They brought me word about John that day.
Suddenly I wanted to be away from people,
even those close to me.
For a moment my faith in them wavered.
There they stood, tongue tied,
not knowing what to say to my grief.
And all around them the taint of sin and
like the cosmic sickness it was.
I had to get away.
Away from humanity;
Away from the hate
I motioned them out of the boat,
and they understood my need.
I rowed across to the place of rocks
where no one much ever came.
I rowed hard.
Feeling anger and frustration drain away
into sorrow for that flame of a man
who was my cousin.
There were no questions.
It was the answers that pressed upon me.
The night had touched me
in the zenith of my day
and the gathering storm taunted my spirit.
The oars dug deep into the water
until my arms ached and the muscles
in my back were tight
with the strain.
Lose the burden of divinity
in the ache of humanness.
As I rowed, I anticipated the touch
of the boat on shore,
leg muscles knotting as I dragged
it up the beach
and climbed into the freshness
of that wild place.
No human voice would break the solitude
of bird song and insect humming.
The eagle would soar free above me.
The far shore came in sight.
But it was not the haven of solitude
I had sought.
Running along the shore
and stumbling over the rocks
were the people.
Who told them I was coming here?
How had they found me?
For a moment the sorrow pressed
and the humanness of me wanted to turn
and search for a place to grieve alone.
Then, I spied a curly-headed child
struggling to keep up,
his chubby legs churning
as his father drew ahead.
And another, on crutches, in pain,
but doggedly coming to the spot
where the boat would land.
Their need flowed out to meet me.
Their alienation from themselves,
from one another
and from God.
There would be time to sorrow for John.
But just now was another opportunity
to push the darkness aside;
to give aid to the helpless
and hope to the sorrowing.
The boat touched shore.
Other hands secured it
as I moved into the midst
of those to whom I had been sent.
The little child lifted his arms to be held,
and, scooping him up,
I felt the darkness draining away.
I touched the lame,
I drove the demons far away!
I fed their hunger and in the feeding
I healed their infirmities
and in the healing was comforted.
I spoke words of love and hope
and in the speaking was renewed.
I feel you, John!
Your blood cries out to me
from the stones of Herod’s court.
I feel you, John!
I see your face reflected again and again
in these children we were given
Oh, my friend!
I sorrow for you!
My tears are on their faces.
My hurting is in their hearts.
I’ll see you
in the morning!
c. 2011, Donna Swanson/Splinters of Light