A friend walked through my door today…he did it by making a phone call. I’ve been hiding at home since my father passed. Hiding within the four walls that make a cell more tightly binding than bars could ever hold. Memories tie tightly to my soul and visions of the future frighten me more than the specter of any physical destruction ever could. I have felt the flames of hell and they are of my own making; they have always been thus. Fear of being alone. To me this is what hell is.
The Bible does not, in the original, mention a hell as a place of fiery torment. Gehenna is mentioned as a fiery pit-and it is, to this day, a place outside of Jerusalem where trash was taken to be burned. The pit was also used to burn paupers who had no money for burial-thus to not spread disease throughout the land. The torment spoken of as hell was explained as “separation from God”…and what could be worse than to be enclosed in an endless space, enclosed by fog, separated from everyone and everything-no sound, no sight, no glory of the Maker of all?
But I believe that even if we then find ourselves alone forever, we could turn around–turn and see once more the face of our beloved. the face of God whose arms have been opened to us since the moment of our conception. and yet, I sit here, afraid to leave my house further than the mailbox at the top of my driveway.
I talked to my friend for a few hours-texting back and forth as he made time between the chores he had on his end of the line, as I did taxes and laundry-dishes and tried to keep the raging loneliness at bay for another hour without adding more Jack to my Coke, drinking pot after pot of coffee and smoking too many cigarettes as a low flying bird took a crap on my head. He made me feel so much more alive-like I was important to someone’s life (although he did not bring me the milkshake I asked for, lol). The bad jokes we told, and the ammunition that I gave him (being so very naïve-even after 48 years of hard life)…the ammunition is painfully ridiculous-knowing that I have opened up my soul once again to attack. Perhaps I am only afraid of nothing because there is a specter of possibility hovering where nothing actually lurks but my own overly vivid imagination.
Maybe tomorrow when the dawn alights the sky once again, the fear that was chased away that tiny bit, will recede a mite further. Leaving the intake of breath an easier joy to be had. The steps I take, lighter and seemingly shorter though they travel further. And the joy I need closer to the light I see.