

Why, among the many,
I came to be one of the few,
what did You see?

Why did You raise me
from the shackles of
my defiant addictions,
why did You pull me out
of the ashes of the world
that I so wantonly
burned down myself?
The queue was long
and I had no great hopes
for my turn
but I almost perceptibly
felt You pass me
and tap me on the shoulder
to receive Your blessing,
why?

You know me.
I who have nothing
of myself to speak of,
I who willingly walked
over and over
to the edge of calamity
and dared Your wrath
to strike me down,
I who put You to the test
so many times,
I who was always weak
and ignorant
and proudly used that card
to go against You
I who can never forgive myself
and would only have
too bitterly understood
if You had closed all doors,
why me?

In the trenches
of my personal darkness
I hear Your grace working
though I am occupied by hunger
and so bound to this world
to truly comprehend the light.
I know I am chosen
and there is no justice,
only mercy,
only love.

Descended from Job

And if there has to be a death, God
please let it be quick
the things about my soul
the color of the lens before my eyes
the song that my faith walks to
the premises of my dreams
and my love,
my precious love
for which I forsook everything
and sacrificed everything
that I protected at all costs
the most beautiful parts of me
if You’re that intent, o God
in your plan that
they must not survive
let the end come now, please
while my spirit is taking respite
from its innate defiance
I never gave in to the world, God
You saw me
I never let up for them, but
I willingly surrender them to You
everything I’ve held important
all my life,
if they first have to be taken
as a requirement for there
to be a rebirth, for me
to be reborn, then
take them now, when my
misguided strength has
slipped, and my heart
is too broken to hold on,
do it now, if You will do it at all
if it’s the only way that’s left
for You to replace the things
I’ve wanted for as long as
I can remember,
if Your design is to perfect me
and who I am now
stands in the way,
get me out of my own way
if my steadfastness has evolved
into rebellion, quash it now
and strike me to the ground
but please,
get it over with
swiftly,
mercifully,
because it’s hurting too much now
I don’t think I can last
that much longer subdued
by this lingering pain
it’s killing me
and if this death is Yours,
hold my hand
just so I know
this series of losses
is preparation, not abandonment
show me Your hand,
that I could be assured
that the only reason why
it has to fall apart
is because I’m about to be
made whole,
that I’ve been resisting it,
and it’s only for my own good
if I can believe it
until it’s done hurting
until the veil lifts
I’ll stop fighting Your will
long enough for You
to put Your wisdom
on me.
.

shouldertattoo
.
untitled photo from the image bookmarking site, WeHeartIt

Hypersomnia

Let me sleep.
Because I can no longer look
at people taking what is not theirs
at the greedy raping the faithful
while the rest stand back
and do nothing.
Because I can no longer stomach
the sight of the innocent
the desperate, the deserving of miracles
being robbed of their last hope.
Because I will not take money
to do the opposite of what I believe in.
Let me stop believing.
Let me close my eyes until
I am as hard in spirit
as the world You placed me in.
Because I can no longer fight
their roughness with soft,
pliant sincerity while You refuse
to let me transform myself
into something more fitting
and just as corrupt
as the reality I am facing.

If I tell You I refuse to participate
in Your great, grand plan,
will You finally strike me to the ground?

We can compromise.
Just let me sleep.
Let me sleep forever until I am dead.
.

sleep
.
“Sensual Female” by photographer Carlos Nunez

The Soul’s Cul-de-Sac

Here I am, God
Here it is
I’m putting it all
on the line
for the last time
they can say what
they will but
You and I, God
we know the truth
we know if I
fall apart now
I won’t get up
You and I know
which bridges of faith
are broken
which roads to You
are blocked forever
which lines to Heaven
no longer exist
You and I named
this dead end street
together
I will not fail
by Your will
but success
is not guaranteed
and what You’ve taught
cannot be un-taught
cannot be un-learned
there is only this,
now, the visible
end of the road,
the yawning gorge
and the jade stars
of eternity
.

[I originally intended this piece to have the title ‘Quiet Tears on 30th Street’.
This was an actual prayer I found myself praying at 7:13pm, February 1st, 2011, while walking along 30th Street, Fort Bonifacio.]
.

barefootwet
.
“Summer Walk” by photographer Ines Perković

You Are

You are the strong man
man of character
the brave soul
resolute with light
fortified in convictions
that I always wanted

the more I talk to you
the more memories
I run into
from way back in my past,
the time when I was
trying to build my faith
from scratch
a painful process
but imperative
something I required of
myself, so I could say
I saw all my choices
before I decided

that was long ago
but many questions were
left unanswered
that I’ve forgotten
I’m not proud of that
but what felt like
a pointless wait
took its toll and I
was entrenched in other
things of consequence
or so I thought

but every time I loved
afterward
every time I looked at a man
I was looking for that
that clarity
that understanding
that promise of answers
or active search for answers
that unrelenting
that unwillingness to
let go of something
important, more important
than anything

and now I realize
I caused myself so much pain
by ignoring the signs and
trying to consort with
ones much weaker than
what I truly desired
men of timid faith
hearts most common
sleepwalking through life
their dogmas floating
belly-up in the stream
unable to break free from
all that weighs them down
unable to seize direction

they were unable
to carry me

not with that wobbly truth
not with that deception
not without the stalwart
uncompromising indomitable
will and spirit I found
nowhere else but in you
.

muscles
.
“Muscular Back” by Manji Designs

Between Two People And God

I asked my friends
to pray with me
for my heart,
because I love you.
My helplessness
needs as much help
as it can find,
the comfort of a
webbed network
of lights to cushion
my fall, and lift me
up daintily, daily
in case God granted
me an audience.

Love is supposed to be
between two people
and God, but prayer
is liquid.
It compresses and
freezes and flows and
spreads its malleable
electricity inside
cracks where
one lover’s faith
can only take her
so far, and makes her
soul rock-solid. Strong
enough to lean on.
Enough as foothold
for a steady climb
towards eternity.

They saw tears in my
eyes when I asked them.
They heard the washing
tide in my voice, ready
to sweep me away.
I made them pretty
pearls out of the salt
to serve as reminder.
They promised to pray.
And now every
evening I love you
I imagine the satin sky
bathed in the wisps of
curling smoke from
candles lit by all the
prayers rising, binding
you to me, the greatest
gift in all the world.

* * *

You asked me how
I do what I do,
and I said,
“With no fear,
and a love that is
always enough.”
.

bokehfence
.
“Fenced Friday in the City” by photographer Leandro Pérez