Psalm for Autumn Wrestling

O God my God
where are you and who am I,
scratching words on bone-white paper
to make sense of the tattered world
parading before me.

Inside my veins pulses love or fierce intention:
a wish to hold the broken pieces, light dark rooms, bind every wound
but the world’s a whirling circus; I crawl my way into my skull.

O God my God,
if you split me open, would love spill out,
or am I an empty cavern?
Are these words a salve or clanging symbol?

My lofty thoughts are nothing if they don’t find echo,
I want the love that heals the lepers, wakes the dead,
but my eyes open to crumbled leaves
and empty trees.

O God my God,
have I built my house on sand? Will rain and flood and wind rip away all I am
and hope to be?

Or
is my name engraved on your palms, skin tearing with each letter stroke?

O God,
I stand beneath your sky cathedral, shining blue, yellow leaves a gold filigree,
and I know you split your body open on a tree, tore the veil from heaven down to me.

You alone I will call savior,
for you alone I wait;
plant me by your waters,
a branch abiding in your vine.

O God, I believe, I believe;
help my unbelief.

In you, I will not wither.
In you, I find my name.

I didn’t used to like the Psalms very well until I realized they aren’t all praise after praise. The Psalmists wrestled with their God as they praised him, expressed their doubts and asked how long he’d make them wait. Writing is where I too wrestle with God, and I hope like Jacob to come away with a blessing.

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