From my ascent I paused questioning if I should look back, afraid of the thought that I too might turn to salt. The quiet stillness within continues to push me forward, ever onward towards the heavens. Recently and for the first time I longed to rid myself of the flesh that surrounds me and imprisons me in this place, but not yet, not yet.
The familiar faces that surround me are all masks and the players behind them have convinced only themselves that they are hidden; unknown. The eyes give away everything. Sadness, apathy, defeat rests in the shadows behind the cornea. “If then the light that is within you is darkness; how great is that darkness!” Their quiet suffering is almost unbearable at times and I find myself suddenly aware of Frodo’s plight upon his return to the shire. All those that surround him seem ignorant to the battle waged, to the great suffering that has passed and is still to come. They waste their time complaining about their frivolous things, their minor inconveniences, and blame everyone but themselves for the state of their own lives. They know not of the great rescue, of the King that has risen to save them all. They sit in their comfortable chairs and slip away into other worlds, other people’s lives so they don’t have to face their own. And within them a hunger stirs, a thirst for life, for life to its fullest. Yet intertwined in these hopes of hopes also stirs a great darkness, a shrinking feeling, cold and hollow. With one hand it keeps your fears ever present, telling you it is better you not risk it, whilst the other hand nails down your shackles. Fear stands like the guard at the gate to your cell and every time the humblest of hopes of leaving arise he stands to meet your gaze and you hand him the keys to lock you in… again.
Death. Death clarifies things. There is a duality. As he wraps his arms around you it is as if one arm is there to bring great suffering; pains upon pain, as the other softly comforts you, reminding you that an escape from that pain exists. Death is not the end. So fear of death is illogical. I am surrounded by prisoners imprisoned by themselves. They are already dead. Sin is the death of the soul. The fading and failing of the body matters not when compared to this. Sin is a soldier of fear. For as long as evil is present in this world, as long as sin remains, fear will remain. Shall you wait for the absence of fear you shall wait evermore.
The skies are growing dark and the hour late. Plots continue and mad men move their pawns very slowly, gradually in premeditation. The dominoes have begun to fall and though the soft knocking is audible, most turn a deaf ear. In this fashion the game will move forward until the empire begins to crumble and you beg to have your keys taken away, crying “lock me in, protect me” to the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The conquest will come swiftly over the individual for that is all we have become, no longer a community or country, but rather the meager collection of individuals, a pile of disconnected links that once formed a chain of insurmountable strength. Realities are not shared, only perceptions. Everybody’s okay. Everything is not okay. Everything is very very wrong.
Yet as I crest the hill I remember that it was not myself that led me away, but the quiet stillness within. It took death to open my eyes. No longer can I remain surrounded by such suffering. No longer can I stand to do nothing about it. So as the fingers and voices rise, I will stand and try to emulate Frodo when he said “I will take it.”
Let your voice rise against yourself first, your finger point inward. Strive for greatness of character and not material success. For all the things you may accumulate will eventually rust and fade away, but your character has the chance at immortality. Seek the truth and when it scares you and shakes your foundations, stand fast and find courage. Know that you will be in my thoughts and my actions. God speed.