Faith
Comments 6

See Beyond the Gate

Once an open gate:

arms open, heart flung as a bare

and unlatched door.

Of hurt, of hate she’d had her share, and of troubles sore;

But none too great — no pain so glancing rare to shut the door,

To latch the gate and clutch, aware of too much, too… more

than one can abate

with words or logic fair

and return as before.

But no more.

There exists, in every heart, the construct of fences. We gather them from experiences. They lay in piles, tidy or not, and wait to be used. The fences we build around ourselves are intended to protect, to draw a soul-circle of space to live within.

But how a fence is built and the materials one uses makes all the difference. Is it for protection? Is it to become a rocky barrier or serve as a bulwark against upcoming storms? Is it permanent, barbed? Is there a gate?

I am, admittedly, not much of a fence-builder. I have a low-slung rock wall around my heart, a large space that I like to call mine. I am easy to reach, though one rarely finds me near the property line ready to chat with passerby. I can be seen digging in the soil of experience, looking for treasure, sorting through the materials available to me. I don’t want to build a barrier, just a hedge of protection, just in case.

'Cam High Road' photo (c) 2006, Dave Wild - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

But, there was a season, a span of years to be counted on a hand, that I might have built big fences.

All my trusting openness left me vulnerable to a sucker-punch in the gut. Many years of free access to the inner spaces of me cheapened the cost for admission to my emotions and I found myself being trampled. Trampled by the feet and words of careless companions. Over time I became worn down to a stub of hope, I was almost defenseless when the battle-night came. And it came. It lay waste to the interior of me, rushed through as a howling hurricane that pays no mind to the destruction left behind its fury.

Crashing onto our bed, I lay encircled in the arms of the man who promised to husband me, and I cried from someplace deeper than the womb. Concave with sadness, I arced into a closed circle and built a fence of elbows and knees to protect the sacred remains of me.

I say almost defenseless, because there was that small stub of hope; because there were a few who loved me and with tender strength, placed firm feet against the gate of my inner wall. They kept the door open and a crack of Light shone through. The Light was too warm, too delightful, too inviting to ignore.

The Light kept asking me, “Do you want to stay here within the dark confines of a hurt-built barrier? Or do you want to see the other side of your fence?”

And the Light drew a path, cutting a harsh and glowing line to its source, like a day-dawn stream–brilliant and white–that slices cracks through dark curtains and wakens me from sleep.

'Presenting the door' photo (c) 2009, The Mighty Tim Inconnu - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It began as a letter of ten verses read with bleary, tear-sore eyes on a glittery summer morning; a  gift and promise to a chosen nation, and now to this certain sad and lonely girl:

The desert and the parched land will be glad;

the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.

Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;

it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.

Strengthen the feeble hands,

steady the knees that give way;

say to those with fearful hearts,

“Be strong, do not fear;

your God will come,

he will come to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Then will the lame leap like a deer

and the mute tongue shout for joy.

Water will gush forth in the wilderness

and streams in the desert.

The burning sand will become a pool

the thirsty ground bubbling springs.

In the haunts where jackals one lay,

grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

And a Highway will be there;

it will be called the Way of Holiness,

and the ransomed of the Lord will return.

They will enter Zion with singing;

everlasting joy will crown their heads.

Gladness and joy will overtake them,

and sorrow and sighing flee away.”

{from Isaiah 35}

And the question whispered, “Do you want to see beyond the gate?”

And the hammer dropped, boards fell and my handful of nails scattered, and my answer came through hoarse, “Yes, please.”

And a moment later I breathed, “Thank you.”

And the Light grew and drew me into its ever-widening arc.

///

Friend, what are your hurts? What materials lay scattered on the property of your soul? Have you built your wall? Do you want to see beyond the gate? You can, the promise is there for you, too.

{linked with Peter Pollock’s One Word At A Time: Fences}

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6 Comments

  1. cheryl says

    I stand the gate and knock…we’ve all been there and sometimes we get so tired…..been there love u

  2. Love.this.

    His light creates the path, the only path we must follow.

    I’m thinking of posting a series of guest writers who allow themselves to be a poetic pen in God’s hand. Are you interested in guest posting?

    • Yes! Certainly. Thanks for considering me. Oh, that I could remain in his hand –pen or any other implement– and share his word!

  3. With all our open gates, there is always the chance that hurt will find its way in. Some pain is actual and some is perceived. I am happy that elbows and feet were there in place that would not allow the gate to close entirely. We must keep the gate open, because our hurts can be a learning experience for others. Especially when you have discovered the light that expels the darkness.

  4. Danelle says

    “I don’t want to build a barrier, just a hedge of protection, just in case.”
    This line in your beautiful writing really spoke to me. I am a hedge girl too. Just in case. But God wants all of us. No hedges. He is my Protector. There should be no hedge needed. Yet, I know that I do this. I will be in prayer about how to knock down every fence, every barrier. . .even the small hedges.
    Thank you Aly.

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