i am not my own (Abide with Me)

…fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord with me abide…

Both viruses and people get themselves into us, infect us, surprise us, and change us–both for good and ill. And when they depart we are left with that most complex simplicities of emotions, asking simply: what was that? The story, the episode, that previously seemed to exist with such continuity now seems so disjointed from all others that “the purpose” seems our only thought.

…When other helpers fail, and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, abide with me…

We wonder, we wander, seeking our Home, our Rest, our Selves. We recast our history in the eyes of this present trial, this present pain, this present darkness, and feel the twitch and fear that comes whenever we seriously consider all we’ve done before and all it represents within us–all the trials caused, the pains committed, and the darknesses within us.

…though rebellious, and perverse meanwhile, Thou has not left me, though I often left Thee…

And through the fog and tears, in moments of clarity and reprieve, a truth quietly whispers from within–a blanket draped around the shoulders of my soul in which I find my Rest and Warmth. It is a Story. A Tale. The Story. The Tale. A rapturous and beautiful and tragic piece of foolishness:

Two lovers parted. A chasm. A journey. A sacrifice. A reunion.

This I feel stirring in my soul, pushing its way through my tears and thoughts, seducing me to lose myself in its sweeps. And I must. And I shall.

I need this lover. I need this chasm crossed. I need this journey made. I need this sacrifice accepted. I need this reunion. I need to be swept up in the Story. I need to find these clouds and storms in my spirit find their proper place in that journey to “reunion” all things to Himself.

…Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be? Through cloud and sunshine, abide with me…

But the storms are terrifying, the journey perilous.  It must be done to see my Lover, to have Him more, but oh the waves! I doubt grace. I doubt change. I doubt how far I’ve been brought and how strong the Lover is.

…I need Thy presence every passing hour. What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?

But He’s here.  Even as I endeavor for Him more–to taste, to know but one more glimpse of His face–He is here.  He is the Rock of my soul, the Life of my breath, the Calm of my heart.

…I fear no foe with Thee at hand to bless. Ills have no weight, tears lose their bitterness…

And the irony is known; the comedy of the story felt.  Absurdist is the tale when focused upon one. Romantic is the tale when focused upon the One.  The journey and the reunion find themselves not in the storm, but this storm finds itself within the journey.

And the waters calm.  And I know, I feel, I taste the Presence in my soul enrapturing me, catching me and translating my soul into heavenly tongues with which I cry to my Lover to draw near.

And He does. And I am sustained. And I am known. And I am approved. And I am reunioned to the One for Whom my Soul was made, in Whom I find my self and my rest.

…Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes; shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.  Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee…

…In life, in death, Lord, abide with me.

I am His. He is mine. This is Hope.


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