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'To the Judgment Seat'
A Muse from Clued from 10/18/21
I read your 8/1 writing exercise and it spurred me like a knightly muse kicking at his too-slow horse.
Imagine, if you will, a soul, shivering as it leaves its mortal coil. A loneliness more stark and terrible than anything felt in life. Imagine the comings and goings of angels and demons, on their rounds appointed by the Master. Imagine the lions and octopi and sharks of temptations, Wormwoods gnawing at their appointed Patients, goaded by lip-smacking Screwtapes, and dragging their charges down into the depths. Some struggle. Some are assisted by spirits with many eyes and strong limbs and wings.
The soul hears, not with worm eaten ears but truly as only a soul can, a hymn, an anguished cry, a ranting:
"Vanity of vanities,all is vanity!
What advantage does a man have in all of his labor
Inwhich he toils under the sun?
A generation comes, and a generation goes...."
The words drift on the winds of heaven, until they pass out of mind.
The soul comes to the Judgment Seat.
Memories flash like a too-bright LED, like an electrical arc, like a flash of lightning.
A young boy, pale and shy with a mop of black surls for a head and coke bottle glasses for a face, looking up at his kindly, not quite yet aged grandmother, and asking for a toy.
Older now, throwing up in the backseat of an airplane as it falls to earth, then climbs, and falls again, again, again...
Guns and motorcycles in the desert
Sweat and horses and the pounding of fences where indians once roamed
A fight. punches thrown and wrestling to the ground. Looking up from the ground through blood and watering eyes. Beaten. Beaten. Beaten.
A lover. Chocolate body and curly hair, plump and too sweet like an easter candy-rabbit.
The steady gaze and soft, eastern european voice of the black-robed monk: "Do not worry, do not day-dream so much. The devil, He comes when you are relaxed, and unaware. Be firm. Pray."
The face of a man, tall and large and with love in his eyes. Gold turns to wheat turns to iron, turns worm-eaten and bone-shining.
Another man, just as tall, just as broad, in brown shorts and baseball cap and a light blue collared shirt. Communing with his phone, tracing with pale fingers, with leaves of gold and orange and red and yellow all around the sidewalk, surrounded by the houses of suburbia. The sun shines bright in the middle of a cloudless blue sky, an indian summer in the waning days of fall.
Sitting at a desk, books scattered around a laptop, an open can of coke and glass of water. Upon the corner of the desk stands a small painting of dark blue and violet, an amateur's attempt at re-creating a vague, Hogwarts-like castle upon a cliff overlooking a lake. The steady, melodic chanting of Russian priests in the air.
Always the thought lurks in the back of one's mind:
"What will you say, O man, when you come to the Judgment Seat? Will you have borne fruit of the spirit? Of the flesh? Will you have testified truly? Did you build your body while you were young? Or allow it to wither? Did you weave yourself into the lives of others? Or did you think yourself to be a lone tree in the midst of a forest?
The tree withers and fails. The fruit drops. The fruit takes root, grows, spreads its branches, and drops fruit once more. Again and again, on and on, unto the ages of ages.
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