Sometimes a Wild God (Tells Us to Run)

“I don’t have enough faith for this.”

This is the thought running through my head as I throw another load of clean laundry on our sofa. I have 10 minutes before I load my youngest in our SUV and truck him off to school and so I sit down in our den and grab the poem, typed and bound, sitting on Andy’s desk. Sometimes a Wild God by Tom Hirons. It reads:

SOMETIMES A WILD GOD
Comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not
Know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and
mustard and silver
His voice makes vinegar
From wine.

I read the rest of the poem and sigh. I don’t have enough faith to write like this. Like the ones who sit and receive the words that the world, or at least my own heart, really needs to hear.

WHEN THE WILD GOD
Arrives at the door,
You will probably fear him.
He reminds you of something dark
That you might have
dreamt,
Or the secret you do not
Wish to be shared.

Perhaps my problem, as I consider it, is that I never feared God when we sat at a table together. I wasn’t afraid. Even when there was silence. We always had something interesting to work on together, like a puzzle or a craft with scissors and glue. I always found Him kind. His eyes thoughtful and curious as though he wanted to know something over time while we sat and worked out that puzzle or cut crafts.

“Do you like the picture I’m making?” His eyes communicated.
“What do you want to do today? Can I be Frank? I want you to know that you’re beautiful.”

But something happened somewhere along the line and I’m not really sure how we lost the table, God and me.

HE WILL NOT RING
The doorbell;
Instead he scrapes with his
Fingers
Leaving blood on the paintwork
Though primroses grow
In circles round his feet.

Blood on the paintwork.

God, that’s so true.

It appears a moment (or moments?) happened between childhood and maturity when the table God and I were sitting at started to shift and jolt in front of us. There were earthquakes, everything changed and God and I stood up to collect ourselves and wonder if the roof would stand strong above our head. Would the four walls hold? Would the table ever stop shaking the scissors and craft paper and glue?

THE WILD GOD STANDS
In your kitchen.
Ivy is taking over your sideboard;
Mistletoe has moved into
the lampshades
And wrens have begun to sing
An old song in the mouth
Of your kettle.

…He sits at the table, bleeding.
He coughs up foxes.
There are otters in his eyes.

Foxes and Otters. I sense I’ve always seen those otters in his eyes. The playful ones that encouraged me to dance and sing and play when I felt like it. But as the dust filled the air and we began to choke I’m sure I felt that fox in my throat now too. So much so that we rushed out the back door for lack of air. The table still shaking, the walls still wobbling.

Its a new year and its cold outside but the sun out here is SO bright. We’re taking deep, wide breaths together – God, myself and the others.

I’m sitting here wondering as I catch my breath, look up and around:

Do otters still play and foxes still hide when the sun beams down bright as can be?

*Italicized words from “Sometimes a Wild God,” by Tom Hirons.

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