These Present Sufferings

Last night, the ancient fire stoked
Poking again the ancient burns
Seared into flesh once tender-
Yet never without yearning.

Nearly thirty years, I’ve known;
Nearly thirty years I’ve heard the call’s persistence,
But reprimanded- gender demanded
A more quotidian existence.

Now they say it’s a new day.
Now it’s my responsibility
To weed out whatever lies
They sowed into my identity.

I wept to You today.
Wept, and begged, and confessed
Willing to surrender, to forgive-
Years of anger repressed.

Fearful, as Aaron and Miriam
Raised their voice in similar fashion,
And You rightly struck her pale
Until Moses pled compassion.

I sit with Brother Lawrence now,
All my energy spent-
I ponder still if I’m in Your will;
If I know how to repent.

I thought of what they kept me from:
Visible learning, belonging, a voice,
But they existed in constrained abstraction-
My conscience rejects that choice

But I might not have.
This is the thought I cannot lose-
Had clergy embraced my passionate adherence,
Praised for artificial virtues,

I would have engaged in the show,
And become a company-man.
I would have watered down the truth
Mitigating the crowd’s demands

And I know I, the corporate protégé,
Would have died in the rote
Expecting You to be pleased
With the foreign fire I devoted

Equating obedience
With the art of being heard
Instead of the manifest calling
To lay it down, to serve-

Never to learn the simple beauty
Sitting with the bereaved
When no one expects a word from me,
But hears the hope that I believe

Never to live out my faith
When only You are watching:
My gifts, my thoughts, my heart,
All to only You, I sing-

The summation of these thoughts
Lifts my broken face
A lifetime of biased rejection-
A provision of dearest grace!

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