08. No!

No: the practice of rage and refusal, surviving through disillusionment.

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2 responses to “08. No!

  1. A Prayer

    No!
    I respectfully refuse to tolerate this unacceptable thing:
    Your silence, your disappearance, your evaporation, your vacation.
    I firmly deny the option of quietly acquiescing to this atrocity:
    Your abandonment, your unfaithfulness, your cruelty, your abdication.
    I furiously object to any of the logical options:
    That a good God is allowing this, or that
    God is not God or good, or that
    God is not, and only this unacceptability, this atrocity, this abdication is real.
    No. No!

    I admit that I may be unrealistic or unseeing.
    But I will not be silent.
    I acknowledge that I may not be thinking clearly or wisely.
    But I will not pretend I’m satisfied.
    Is it an act of doubt or of faith to expect better from you
    Than I am now experiencing?
    Are you the kind of God to want a frail human being to squirm
    In agony and pretend
    Piety?
    No!
    And neither am I the kind of person to do so.

    I am walking on narrow ledge.
    I am balanced on the blade of a knife.
    To one side, I deny my doubts and choose bad faith.
    To the other side, I give up my faith and choose despair.
    I hate where I am, but hate those options more.
    So I compose myself, poised
    Where I am:
    In between.

    Teeth clenched.
    Fists clenched.
    Eyes clenched.
    Throat clenched.
    Heart and mind and hope screaming,
    No!

    It would be easier, I think, to deny you.
    To curse you and turn away, to be converted to
    Ardent and angry atheism.
    I could be arrogant. I could be avenged.
    I could be enlightened and have nobody to blame.
    Nobody to believe either.
    But I stare that emptiness in its facelessness:
    No!

    Even this feeble faith I retain – it is rancid, not working,
    Not jelling, not serving, not surviving.
    The image of you upon which it hangs
    Must go. It cannot be right.
    The way that I cling, or demand, or depend
    Must go. It cannot be right.
    So I stare in the mirror, see the faith that I have and cry,
    No!

    A bigger you must be resurrected.
    A better me as well.
    A wider faith included.
    Until then, I will not settle.
    I will not shut up.
    I will bang all the pots and the pans in the kitchen.
    I will slam all the doors in the halls of my soul.
    I will break glass, bend metal, scrape, scrub, scream.
    My confession is No! No! is my creed.
    I will not give you rest
    While I have no rest.
    So with all due respect:
    To the powers that be:
    No!
    Do you hear me?
    Hear me!

  2. “Of Lament and Hope (Psalm 13)”

    How long, O God
    Will you keep me waiting here?
    How long, O God
    Til You recognize my tears?
    How long will I bear grief in my soul,
    Carry this sorrow night and day?
    How long til I am whole?

    God, look at me.
    Don’t turn Your face away.
    God, answer me,
    Before darkness overtakes.
    Before my path is overcome,
    And all that oppose me rejoice.
    How long will you be gone?

    But as for me, I trust in Your love.
    I rejoice in the help that You give.
    To You I sing for Your goodness to me;
    In You I trust, in You I live
    In You I trust, in You I live
    In You I live

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