Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the comfort of the dark

 
-to South Africa-

Before I knew my Father's name
before I learned to stand
before I knew the sting of shame
or learned the fear of man
I was so new! but on my heart
already much was written
things good and bad, things great and small
things plain and some things hidden

My heart saw far beyond my eyes
and mostly what it knew
was that a thousand lovely things
lay just beyond my view
What better reason then,
to fly! as fast as I could go,
it seems that when you're innocent,
your hope can only grow.

At first I crawled, and then I walked,
and finally I could run
and running once I saw a mirror
shining in the sun
the image struck a nerve of shame
my focus fast withdrew
from where the mountains meet the sky
to me, myself, and you

 As eyes turned in
 a tragic thing unfolded quietly
 In looking in, something of value
 died inside of me
 Never again would I look far
 without a thought of near
  or greet a crowd without a thought
  of how I look to peers

Now clothed I stepped to run again
horizons promised hope
and running once I saw some boys
who read me as they spoke
I'd never seen the words they mocked
I read them with a start.
The tongues of men were mirrors then,
I hid my naked heart

The words they said showed me
the shameful things I had inside
exposure scared me 'cause I saw,
I had a lot to hide.
It then seemed odd that none were naked,
surely what this meant,
was that no one had nought to hide
not one was made perfect

But how to clothe your heart? I wondered
and the more I tried
the more the light exposed
the ugly things I had inside
I built a wall around it
but the bricks turned into glass
I feigned indifference, but I knew,
my lie would never last

My only option then, to hide
it was my only thought
And sighting darkest ocean depths
I found what I had sought
The eyes around and eyes above
burned down upon my heart
I sought and softly sunk into,
the comfort of the dark.

I sighed a sigh of great relief
I closed my weary eyes
 Horizon's that once promised hope
 Retreated from the skies

I settled down into a place
where I could always cope
 All that was left to see was me,
 a place too small for hope

My worries faded softly
no anxiety or doubt
 The passions that once filled my heart
 were slowly emptied out

I found assurance in the water's
effortless embrace
 A silent death is lived
 in every lonely hiding place

And after resting fully,
after waking satisfied
I woke to find the dark
still safely on my every side
I looked around expectantly
for something to pursue
but darkness now oppressed it seemed,
it willed me not to move

And where to go?
there are no destinations in the dark
And why to go?
the passions had been emptied from my heart.
Time passed and then my thoughts
turned to the life I'd had before
and as I thought of hope again
my heart cried out for more

But hope is scarce when you've run from it
running from your fears
and hearts are dull when they've been hiding
from the light for years
The dark which was my friend
was now my terror and my foe
it promised ease but gave despair
I purposed then to go

I rose to leave but
something pulled to keep me on the ground
I'd sunk with ease but
every force of nature pointed down
I tried again, I tried again,
to reach the place above
the more I tried the more I found
my efforts weren't enough

I'd rested long and now I saw
how ease had made me weak
it seems that death is what you find
when ease is what you seek
And death is all that waited
for me, lying in the deep
despair engulfed me as I gripped
the life I couldn't keep

And when my will had finally failed
when I gave up the fight
when all that I had left was
to slip into that good night
I cried a cry to no one,
at my younger self I cried,
I cried cause that's what people do
when nothing's left inside

But
Someone heard my cry to no one!
Someone called my name!
In a language made of mountains,
men and mirrors, hope and shame
And looking up I saw a sight
that caused my heart to thrill
for feet approached upon the waves.
He walks on water still.

Now hope, like lightning, slashed through years of sin and through despair,
And colors brightened as my lungs remembered open air
How great the thrill! when hope comes unexpected from above!
How great the undeserved grace! How great the Father's love!
How great the love that’s shown by the Physician who persists!
In helping men like me who though they’re dieing still resist
And now my heart too small to hold! my voice too small to tell!
the praise that every starry sky is crying out as well!

He asked me then to leave the dark
He offered in its place
A hope that's always out of reach
and always worth the chase
And seeing where I was
and where He promised I could be
I saw the dark for what it was:
A deathly apathy

He drew me up towards the air
I pushed toward the skies
At first it seemed that mainly it was me
that made me rise!
but my efforts only slowed me
and I saw they served to show,
that progress finds the hands
that lift the weight of letting go

And bursting into daylight
I was soon dismayed to see
that the eyes that drove me down
were staring once again at me
But now I saw the only things
that eyes could burn away
were shameful things
I didn’t want inside me anyway

In fact I couldn't always see      
the dross inside myself                 
and so I learned to love the eyes
of everybody else
and though discomfort dogs
the steps of sending sin away,
Life springs from every step
you sweat to take along the way

And stepping out my outlook changed
to something fresh and new
and childlike, I learned to turn
my eyes towards the blue
and something new was born
somewhere inside of me that day
something that has no need to hide
beneath the inky waves

And once again I ran! toward
horizons stretching far
With eyes wide open to the
wonder of the way we are
And as I ran I found a thousand
virtues to pursue
with each one leading farther from
the darkness I once knew

But still I can’t forget the dark
I can’t forget the past
I can't forget how I had tried
to run from things that last
I can’t forget the way
I wasted days, I wasted years
I walked on paths I made myself
from someone else's tears

And looking up I see the many
people far ahead
who wary watched and seeing darkness
ran from it instead
bitter regrets await a man
when darkness draws his stare
so to the man drawn to the dark
I say to you, beware.

Beware, the thrilling drop will end
in places cold and still
Beware, despair defines the end
of paths that go downhill
Beware, a scream will stalk
the selfish sighs of sated wills
Beware the comfort of the dark
it comforts as it kills.


"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable." 
-- C.S. Lewis

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