Journey by Jennifer Osufsen (An Easter Poem)


Journey
by Jennifer Osufsen

I meandered through the gray,
another shadow in a forest of forlorn shades.
Black thorns snagged at my withered rags
and I stumbled, snared on rocks underfoot.
Thus I traveled, weary and battered,
a faceless specter in a writhing mass of sameness.

From the midst of the mass
a voice said a word.
It felt vaguely familiar, magnetic,
as though the word lived inside me,
and I around it.
Yet I shook my head, tossing free the irritant,
continuing to stumble and rise.

Then off to the right, the leaden sky brightened,
a dab of white shoved aside the steel.
From this white, the voice called once more,
and my heart beat this word:

Name.

The voice knew my name.
It called from the shadows,
drawing me toward the white.
Light.
It was light!
How marvelous, and strange.

So gazing around me at those struggling with me,
I departed from the path.
The voice shouted my Name,
and I began to run.
Fear fled as I approached the light,
my road leading straight to it.

Then suddenly hesitant, at the threshold,
I paused.
Uncertain.
Until a hand breached the light, blazing,
and I heard my Name once more.

I teetered on the razor edge.

Light or Gray?
Go … or stay.

My hand clasped the other before confidence failed,
and I flew into expectant arms.
Eyes blinded by color, I cried out,
but He whispered calm into the storm.
“Do not fear,” he commanded,
and I stilled against his chest,
quiet enough to hear the beat of Life Evermore.

Through slitted eyelids I surveyed my new land,
cautious
hopeful
curious
assured
awash in greens, blues, reds, yellows,
colors never seen yet familiar all the same.

Astounded, I stared into His eyes,
into the eyes of my Beloved.
Joy flooded my soul,
my heart … ALIVE!
He smiled, brilliance overwhelming,
and he urged me to go, explore my new world.

I frolicked in emerald grass,
flew tirelessly across azure heavens.
Smelled sweet nectar from golden blossoms,
and tasted a rainbow of flavors at my table.
I heard the trill of a million songbirds,
and His pleased laughter at the sight of my grin.

This was Life.

Years blurred, prismatic blindness,
countless journeys with those alongside me.
I knew He was there,
and we walked together
through dew-diamond fields,
and along rippling streams.

One day, He said, we were to journey
together
to a necessary place.
I felt the heartache echoed in my breast,
my hand in His,
solemn, trusted, and sure.

Those around vanished, unseen yet present,
our steps labored uphill to the dark place.
The air grew close, jagged, and I whimpered,
yet He reassured me with a touch.

I am still here, dear one.

Take my hand.

We must go to this place together.

I slogged through muck, mire, and sulphur,
slipped and staggered
yet always held.
Then exhausted, I fell, and His hands lifted me,
carried me over the last of the hills.

We sat upon the crest, weary, breathing heavily,
sweat poured red from His brow.
He pointed to a gnarly bush,
its thorns black as night,
sharp as razors.
“Gather those,” he said.

I followed His guidance,
wove them into a morbid crown.
It weighed heavily in my hands,
pricked wounds that bled,
and I ached to lay it down.

I balked when He told me to
fasten it to His head.
Gently, gingerly, careful not to mar his brow,
I cried as I obeyed.
Yet He took my hands in His,
shoved it mightily into His skin,
the thorns piercing my hands and into His.

I cried out to make Him stop,
but with a weary smile He said,

No.

This must be done,
this journey taken,
for you to be with me eternally.

With blood trickling down perfect cheeks,
and tears in perfect eyes,
He grabbed my hand, and together we climbed
a craggy cliff, jagged and torn.
We slipped and fell, hand in hand,
bruised and bleeding to reach the summit.
Collapsing as one, His arms around mine,
we fell atop a rugged cross.

Beside it sat a hammer of iron,
and three spikes, fearful and stark.
My Beloved released me,
and I trembled in the absence,
unsure,
until He placed the hammer in my hands.
He laid himself upon the crossed tree,
covered in Life seeping from his skin.
Open palms facing skyward,
feet crossed below,
He waited for the nails.

I cannot do this!
I will not do this!
Lord, please do not make me.

“It must be done,” he said once more,
“But have no fear, dear one.”

To die was to live, He said,
I heard Him through my tears.
The hammer filled my sweat-slippery hand,
and terror gripped my heart.
How could I kill my Beloved?
How could I do such a thing?

Yet He turned His eyes on me,
clear and brilliant as the sun,
rays of hope penetrating through dread
showering me in power and strength.

Tears fell with each hammer blow,
the nails pounded into His hands.
His skin shivered and pulsed,
loving voice cried out
to His Beloved above.

When the last stroke fell,
I threw the hammer
as far as the east is from the west.
Others like me emerged
from the dark forest beyond,
and lifted my Love into the sky.

And as He breathed His last,
I saw darkness once more,
the firmament mourning His loss.

I left the place of the cross behind,
forlorn, beaten,

Lonely
alone

Three days.

For three long days I trudged down the hills,
though colors beckoned at the edges of sight.
The journey, alone, to the new home I had known
felt meaningless without Him at my side.
With leaden feet I approached the glen,
the verdant garden He gave me as home.
I watched each step, never looking up,
always downtrodden,
for I had killed my Beloved.

But out of the depths of misery, despair,
a loving voice called out.
His voice was honey, sweet and lovely,
calling my Name.
My tear-filled eyes could hardly believe
what my ears knew with doubtless certainty.
My Love called my name,

He is here!
He is alive!

And I ran into His arms.

Home.

Forever.


My journey with The King begins.


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