25 September 2012


Is it irony or grief that makes me grimace? I am reading a book whose stated intent is to help me "live life nearly free of fear". The author says we know violent acts by the subtle signals preceding, and we know the subtle signals because we, too, are human. In other words, we understand violence because, deep down, we are capable of it. I am not saying that the knowledge to be gained from observing human behavior will not have practical implications for daily living. But will I really live a life nearly free of fear simply because I know a little more of the depths of human depravity?

-- --

A man sat in the chair across from me,
speaking of a pain that leaves you
on your knees,
on the ground in public places, even.
It leaves your chest constricted, and you
no longer wonder if you'll make it.

This man, older than my grandfather,
looked at me.
This man with three times my life's years looked and said,
you have to help me.

I look him in the eye and wonder at my own mortality.
I am not free of fear, but I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that as deep as darkness goes, grace is there to meet it.

Maybe tomorrow, I can meet the next person's plea with a bit more courage.
And the day after that.  

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