Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Book I

God help me to seek the truth, and to tell its story,
Guide my head, my heart, my hand, and my pen,
To consider all of life’s history, from its beginning
Up to now, that somehow we can break through lies
And see clearly again, as you created us to see,
As you created us to be, for lies abound: the fog
Of them covers our eyes, like poison it kills,
Like disease it spreads, like cancer it grows,
Like other cycles it spirals, continuously, in seamless
Pattern forever, but to the poison there is antidote,
To the disease a cure, to the cancer a remission,
The cycle can be broken, but it takes perspective.
We must break far enough from the cycle, to see
Clearly once and for all what it is we face—that lies,
When seen from enough distance, outside the battle,
The crisis, the painful emotional crippling fear,
Can be seen for what they really are: empty,
Powerless, shortsighted, and superficial nonsense,
Merely the temptations of our illusioned control.
Help me to see the cycles, the same story repeated,
Again and again, over and over. The moment shifts,
But the choice is always the same: I am in control,
And so I can be, and do, and take whatever I want.
This lie remains at the heart of all the others, so God,
Lead me to this diagnosis, help me gain the trust
Of my patients, and help me lead them to face the
Pandemic, see the pain it causes, and to endeavor
To take the prescription, for it is only this: Engage
The truth, for until we do, nothing else matters,
For the truth is that Love created us, knows us,
Saves us, and is all that can sustain us, and Love
Is engagement, getting messy, moved and moving
Relational but never relative, sacrificing, serving,
Freeing, giving, the beginning of perspective,
For it doesn’t start with concern for us, but is found
When seeking the best for each one else, not
Every but, each, for real love always is personal.

And since we must engage, help us to engage,
Mind, body, and soul, in stories, not statistics,
For each song in the continuum should be sung,
For somewhere along the trickling years of time,
Through history's shifts, twists, and turns, the grind
Of battles, exchanges of power, the tugs and tides
Of war, the rise and fall of kings and systems,
The ebb and flow, wax wane, push and pull,
Of each crisis and latest Armageddon, we see
Love often gets lost in the shuffle of each moment,
For it is in each moment, where lies loom large
When our struggles for survival drown Love’s
Still small, but ever steady and constant voice.

* * *

Since all stories need context, a starting place,
A point where the issues are made clear, where
We come as close to recognizing good and evil
As ever, let us begin this story, in the last great war,
The last time, things seemed clear and simple.
God, show to our minds a boat, speeding across
The English Channel, where dressed in green,
A normal American young man, taken from
His anonymous life is shoved forever into a moment,
Where we see history being made, and the future
Being formed, where lies are being called
To reckon, since Truth’s engagement demands
That sometimes we fight. In the wee small hours
Of the morning, which he knows could be his last,
He seeks clarity, which you often give in times
Like these. Despite the hum of the motor, he prays,
Hoping to hear Love’s voice, above, within, and beyond
The man made noise, cluttering and overwhelming
His worry weakened, doubt infected senses:

God in your wisdom tell me that this must be,
For I shudder at the danger we face this day.
It seems that my life at twenty four is short
To end this way so many miles from my home.
Is there any other way, may this cup pass,
For my wife at home misses me, and I her,
The children we hoped to have, will die with me.
Is what we do today worth such a cost?
Is war the answer, for I look to my right
And I see myself, frightened boys, alive,
Today, but death approaches fast for us,
We know where we go, and what we face,
Part of me feels it’s right, but I don't know,
Illumine me with your spirit O God,
Give to me the truth I need this day,
Alight my path, and come to show me why,
And I'll give my life unto your perfect will,
And commend my spirit to your loving hands.
I pray this prayer in my savior's holy name,
And with hope and faith, I humbly say, Amen.

The stars shone above, twinkling as they have
Since the very first day, and as his eyes shut
And sleep slid across his face, needed peace
And rest in the midst of the tempest of war,
A voice came to his attention, saying:

Greatly beloved, hear me, pay attention
To the words that I am going to speak to you.
Rest now your body, and let your mind
Grab hold of all you've known, been taught,
Thought and dreamed, your words were heard,
On this the first day you set your mind to gain
Understanding, and humbled yourself to God.