take up your own apparatus of torture and death, and walk.

May 3, 2012

feels a little like I’m sitting in a carpark. idling. stalling. waiting for something Godot to happen leavestreesleavesGodot and push me out of the gates and down the street. now I can’t drive at all so my car metaphors can end here.

maybe that explains why my metaphorical car is stalled. I can’t drive. why don’t I just get out and metaphorically walk? I have legs in my metaphor, right?


I wonder if I could push the brake and accelerator pedals with stumps.


ankles. four- five- five?- years ago I wrote a poem with ankles in it. first year student, then. it wasn’t that I thought I could do anything, although I’m sure that was a possibility. it was that I wasn’t aware of how limited I was. I was completely ignorant and blindly bold- rashuncautious– in that ignorance. I wasn’t aware that I have very few choices. wasn’t aware of how little the world becomes, when really what you’re trying to find, or trying to escape, stays the same no matter where you go or what you decide to do with your spare time or the rest of your life.

how meaningless most anything one does is. most things don’t matter. whether I sew something now or decide to read something doesn’t matter. whether I put more time into singing or writing doesn’t matter. does it make much difference in the end? I’m still not paying attention to the thing that matters most. and I am still reluctant to pay attention to it because it is life-consuming and exhausting and unhappy-making. God is life-consuming and exhausting and unhappy-making. and so the words fritter and trivialities appear in the same sentence as time because real life is fucking hard.

being God’s is fucking hard. I’m now reading all the possibilities into what I’ve just said and am amused at the incongruence of some of the readings. and the hindbrain’s just kicked in with things everyone else is going to say. but I have a baseball bat inside my head and I will beat those voices into bruised and bloodied stupor because really, they’re not saying anything I don’t already know. They’re not saying anything I haven’t already chosen to defy. It’s not like I choose what I say without knowledge of  why I’m saying itand I’m saying it. deal or leave.


Self-conscious minute over. Baseball bat out.


To be honest, it’s probably a segment of tibia or something.


I’m quite sure that for some months I was being dragged by the hair through the days and weeks, down the dusty road of adventures I didn’t want to be part of. The Great Adventure. Bah. Following Jesus in the company of friends, Mark Grace says, and clearly he should know because his name is almost as bad as Levi Marychurch’s. But when one says ‘Christianity is following Jesus in the company of friends’, one is leaving out the rest of the sentence. The full, unabridged version of it goes something like this: “Christianity is following Jesus in the company of friends through stark and barren desert roads in unrelenting heat and bitter sunlight and up tiny green hills before you plunge down again into the next endless, infinite valley of swamps and darkness where strange things flame in the night and you’re exhausted and hollow with hunger and frozen deep to the bones of you and each breath sobs out or is choked from your lungs as you half-wade, half-drag, mostly-drown yourself in a terrible, futile misery through the sticky dark with unseen underwaterswimminglurking things wrapping slow and sinuous extra limbs around your body and those limbs bite and burn like fire or glowing needles lodged underneath your skin while people disappear howling and thrashing and gurgling inches from your fingertips and you find yourself constantly bruised and slashed all over, slowly losing consciousness, hands, hope, friends, pieces of sanity, certainty about anybody and most of your faith in anything at all while you drown several times, get set on fire several times more and are resuscitated repeatedly to the same endless soul-destroying horror of it and there’s nothing you can do about any of this, any of this at all except keep dragging your maggot-laden, leech-infested, oozing-with-open-sores body up and down the hillsides and through the dark and the light and the dark again in pursuit of this elliptical, barely visible, beckoning, elusive, vastly difficult- person. Because there is no other choice.”

that is the Christianity I understand. that is the Christianity I am trying very very hard to avoid. this is all the Christianity I have ever known and I would not give up what I have learnt for the world and for all my lost hands and flayed skin and agony, but I really don’t want to have to do it again. and again. and again. and againandagainandagain because following Jesus is like a neverending curse. Following the man who chose to die in the most awful manner possible is just askingfor terrible pain and suffering. I hate pain and suffering. But everyone who follows Jesus is pushed out onto the endless road and into the swamps and the dark and through the flail and the fire and fastened upside down blazing merrily to a cross in the Circus Maximus between lions and Nero having a dinner party to the sound of your screaming. if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his [own freaking instrument of agonising torture] and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the good news will save it.

This is all we have to look forward to no, alright, this is not all we have to look forward to.


I am more than aware that my vision is lacking. I am short-sighted. I am very short-sighted. And I am aware that the word restoration resounds in me sometimes the same way the word heaven resounds in some people but it is very hard to look at and see restoration when all one can see is terrible and devastating ouchery, everywhere, always. I know one of the things that pushes people full-tilt through all this terror is the good news- is the hope of restoration- of everything, everything becoming right and true and truly whole, heart-whole and glorious and enormously, vastly right– and then there’s faith in the God who promised this, that he is good and that he loves us- whatever that means. And we hold on because we believe his promises, because we believe him. Because we trust him. Even when this trust is desperate as words and only words.

But I am so bad at seeing this. And I am so bad at looking ahead for the lights of home. And I so dislike the road ahead. And yet, and yet.

Where else can we go? you have the words of eternal life.


One Response to “take up your own apparatus of torture and death, and walk.”

  1. […] apparently, several years ago. Seems I clearly understood the pain and torture aspect of Christianity, but didn’t entirely […]

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