It began as an unusual, intriguing story that few would create even from their imagination. From then, til now, the question has been, whether the Encounter (let’s call it that for now) has been the highlight, or the worst that could have happened in the past year. A beautiful blessing, or a painful curse. Certainly memorable. But memorable to the extent that it grips, with a suffocating hold, that haunts and lingers.
In many ways the Encounter has inspired me, to love the God I love, and to love the scriptures that I love. It tested my heart to see whether there is anything on Earth I hold onto, that I set my hopes upon, more than God himself. Because of it, I have practiced stillness in prayer, and considering my ways carefully, that I may walk in obedience and integrity before God. The Encounter brought a little brightness, a little clarity, to work and medicine, planting also in me, a renewed desire to fellowship with others in the field. My love for what I once loved has been enhanced too, in the smaller things in life – in writing, in books, in appreciating music, in playing music, in art.
As suddenly it came, it went. How insistently, persistently it tugs, like a small child questioning all it sees. How it questions what you thought you knew, about the commitments you once thought you could make. How it lingers, and settles gently like flakes of snow, whitening the whole landscape, touching all that you do, especially all that you love to do. How it barges in unannounced, and sinks deeply into a couch like a guest who has overstayed his welcome. The author never asked you for permission before orchestrating a series of unlikely events, and you are left wondering whether each line is scripted, or whether you improvise according to your role. Watching impatiently, waiting for the convoluted twists to unfold, and come to a finale.
That double-edged gift of a desire for solitude. Some journeys are private. They are better made with a few, than with the eyes of many curious onlookers. Sometimes it is better to be quiet, than to attempt to give words and form to the confusion, the grief. For to be unheard, is better than to be heard and not understood, or misunderstood. If one died, you would be excused for grieving, but when such an Encounter dies, your tears and sadness brings frowns and condemnation. In fact, having an Encounter at all is enough to deserve a gasp. Surely it’s because you are immoral! You are not addressing your issues. What are you doing about it. There is a lesson you are not learning, you must be doing something wrong. To be sure suffering always teaches – but what awful accusation! Inaction is more difficult than action. And how it hurts, not because you are doing something wrong, but because you are trying to do what you know to be right. How the aching gnaws at you, making you very tired indeed; the yearning for what you cannot have, with a strange and not-at-all-comforting twist that, you do not have because you yourself agreed that you will not have.
God, you know. The terrible beauty, beauty terrifying to Encounter – would you erase it?
Finally, this is not riveting poetry, but I think for a high school girl it isn’t too bad, and the couplet describes the state of things quite well (though perhaps at that time, I mistook Infatuation, for Love):
To you, desiring my touch; recall the rife,
The awesome strength on you I hold,
Which conquers heart, and owns the reins of life,
To taste splendour, to me your soul you sold.
But flowers of joy to man I generously give,
I hear the streams of honey-laden thoughts and say,
Without my warmth, oh can you truly live?
Without my colours, will your garden not be grey?
My game will end, and you will be set free,
A choice not mine, to Time that day appears,
Return my Love, your anguished heart shall plea,
I watch afar, those floods of longing tears.
And ever I mingle man’s pain and bliss,
Cruel? Think. Without my threads, life’s thrills you miss.
– Quackling, 2005