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Monday, October 22, 2007

Filth and excrement

Seasons and cycles.

Such is life. And as you may have noticed, "you" being the one reader i have, i have been going through a season of drought. The muse has not struck with anything heavier than a tack hammer in some time. And i can take a few whacks with a tack hammer before i take to the digital thermometer of my soul. But when the wee little beastie starts digging through the tool shed for larger mallets then i know it's time to 'boy up, drop your drawers and grab your ankles. Time to plunge the depths and see what's down in the deep, dark recessess of my abscessed soul...other than disgusting metaphors.

My season of contentment, my drought of distraction is coming to a close and i heard it's death knell clearly yesterday. The pastor pointed out that Jesus when approaching an invalid who had been so for thirty-eight years actually asked the guy if he wanted to be well before healing him. Now, this seems a bit overly polite for a pre-litigation crazy society, "excuse me, i couldn't help but notice you there lying in what appears to be thirty-eight years of your own filth and excrement and apparently unable to move by your own volition and was wondering if you'd perhaps, like to be healed?" I mean really. How long did the guy have to deliberate? "Yeah, lemme think about that one. Are you coming by tomorrow? Could I sleep on it?" Duh!

But wait. Let's give this a bit more thought that in merits. Thirty-eight years. Being a beggar was all this guy knew by this point. He had no friends, the text says so. We can assume he was homeless. If he was suddenly whole and healthy, where was he supposed to go? What was he going to eat? He was going to have to get a job. He was going to have to reenter society. Infinitely better choices than he had yesterday but how often do we wallow in our own filth even when offered a way out because we're too afraid to make the changes, accept the help, do the things that will alter our conditions because we're afraid? Afraid of the unknown, afraid of being "on our own?" Afraid of what new responsabilities we will have to face? If i quit being a hired hammer for someone else and strike out for real on a writing career, how will i make money? How will i support my wife and children? That would require research and stuff and what if i can't sell anything? What if nobody likes the crap i write, i mean, have you read it? i make rectal thermometer metaphors for cryin' out loud! Whoa! What if i have to spend my sunday's writing instead of watching football?

It's actually not that hard to see why we might tell Jesus, "nah, you know, just lying here hoping someone will drop a quarter or a crust of bread ain't that bad a gig. i think i'd rather stay down here on the bottom rung, folk don't expect that much from me here." It's a heck of a lot easier to just get up and go to the mill where all the decisions are made for me, or at least i've gotten used to the ones they expect me to make.

"Do you want to be well?"

i dunno. I think i want to want to be well.

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