Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Sometimes I need God to show up physically. I have always imagined that if I were a better Christian I would be able to sustain my faith with the ephemeral knowledge of God's presence in my soul. I would be able to be joyful when life crumbles, to feel content in pain, to feel God's presence in isolation, all because of an intimate knowledge of God's friendship in my spirit. Whether or not that is true, I don't seem to be that Christian yet. I rather doubt I ever will be.

On Wednesday I crashed. I went home that afternoon and begged him to be near me, to let me know his nearness, to meet my physical needs with more than an ephemeral hope. A God who would take on our flesh and resurrect it must, I hope, intend to redeem the flesh and blood of our world. Banking on that, I scribbled down a prayer.
And you were always near as air
When I was battered in the war—
But I am broken flesh, and your
Ephemeral love won't mend this tear.
You may have spoken in the wind and tongues
But I would have you feed more than my lungs.

And I have loved you, in a way—
The way a cripple loves his staff
Or as a slave his master's laugh—
At least I limpingly obey.
But lest I feed your sheep here with a cane
I'll have to ask you firstly for the grain.

And you had hinted there'd be rest
Though I have only found your yoke;
But souls that never slept awoke
To find the thief become a guest.
And you would dine with me despite my fear
That I have only loaves and fishes here.
Right as I put the finishing touches on my poetic demand for God's tangible presence like the Israelites had in the wilderness all those years ago, transcribing it from my journal to my poetry book and reading it through one last time there in my cozy green cottage God provided for me almost three years ago with a green picket fence, my phone rang. It was the graduate director of one of my number 1 schools from that bleak application season. It was a long-shot school that I wasn't particularly sure accepted anyone, offering me a position with funding early enough in the season that I hadn't even had time to start getting nervous.

I don't know if the saints and martyrs had been able to get on without physical reminders of God's presence. I'm grateful that so far God does not seem to be expecting that kind of sainthood of me.


Anonymous said...

(Dad smiles his sweet satififed/proud smile after I read this to him)

Well said Merry. AND well done!

Christian H said...

Congrats on the acceptance.

It's odd, though; you wrote "Manna" and added a picture of the Eucharist settings, so I was thinking you'd have mentioned the Sacrament. And, yet, you didn't. I sometimes find that I so craze a sense of Christ's physical presence when I'm at Communion, but it's precisely when I'm most desperate to feel that Christ is here that I don't feel it at all.

Kate said...

I somehow seemed to have missed this post on my reader. So sorry to be late chiming in, but congratulations on the acceptance. Well done indeed!