Connection

They sat quietly watching water trickle down a drainpipe. Unsure of the future but hopeful. Hopeful for no reason other than wanting to have hope. The future was murky. Not clear like the drops that were catching light as they fell to the floor in silence.

They wanted surety. They wanted to know exactly what was coming in the next few moments. Certainty only reached as far as sunbeams and several breaths. Everything else was frail. Their eyes wouldn’t meet. Their hands were intertwined though. She blinked hard as a tear rolled gently down her face, conforming to the deep lines of age. His face was set ahead. Serious and unsmiling. A blank wall worn down by years of empty hope.

The house phone was face down on the table in front of them. The chairs they were sitting on were more than thirty years old, wire and white. The garden’s flowers were all in rows. The grass freshly cut. And there in front of them a drainpipe going drip drip drip.

He opened his mouth to say something. It only came out as a breath slightly louder than the rest of them. She noticed but didn’t move. She had to be strong now and not let him see tears. He had to be strong and not show tears. Here was a pageant of two splintering vases pretending to be mountains. Yet even mountains crumble.

He was the first to crack. Sucking in of air and wavering of speech. She turned to look at him and was so relieved to know that he was coming apart too. There were no words exchanged. Only eyes locked and kisses given and embraces held.

And then the phone rang.

The Crowd

If you had followed Tumi’s gaze you would have seen it coming.

Don’t blame yourself though, no one besides him saw it coming. They were all too amazed with what was happening in the middle of the circle of the crowd to look slightly skyward. They would have seen it. It all would have been alright. We would all not be in this mess if we’d just seen it.

If only we’d heard Tumi shout.

If only the street performer had been a juggler rather than a dancer.

If only a bird had flown past at that moment.

We would have looked up. But we didn’t. The consequences have been unbearable. I can barely look at myself in the mirror anymore. I’m sure the rest of the crowd that was with me, gawking at the dancing street performer feel the same. I hope they do. I hope I’m not alone. I hope they don’t. No one should feel like this.

Maybe it’s not too bad. Who am I kidding? You should have seen it. Dammit. We should have all seen it coming. I hate dancers. I hate the sky. I hate Tumi. I hate what has happened and that it happened to me. I should have just walked past the crowd that had gathered. Sure, it all sounded exciting, but seriously. I could watch better dancing on Youtube.

But I didn’t.

None of us did.

The internet couldn’t save us this time.

Now here I stand. Trying to brace myself. Trying to get all psyched to look in the mirror. Ok… here goes.

Wait. It’s gone…

But…

There was blood everywhere!? Where’s the blood? Where are my scars? There was so much blood all over me? Where are my wounds? Where are my scars?

Unless…

No.

But maybe…

Ah crap. It wasn’t a bomb was it? Not a real one anyway. Just a big bang with red paint.

Ah crap.

The Beast

SAM_1125.jpgI’ve stroked the hair of the beast. The one that dwells within me. It bids me to move to the places that I do not desire. And yet desire more than I can describe.

What could tame my wicked heart?
It despairs at thoughts thinked too beautiful.
It is hard when I know it is made to be soft.
Let rock turn to flesh.

Let death be turned to life.

World locked in silence.
Screaming because we do not hear.
Weeping because we do not see.
Squirming because we cannot feel.

O Lord,
Let death be turned to life.

Neighbours

“Did you hear that?”
“Yes.”
“What do we do…”
“…”
“I’ll go check.”
“No… ok… be careful.”

It’s the middle of the night. Well. Not quite. Does 2AM count as the middle of the night? Everything is at least 80% more confusing at 2Am. Even if you do have adrenaline instead of blood gushing through your body. There’s this report that speaks about how badly people type if they’re woken up during the middle of the night and asked to type. Now imaging trying to do something important? Like running towards your neighbours front door after you’ve just heard a loud bang and a scream. And then nothing. How the hell am I going to do this?

I shift the blankets off quickly, feeling like that’s all the strength my arms can muster. Our black-out curtains make sure that I can’t even see silhouettes. It takes an eternity for me to find the switch and get some light going. It stings when it does. Shoes. Shirt. Pants. All on the wrong way. No time to fix.

My wife is wide eyed, sitting up in bed on her phone. “What’s the guards number!?” she shout-whispers at me. “I’ve got it saved on my  phone… but I don’t know where my phone is. They must have heard that and they’ll be on the way,” I reply, not nearly as brave as I sound.

“Don’t.”
“I’ll be careful. I’m sure it’s all fine, but I’ve just got to check. Maybe he just fell over and needs help.”
“Fell over and pulled a gun trigger?”
“I don’t know what a gun sounds like. Maybe it was something else. Or maybe he did get shot and is lying there bleeding out.”

I’m stunned by the image that I’ve just created in my head. I don’t feel sharepened and ready. I feel terrified. I whisper, “I love you” to my wife and tell her to lock the door to our bedroom as soon as I go out.

The rest of our house is dark but familiar enough that I can navigate the short set of stairs, find the key rack and get out the front door. I can see the edge of our neighbours connected house peeking over the wall that separates us. It looks the same. But scary. House of horrors. What the hell am I doing?

I unlock our front gate, tip-toeing and listening for anything and nothing. I don’t see the guard’s car anywhere. Or anyone else anywhere. The birds are asleep. Is Allan, our neighbour, asleep? The big sleep? Stop it. I hold my position and close my eyes. Still nothing. I step out the safety of our gate and slowly walk towards our neighbour. I can’t remember if he even has a doorbell. He does. I can’t figure out if it’s a good idea to push it. I push it anyway and step slightly behind the garage so that only my head is poking out. A muffled digital tune gently coats the night air. We’ve got the same doorbell thing. Thirty seconds pass. I push it again. Five seconds pass and I hear the door opening.

Allan slowly opens his door, also only letting his head be visible.

“Hello?”
“Allan?”
“Kev is that you?”
“You alright?”
“Yes… what’s going on?”
“We heard a loud bang and a shout. You ok?”

Allan laughs a deep belly laugh. Well, as close to a belly laugh as is possible at 2Am. He steps out from the door and walks all the way up to me at the gate. He’s got a gown on and a big smile. I also step out. Relieved but confused.

“So what happened?”
“I’m so sorry I woke you guys up. You must have gotten such a fright!”
“That’s ok. Seriously though, what happened?”
“Well I read some research that if you get woken up in the middle of the night then it’s really tough to type as well as you normally do. I set my alarm for 2AM and wanted to give it a go. I didn’t even get to my computer before I knocked over a chair and it landed on my foot. I didn’t realise I shouted that loud. Sorry!”

 

Devotional 11 May 2016

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“…their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.”
Ephesians 4:18-19

O that my walk would be acceptable in God’s sight.
Here we have graciously been given light and life – and from no work of our own,
Yet the desire to walk in the light is still fleeting and,
at times,
Much more difficult.

Lord of All Creation, please take my heart and mind and dispense of any darkness. Please soften the hearts of those who have hardened them. Let me not live for lustful pleasure, seeking only to satisfy my own needs, but let me look to the needs of others before myself. And above all else, let the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight. In Christ Jesus name I pray.
Amen.

The Show

David sits in the quiet backstage area and stretches the new strings he’s just put on his guitar. This is the worst part. The 10 minutes before the show. The 10 minutes before all the noise is centred on him.

“Ten minutes boss,” the owner of the venue tells him. David looks up for a moment or two to acknowledge the news that he already knew. A part of him is grateful for the time that remains, a bigger part of him just wants to step out and get this thing done.

The room David is sitting in is lit by a dying halogen light. Everything is orange and warm. The air is orange and warm. The posters on the wall are orange and warm. The speckled carpet on the floor is orange and warm. The time that passes is orange and warm. His chair is plastic and bends dangerously as he leans back and looks at the single bulb that lights the small room. The posters on the walls are of others that have sat in this same room and, it feels like, breathed the exact same air. There is a dull thud that pushes against the black wooden door in front of David. He stares at it and knows what’s on the other side.

Loud music. Loud people. Loud life.

Everything starts to focus in and blur at the same time. He looks down at his guitar that’s still resting on his lap. Fingers trace the lines of it’s black curves. How many times had he sat in this same pose and been lost in the same thoughts? Hundreds? Thousands? The years had been both kind and deeply wicked.

And now as the door swung open one last time David met the owner’s eyes and let out an audible thought that only David could hear, “What’s the point of it all?”