Joseph Solomon – “Scars”

I’m just scared to scar again. I’m afraid they’ll laugh at the way I bleed. Fearful to commit to love. You know there’s layers to this, right? And the fastest way to grow tough skin is to get burned.

But scars is what makes us human. Scars is what makes us human. Scars is what made God human. Jesus. After all the pain and rejection, still the only thing He couldn’t commit to was a grave. Yo, wear those scars. Wear those scars like a new necklace on Easter. Show them this is what real resurrection looks like.

No fear in love. No shame and rejection.

Supernova

Stars
Its beginning is magnificent
Birthed in space
Within a colorful cloud of gas and dust
Called a nebula

After its birth
It begins to burn
Burning furiously in a ball of hydrogen
Illuminating our skies
In the day
And more beautifully
In the night

As it nears its end
It refuses to dim
Rather it shines brighter than ever
Growing in intensity and power
Till it explodes
Into the most beautiful
Supernova

Now she was also a star
More beautiful
Than any I have ever seen
Birthed in a nebula
Yet she was of this earth

First time I saw her
She was illuminating
A fireball of all that was beautiful
Her eyes the sunshine
Her smile the sunset

When she spoke
Everything faded into the background
Her words were poetry
Perfectly composed
Matching the beating of my heart

She had a heart of fire
Burning furiously in a ball of kindness
Soft and warm
As the heat from the sun
Reflecting her goodness
On all that surrounds

I lie awake at night
Searching the skies
Hoping to catch another glimpse of her
Wishing upon a shooting star
Hoping that one day she would be mine

In the meantime
I will wait for her
As she burns brighter still
My only wish
That when it comes to the end
For me to be there
Beside her
Holding her hand
As she explodes
Into the most beautiful
Supernova.

A Grief Observed

Clive Staples Lewis( or Jack as he would rather be called) is perhaps one of the most influential writers in history. His works especially those in relation to the Christian faith has being quoted, discussed and widely praised over the years.

To me, one of my favourite books written by Lewis is that of “A Grief Observed”. As I read and delved in the words written on those pages, I realised that this was not merely just a “book” in its ordinary sense but so much more. It’s pages are filled with brutal honesty, questions, and no nonsense answers.

This book was first published under the pseudonym N.W. Clerk. It was written by Lewis after the death of his wife Helen Joy Gresham (referred to as “H” in the book). In a moment of severe grief and anguish due to her death, Lewis observes all that he is undergoing. It is an unfiltered observation in which he tries to make sense of grief/suffering and all the questions it inevitably brings.

  1. No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear

Lewis compares grief to a mixture of feelings and emotions. Those moments of being afraid, drunk, self pity, laziness and wallow. It is agonising, painful and lonely.

2. Meanwhile, where is God?

At the time of writing this, Lewis was someone who would be seen by many as a “solid food Christian” (to borrow Paul’s metaphor). He was well known not just in England but also in other countries as a famous author and Christian. More so, he was regarded as one of the leading apologist of that time.

But in this time of grief, his faith is greatly challenged. He writes:

“When you are happy, so happy you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be — or so it feels — welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.”

In contemplating these questions, Lewis states that he still believes in the existence of God. But his greatest fear is coming to the conclusion that God is not what he all along thought was. From a human perspective at this time of grief, the prima facie evidence points towards not a loving God but rather a cosmic sadist, the spiteful imbecile.

Here is a man who is well known as a great defender of the Christian faith beginning to show doubt. He begins to lash out at God for his suffering and loss and begins to question whether God is really a loving God. In the bible, Job also displays similar emotions when everything was taken away from him. From this we can learn that as a human being, we can never be perfect. We will always fall short of God’s grace from time to time. No matter how well we may try to portray to others a perfect image of ourselves, when faced with difficult times, we will crumble and fall from our own efforts. However, in these times of failures we should always turn to God. By turning to God, we can confront him with our questions and our shortcomings. For Lewis, he showed honest frustration that God seemed silent during this period and he made sure that God knew this. But, he still turned to God nonetheless.

3. House of cards

In Chapter three, Lewis begins to explore these questions from a rational point of view. He begins by acknowledging that he had already being warned of worldly happiness. He quotes Mathew 5:4 “blessed are they that mourn” and states that we were promised suffering therefore everything that he is experiencing is what he had bargained for.

This view by Lewis is directly contrary to those shared by some. Some have subscribed to the notion that being a Christian will result in a “good life”. Blindly, they fail to recognise the paradox of such a notion. Christ did not die on the cross so you can have a good materialistic life in this world. He died so we can have eternal life with him in heaven. In this world, we will face suffering because we are foreigners here and will be considered as such.

Lewis realises that although he knew that suffering was “part of the deal” in his Christian walk, he had only accepted it when it happened to others and not to himself. When it did occur to him, his faith collapsed like a house of cards because it was never real faith to begin with but rather imaginary faith. He had trusted the rope but when it mattered on whether it could bear his weight over a precipice, his faith disappeared.

Lewis then presents us with the analogy of a surgeon. If you are up against a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good, the kinder and more conscientious he is, the deeper he will go on cutting. If the surgeon stops in the middle of surgery because of your “suffering”, all the pain up to that point would be rendered useless and you would not be rid of your ailments and diseases. Therefore if there is a good God, then these tortures and suffering are indeed necessary. Coming to God and having faith in him does not mean that he will let us be. We come to God because we acknowledge our fallen condition and only God can make us perfect, so to speak. But, this will require pain and suffering on our side.

What do people mean when they say, ‘I am not afraid of God because I know He is good’? Have they never even been to a dentist?

Pain

She is merciless

Her weapons are sharper than knives

And cuts deeper than swords

An assassin

Her attacks are precise and measured

It comes in waves

That will leave you gasping for air

And light

As it takes you under

Over and over again

 

She is unforgiving

Indiscriminate of who you are

Or where you are from

Young or Old

Male or Female

Black or White

She will still find you

And she will introduce herself

Until you are well acquainted with her

 

I have met her countless times

Our relationship growing closer over the years

A friend who is misunderstood

Most fear her

I fear that I might be in love with her

Running

Sweat Dripping

Muscles straining

Heart beating

Lungs screaming

Legs pumping

Hands weaving

 

Running from the deafening screams of fear

Running from the never ending cacophony of thoughts

Running from the blunt blows of hurt

And the sharp stabs of pain

Tried to outrun them

But they are faster and stronger than me

They overtake me and I can see the smirk on their faces

I shake my fists defiantly at them

But they just mock and laugh at me

 

With no air in my lungs

No energy in my body

And no hope in sight

I reach a hill top

And there it was

 

The most beautiful sunset I have ever witnessed

It enveloped the evening sky

Slowly dragging the daylight away

Welcoming in the night sky

I breathed her in and gazed upon her beauty

Words were nowhere to be found

As my mind tried to comprehend the indescribable

 

Breathless I stood

As I am reminded

Of the creator who painted this beautiful sunset into the skies

Whose hands molded the heavens and the earth

And who by the same hands

Crafted me in his very own image

And said that “It was very good”

 

My gaze at the sunset is momentarily disturbed

Fear, thoughts, hurt and pain try and distract me

Their ridicule and scorn increases distinctively

They throw rocks of memories into my head and piercing words to my sides

 

But I gaze back towards the skies

Past the sunset and right into the hands of the creator

As he reaches down to hold me

To comfort me

And to guide me into his good and perfect will