on Psalm 10
New Revised Standard Version
What I want is to know you are for me,
which seems odd to ask;
that you over and in and of all things
might stand up for me and
fight for me and
stop attacks against me.
I know I need to hear from you,
I need to hear that you are,
if not now then ultimately,
saving me and prepared to be saving me
from everything that fights against me
and inside me
and around me.
You see that I’ve been fighting for a while now?
You see that I’ve been asking for you for a while now?
I want to ask of you
I want a promise of you
that any person
that any group
that any funder
that any fearer
who may be after me
who may be scared of me
anyone who gossips or finagles or whispers
in piety or privilege or petty or paranoia or peril or against me
would be put on the front page
under headlines of shame or confusion
under headlines of disaster or destruction.
I want to hope that whatever they hope happens to me
ultimately happens to them, but worse.
And I think<
were that to happen,
I might be happy, finally.
If those in other worlds of piety and paternalism,
if those in other worlds of arrogance and ambition,
might finally be put in their place,
I think I might,
then and then only,
sing a song of honest gratitude to you
giving thanks that things are well
and trusting finally that you are King
and trusting finally that I’m with those who win.
Trusting finally that I’m worth it;
that this is all worth it.
I would be such an incredible person
when they all get what they deserve.
It feels granted, of course,
for me to wait for their demise.
Because when they struggled, I struggled.
Because when they defended, I defended.
Because when they were offended, I retreated.
Because when they were angry, I apologized.
And maybe I need to know
after all this time
that you are for me.
Because it feels like you
Like you just do nothing.
I’m sorry for saying it, I guess,
that It feels, sometimes,
like I’m paying attention
and you just aren’t paying any attention.
How long do I have to ask for help?
How long do I have to wait for some kind of validation?
Do you refuse to help me?
Am I all wrong about all of this?
And I pushing away from what you are pushing toward?
I can’t believe it,
so if I’m all wrong,
But if not,
will you stand up for me at least?
And if you won’t stand up for me at least,
will you let me know you’re for me?
I’ll give it back to you,
whatever that means.
whatever that costs.
I swear it.
I suppose, finally,
whether or not you decide to be for me,
I need to ask that you be for those,
no matter how big
no matter how small
no matter how wealthy
no matter how poor
no matter how crazyno matter how appropriate
no matter how irreverent
no matter how pious
no matter how marginalized
no matter how important
no matter how detested
no matter how esteemed
no matter how quiet
no matter how loud
I suppose, finally,
even though what I want to ask,
after all this nonsense and ridiculousness,
is that you be for me,
in a way that shows you are against them,
I need to ask less that you be for me
and more that you be for those
And while I’m afraid to let you off the hook,
because I fear you might take advantage of it;
and while I’m losing some confidence in you,
because you aren’t doing what I’m hoping you will do
if I still tell myself the truth,
even if you don’t prove it to me,
or if I’m not convinced that you do ––
stand up for me that is ––
I have little choice
but to keep pushing forward
for your peace
for your shalom
for your kingdom
for our King.
I have seen and learned too much
to only stand with
I can’t stand with the men of standing.
They stand on those you are for.
So even if they win today,
I’m working toward,
more than today:
all the days.
I’ll keep talking about
how you empower
peace, shalom, kingdom;
how you empower your King.
And for that,
no matter what I need to ask of you,
I’ll sing songs of hope and thanks about you.
And the crowds will,
sings songs of hope and thanks about you,
Pine Tree Dr.
It’s been almost one year exactly since I last walked the path of the labyrinth outside my therapy office window. I took about fifteen minutes this afternoon to make the trek in, knowing I wouldn’t have time before my next client to make the walk back out.
My intentions, stepping foot into the concrete-puzzled path, was to pray through an anxiety that has been pressing in on me over the last few weeks. I intended to let the sharp red leaves falling and floating across the path offer a kind of poetic aesthetic that would remind me all is well and all will be well.
As one foot made its way in front of the other, my prayers were quickly replaced by the memories of what was pressing in on me the last time I walked through these same stones. Fear and worry for friends losing jobs, relationships falling apart, futures unknown, and trying to function in the middle of the chaos in ways that were filled with grace and mercy at least in part while I was simultaneously bleeding anger and resentment.
A few loops in now, I remembered that the last time I walked this labyrinth, whatever my intentions were faded quickly and I started to become fully present in spirit learning the bodily art of putting one step in front of the other: something the homicide-loss group teaches me often.
The sharp red leaves did begin to fall and swirl around the gray and burnt red stone as I made my way through a few more loops.
After a round of quiet breathing, I began to see a kind of baggage trailing behind me. In my prayer-walking, I was being given the gift of visualizing all that I am pretending to carry fall from my hands and back and gut and stay behind in my tracks, only where I have been. In the faithful art of putting one foot in front of the other, there continued to be a clear way, and more room to let go of all that is and has been pressing in and pressing down.
Moving closer to the center, I was passing the paths where I had already shed weight, so while I saw them and was right next to them, they were no longer in my way.
I made it to the center, read the etched in Psalm 46:10, and moved back to the entrance, back into the office, and back into a conversation at the heart of a family wrestling to make relationships work.
In spirit and body, and a commitment to putting one foot in front of the other, the weight lightens.