Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Wanderer for Wonderwhat (12)

(Parts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17)

Life is hard, machines are easy
The Wanderer cradled the small child in his arms, desperate and fearful. She was pale, non responsive, and breathing shallowly.
“Don’t.” he pleaded. “Don’t leave me this soon. It’s too soon. What can I do for you? I’d do anything, anything at all.”
He meant it. He had become so connected with her that without hesitation he would have traded his life for hers.
He sobbed, and ached in ways he never knew was possible.
“I won’t let you go.” He whispered over and over.

“God, I know You’re here, I just can’t see You. This hurts so badly, I don’t think I’m man enough for this. This is so hard; this is so hard. I had no idea it would be this hard, I had no idea it would hurt this much.”
In his mind, he strained to turn back time, to make his choices differently in order to avoid reaching this point.

But he was here. And so was she. And she was dying. And all of the sobbing and straining and willing that the Wanderer did would not undo it.

“What do I do?” he whispered into the darkness. “What do I do now?”

“No one ever said this would be easy.”

The Wanderer stilled his breathing and listened, turning his head to hear the echoes in his mind.

“You have choices. You’ve always had choices. It was your choice to meet when you do. You have a choice to change it. Flexibility is medicine; it can heal many things. You have a choice about which battles to fight. This is all about people, not schedules. Times must fit their needs, not the other way around.

“You have a choice before you. Keep meeting on Saturday nights, and steel yourself to let her go. Or, be flexible, and meet on Sunday morning again, and she will revive and grow strong. But I’m warning you now…if you let her grow, she may not look the way you imagined in your mind. That will have its own set of consequences.”

“But she’ll live?” The Wanderer pleaded.

“She’ll live.”

The Wanderer looked at her in his arms, and felt her chilled forehead with the back of his hand. He looked at her closed eyelids, and the tender veins that were visible through translucent skin. He looked at her lips, almost white.

“I want you to live.” The Wanderer whispered. “Even if you look different, even if you change, I want to see you grow.” He broke into deep sobs that wracked his frame and caused his ribs to ache. “Any choice I make calls me to surrender.” He sputtered out between gasps of air. “But if surrendering will let you live, then I’ll give it all; everything I have.”

“You didn’t know it would be this hard, yet you wanted something real. Learn this lesson well: life is hard, machines are easy. To ask for life is to ask for pain, heartache, suffering and tears. But to ask for life makes way for laughter, joy and love that makes a person whole.
Live to surrender, and you’ll know what love is.”

“To know love is to know surrender.” The Wanderer said aloud.
“I want to know love.” He sobbed. “I want to know love.”


They had pulled the couches into a semi-circle and sat facing one another. The Wanderer looked at everyone there, a group dwindled in number to the size they were when meeting in his home. One of them was slurring his words and had the distinct odor of alcohol around him. Most of them had the air of disinterested obligation about them. Yet he knew from talking to most of them that they were hungry for God. It wasn’t a failure on anyone’s part necessarily.
It was seven o’clock on a Saturday night, and for the first time, the Wanderer noticed how gloomy the rented room seemed.

She was pale, breathing in shallow gasps.

“Tonight, I have an announcement. I’m going to make an executive decision. That’s not to say it’s not open for discussion, but I really think we’re at a crossroad here. I believe it’s time to move our meeting to Sunday mornings again. I really think we have a choice. We can keep doing this like we’re doing, and let this expire in the next month or so, or we can see what will happen if we become flexible, and accommodate the cultural expectation of Sunday morning church meetings.”

She was pale, breathing in shallow gasps when her eyes began to open.

“I think it’s a great idea.”

“It’s time for a change, we need a change. Our hearts haven’t been here. I was worried that maybe we were in over our heads, that maybe this was a mistake. But I agree, we should move the meeting to Sundays.”

“I’m for anything that will shake this up.”

The Wanderer smiled. “Me too. Well…let’s go get something to eat. This is good enough for tonight. Next week, be here Sunday morning at 10 o’clock for the re-launch. I’ll bring the doughnuts. It’ll be fun.”

She looked up at him, and her white lips formed the faintest of smiles.


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