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MAN OF CONSTANT SORROW.




Do you think that I was chosen because my faith is perfect?

You think I don’t know about absent fathers?


Let me tell you about mine.

My father Who Art In Heaven,

gone for cigarettes and never returned.


Let me tell you something about love.


Love is having broken bread with traitors and cowards of my own free will.


It is my mother

standing on Golgotha in her best sandals

for hours, head held high,

watching unflinchingly as they made certain that the threat of me was neutralized. Love does not blink first.


It is my mother and her warm hands, the smell of spices and sawdust, 12 years in the desert waiting to be reduced to the still cooling flesh of a dead son.


this is my body, this is my blood.

Love is a clean funeral shroud.


Passion is not a ghost story.


Meant to be endured, yes,

and come from the same word as patience too,

but passion is a message


Left folded in the insulation of a building that now is nothing more than the bones of a home picked clean by the elements:


FORGIVE.


Forgiveness can only be spoken in tongues. As for passion, it is the holiest litany ever recited.


This is my body, this is my burden.


It is the answer to the most important question there is.


What are you going to die for?


When they come for you in the garden,

my Father said,

crowns of thorns and shackles in hand

and you do not run,

for what love are you laying down your life?


For the friends who could not watch with you even one hour

while you prayed for grace to forgive Iscariot

the kiss that sealed your fate

with all the finality of anthrax

on the glue binding of an envelope?

For 30 pieces of silver?


I do not ask you this because I have all the answers. I only had one, and look where it got me.


By sunrise they will send for someone to rinse my blood from the flagged courtyard stones, though none will come from Rome to wash me clean.


Trust me when I tell you that I know forgiveness weighs just as much as a cross and that in both cases, it is a choice to bear it.


Trust me when I tell you that sometimes love is a spear between the fourth and fifth rib.


Trust me when I say that the test of any choice is to make it a second time.


My love looked like knowing what the truth would cost me and choosing the slaughter over safety.


A new covenant I give to you:

love one another as I have loved you.


Remember?


We may never break bread at the same table and still, stranger,

I love you.


I love you enough to give the gift of my life to you.

Where I am going,

I shall not want

and so I ask you nothing in return.


It wasn’t until the weight of revelation set to crushing my lungs that at last

my father and I understood each other -

none of this was ever about me.


It’s about choice.


I say again, it is a choice.


You are a choice.


They’ll write books about the sacrificial lamb of Nazareth

and his ability to make something from nothing,

forgetting that before I was anything

I was a carpenter in Galilee

whose greatest miracle was making something

from something else.


They’ll forget that The Son of God

was also the son of Mary

and he still had to wash his hands before supper.


Let me tell you something about love.



I did not choose to die

so you would believe in me.

I died because

I believe in you.


(c) Darlington Kilbride, IV - January 2020

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