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You came to me when I was young
12? 13? 14?
Walking to school in the cool morning
Green grass lawns and dew.
The world crisp and dripping around me
In shades of fresh and new.
I felt Your fingers
Pulling at my heart, and the whisper:
"Give me everything."
And I knew it was You.

But I said "Not right now.
I just want to be a kid. Everything
Is too much. Will I now be
One of the men at church
Darkblue-suited and sober
Shadow-faced and stern?"
My heart bucked against this
"No God. When I grow up
Then I will be yours.
Then I will give you everything."

And God’s fingers withdrew.

Who has said "no" to God
And lived? Dark years ensued.
I tasted the fun things.
Video games until my thoughts
Ran digital. Dungeons and Dragons
In hours of ecstasy. And as I grew older
Lust of the eyes and the mind
A snapshot of hip or thigh
Savored long into the night.
Clubs and drunken dancing.
Grinding my body against
Women with no names.
Laughing and grasping
And yearning for light.
Fingers clenched tight
Around the prize of oblivion.
Hidden and nestled
And wrestling my sheets.
Desperately dark and alone:
Hide and seek. And never finding
My treasure. Only pleasure.
The taste of something sweet
Dissolving fast on my tongue
Lights out. Asleep.

And then I turned 21.
And You came to claim
What was promised. Everything.
You assaulted me with plagues
And then planted a growling, shrieking
Thing in my chest, something clawed,
Gnawing at the edges of my heart
And my rest fled from me
And I fled from this unseen
Assailant, depression, despair
For no reason; unexplainable
Ailment. I ran and ran into
Dark clubs full of undulating meat,
Hid in the bottom of 40 oz. of Mickey’s
Ran quickly from the quiet moment
Just before sleep, that eternal millisecond
When all my defenses
Switched off
And I was drenched with sweat and then
Faced with the desert of myself,
The nuclear fallout wasteland;
Red skies of discontent,
My absolute terror
Of God. The God who takes

I ran from this assassin
This slaughterer of men.
The God who kills you when he catches you
And rips away everything you like.

And then one college night
You sent impenetrable silence.
Friday night and my ride left me stranded
In an 8 X 12 dorm room empty handed.
Deserted hallways
Eerie how silent, how I seemed to be
A sole survivor of apocalyptic violence
Wandering lonely streets.

And that silence was like thunder
Percussion beating me, bashing me
Apart, throwing me against walls.
Silence was what it finally took
To break me.

And I fell at your feet,
Picturing huge white man's feet
In golden sandals, the only picture
I could assign to what was happening
And I said it's all Yours now.
Here I am Father. I'm Yours and
I will stop this madness, the clubs
And the cussing and the drinking
And the lusting, and I'll start going
To church and try to live right.
And I’ll keep using use these hands to write.
And it’s all yours now.
You can have it.

And you were gentle with me then
Tender speaking, warm against me

I lay spread out on the floor and gently
Like a breeze tussles grass
Like a corpse, like a seed
I flowered at your feet.

And that moment
You gave birth
To silence.
A sound that my heart
Had never known.

You inserted eternity
A forever running rhythm
In my chest, like a second
Heartbeat, like a rolling river
Like a sliver of heaven.
The cord that will never be severed.

And if I am still and quiet
For long enough, close my eyes
And hold my ears and full-nelson my brain
I will always hear this music:

Peace with God.
The sound of silence.
The sound of nothing between us.

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