A strange necessity

The choir sings, “Take me to the King, I don’t have much to bring. My heart is torn in pieces, It’s my offering.”

i am in a dark room, i don’t know how i got here, i panic. i quietly feel around- to find a door, a window- to discover the extent of my incarceration, i uncover no new information. i hear the familiar voice of a stranger. She informs, “You won’t find your way out like that.”

“Well than how?” i bark, relieved to have an object at which i will direct my frustration. I do not wonder how she got here.

“Go deeper.” She speaks without irony.

i flail around wildly trying to grab hold of her, i can’t figure out where she is, her voice is distant but i can taste her breathe, feel her heartbeat. i am penetrated by of her gaze, i wonder if she can see in the dark, the thought frightens me.

Again i ask, “how?”

“Let go,” She says simply.

The choir sings, “Truth is I’m tired, options are few. I’m trying to pray but where are you? I’m all churched out, hurt and abused. I can’t fake what’s left to do.”

I am in a large chamber, the assembly has been waiting for me, They immediately begin.

“Boy, where have you been?”

“i don’t know,” i respond.

“You say that so proudly. There is no virtue in being lost.”

They are unappeased by my apology and continue

“Well tell us boy, when have you been.”

i’m not quite sure how they want me to answer, i stare down meekly at bare feet on cold red clay.

“There is no virtue in false humility. You know the time has well passed.” They wait for my silent assent.

“Well, with whom have you been,” They persist.

“With my people.” i say anxiously hoping for their approval.

“Really, and who are your people?”

i draw a blank.

“Yes, it is exactly as We feared. Well, can you at least tell Us what you have been doing, boy?”

Without hesitation, i speak, “I have been seeking Justice, trying to create a better world”

“Have you?” one says skeptically “tell Us, how you have you sought Justice.”

“I’ve organized protests and marches, circulated petitions, created platforms for discussion. I’ve worked in social service agencies, given to the needy and aided the destitute.”

“And what did you accomplish? Did your yelling into the air, walking in circles, scribbles on paper alter anything besides your own ego? Have you deconstructed the structure that traps the disinherited? Have you liberated even one child from poverty.”

“No” i respond dejectedly.

“Well then tell Us what have you been doing, boy?”

i think for a while and then utter, “I’ve been seeking Truth.”

“Oh so you are a philosopher than?”

“I would say so. I wrestle with all the questions large and small. I’ve read all the great thinkers I can tell you what they say, why they say it, I can point out to you the holes in their arguments.” I am proud of my answer.

“If you are such a seeker of Truth, why do you lie so much? You lie to yourself, you lie to those around you, you even try to lie in the presence of the one. Yes, you may be a philosopher but you are no seeker of Truth, your infatuation with clever phrases and empty concepts deceives you.”

i yield in the presence of this truth.

“Now tell us boy what have you really been doing?”

“I have been seeking to Love.” i now speak out of desperation.

“Okay, and how have you been seeking love?”

“I guess that depends on the type of love we are talking about, there are of course different types, should I expound on each?”

“If you must.” They sigh.

“Well there is that more fleshy and sensual love Eros. I have experienced that a time or two, not so much recently though, or maybe- It doesn’t matter. I do what I can to fulfill and exceed my partners’ needs. I kiss them softly, hold them gently, I love them intensely. I’m probably done with this kind of love, it always turns out to be so hollow. And then there is Philo that feeling of connection and intimacy that is almost familial. I am a good friend, a good son, an awesome brother. I am there for people when they need me, I invite them to love themselves. And then there is agape.”

i continue mansplaining, “Agape is that connection to the universal through our human community. It seems of a higher order, I’m pretty sure it’s what Jesus was talking about. I smile at random people on the streets, I ask strangers their stories, I will bum anyone a cigarette who asks. So yes, these are the ways I have been seeking to love.”   

“Oh confused boy, what you perceive as knowledge once again deceives you. How could you be seeking to love when you don’t understand that it is all all of the same substance. To understand love is to know the Source. You have merely been fornicating with shadows.”

In hearing this i can no longer stand. i lie face down on the ground. i whisper, “i do not have the words to convince you i am worthy.”

They encircle Me, The One speaks, “Child, this was never a test. You are not here to prove that You are worthy. Such a concept holds no place here.”

“So why am i here?”

“You are are Here to be freed, to be forgiven, to be ‘totally understood, completely dealt with, thoroughly experienced and utterly healed’. You are here to be seen." 

My heart breaks open.

We tarry Here                                                                                                              in the Silence                                                                                                           for a while...

Finally, I sit up knees pressed against chest. I have a question, “So what ought I be doing?”

“Preparing” They say

“For what,” I ask

“You know”, They respond

I do know. I find it oddly comforting that they choose not to say it out loud.

“And how must I prepare?”

“We who believe in freedom cannot,” one begins to sing.

“Tarry here with me for a while,” another says gently.

“Uplift!” A deeper voice proclaims.

“Renounce your attachments,” one voice says almost playfully.

“Study, study the brickwork,” chimes in another.

They no longer speak with one voice. They are turned toward each other their differences are now apparent. I take this opportunity to crawl out of the circle between two legs, She sees me but let’s me go, anyway.

The choir sings “Truth is it’s time to stop playing these games We need a word for the people’s pain, so lord speak right now let it pour like rain, we’re desperate we’re chasing after you.”

I am again in a room. I don’t know if it is the same one. It is not as dark but I still cannot make out its dimensions. This time I can feel water, it rises up to my ankles. Her voice whispers, "

Justice is the liberation of the body from fantasy.

The water is up to my waist now, I know that it contains no lead. She speaks again,

Truth is the liberation of the mind from fantasy 

The water is up to my shoulders now. I cannot swim. I am not concerned. She just keeps right on,

"Love is the liberation of the soul from fantasy"

I am submerged.

The movement of bodies tells my mind that the time for prayer is over. We move to the table for community dinner. My body hopes this one involves meat. It does not. We join hands to bless the table.

The choir sings: Truth is I’m weak no strength to fight no tears to cry even if I tried But still my soul refuses to die. One touch will change my life. Take me to the king.

BY: Demarius J. Walker