Alone

Alone again.  Naturally.

I sit here in the wee hours and, as I often do, contemplate the big questions.  Oh, sometimes the little questions pop up too–such as: I wonder if I burned enough calories on my bike ride earlier that I could eat some chips.  (The answer is always yes, no matter how far I rode.)

But more often than not, I think about life and death, or turmoil in the world, perhaps even about social change and justice.  I argue with myself about my faith, questioning those things I am dogmatic about in public.  I reflect on the path my life has taken.

Funny.  I love being with people.  I really do.  But, I don’t do much contemplating while I’m with people.  Surrounded by others who think much the same as I, I agree with them and commiserate about folks who disagree with the truth we know. 

We know.

By myself, I wonder.  I pray.  I consider.

In the dark and alone, I find the courage to take my faith out and examine it.  It’s not always a pretty picture.
____________________

“This roast beef is amazing, Mom!” 

The young man was talking with his mouth full, but the Lovely Lady didn’t mind.  She smiled and thanked him, as she passed the platter on around the table.

Hmmm.  I guess what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.  I have heard that ignorance is bliss.  I’m referring to what happened earlier that day, when no one else was around but the Lovely Lady and me.

The day before, while we were wandering the aisles of the local supermarket together, she handed the package to me.  It was huge. 

Huge.  Enough to feed twenty people.

But earlier on the day of the dinner, she stood in her robe at the kitchen counter, butcher knife in hand.  She wasn’t gentle.  Slicing here, cutting there, she removed the chunks of fat and inedible gristle from the beautiful, huge roast. 

It was not a pretty picture.  But, the result?  Perfection.

Absolute perfection.  Ask the young man.  Just don’t tell him about the lady in her robe.
____________________

Alone.  I examine what I believe and who I am becoming.  With friends earlier, I was almost proud of my accomplishments and how my faith in God has lead my steps to this point.

Perhaps proud is not the right word.  Maybe, I should say satisfied, or even content.

It is a pretty package.  I’ve wrapped it rather neatly, I must say.  And yet, I get the sense that what’s inside isn’t quite ready for consumption. 

Not quite…

He would never do it unless I invited Him

I can’t be trusted with the knife myself, you know.  It is an attribute I share with King David of old.  He recognized it, too.  That’s why he invited the inspection and the cutting. 

Search me, O God.  See if there be any sinful way in me.

It is a process that must be repeated.  Over.  And over.

I think it seldom takes place in the company of others.  At least, that is true for me. 

So, I sit alone and contemplate.  Well, not completely alone.

He’s here too, you know.

Somebody will have to use the knife.

 

 

“They only babble, who practise not reflection.”
(Edward Young ~ English poet ~ 1683-1765)

 

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
(Psalm 139: 23, 24 ~ NIV)

 

 

 

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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