Start Me Up

Start Me Up
Credit: Jeff Golden

He knew the car was idling … he could smell the petrol wafting through the hallowed rust. The car was just another issue. A sieve that he knew would do little to protect him should he follow through with the dark thoughts that sometimes overwhelmed him. Right now, though, the light was out and he was belching carbon dioxide into the already compromised air. Another sin he guessed …

He looked up the long, grey column that rose into a steeple. The bell tower overlooked the village and he could imagine that sound. Cleansing, beckoning, perhaps even encouraging? He wanted to get out. Naomi told him, if he came here, the Pastor would listen to him – listen deeply she had said more than once. That was still intriguing to him. Naomi had said she had helped her. Not that he had any reason to distrust Naomi! Hell, he knew on more than one occasion (if she hadn’t held him with tear-wracking-convulsions) … well that was the darkness inviting him back …

His hand went to the keyed ignition, but again he stopped and looked at the church. Clad in limestone, big, imposing and noted the scaffolding. It betrayed that the building was in trouble. Sort of like him, he wondered?

The hurt … well it really hurt! It was like a cold fire that sliced through and rose out of him. Sometimes – when he could hold it no longer, when the bottle couldn’t numb him any further – he was sure that he could smell it. Creeping, seeping and oozing out of him and all he wanted was to be whole … or to finally sleep the long one he heard as dusk kissed the receding dawn!

He really didn’t know what being ‘whole’ might look like, need alone feel like, but again Naomi had shared the Minister-person here could help. She had even suggested the community was part of that, but he was not even ready for one more person to know, need alone a community of strangers! What they would do with someone like him … his hand pulled back from the ignition.

Mysterious Island

Mysterious Island
Credit: Joel Penner

The steeple looked … broken now that he examined it further. There was the sign that had drawn Naomi. A rainbow beckoned to her and he was happy for her and Ruth. They deserved to find someone who would help them shine! But his hurt was not theirs and he just didn’t know what to do.

He had to admit, the smell of petrol belching once more, that he assumed he’d be judged and that the church that he’d been sent to would be a big-shiny-mega-monstrosity … you know like in the news? Ushers, parking lots and that would have been too easy to judge, because he knew he would be judged. And if wasn’t judged, he also wondered whether or not this was even a choice that would help or even be relevant? The reality – in that moment – was that he wasn’t sure whether or not he would be judged, he wasn’t even sure whether they would have much to say to him. As he soaked in the old church, older cemetery, and a rainbow flag, he heard it … a bird … singing clearly, with invite.

It was a sound that brought him quickly back … lost, trees surrounding him and then the break in the treeline and there the Whiteshell revealed a placid lake, calm … what was the word? Safe? Serene? Solace?

As his hand moves to the gear … toward the ignition … he didn’t know if he wanted what he knew he needed. As the car idled, with potential and loss dancing their dance of lament and pain, birth and hope, he took a breath. The next step … well, he exhaled, would lead to just a few more or many … he just wasn’t sure which as the car idled out of the story …

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