Musing on the Porch

Moon Jung Shik
Tuesday 22 July 2003

The melancholy wind rustles the leaves of poplar, oak and maple,
Cicadas saw and chirp while distant traffic drones home.
Mockingbirds flirt and flit tree to tree.
My heart aches to know what You want from me.

Slave to habit and to sin I yearn to be free,
Who will liberate me from this rebellious flesh?
How will I gain my birthright as God's son?
What force can overthrow the tyrant's grasp of me?
What power, what insight will set me free?

Deep longing swells within me.
Alienated, alone, cut off, trapped,
Will my liberator come from heaven or from earth?
I'm missing something, something obvious before my eyes,
Some distinction I have yet to discern, to perceive.
The truth shall set you free, but which truth?
What is it that I don't know that I don't know?

One key I found was empathy, feeling another's pain,
The enemy, incapable of it, flees at its invocation.
Imagining the pain of another puts me in his shoes
If only for a moment.
In that moment, his heart becomes my own
And vicariously I feel his agony as mine.

What pain it is to be God who feels the grief of all!
What pain to see us fall yet helpless to speak
Since we deaf blind mutes stumble in the dark.

I yearn for love yet fear it. Why do I fear love?
Love for me has been searing pain.
It is easier not to care what happens to another
Than to grieve with him in each day's trials.

Pessimist, misanthrope, curmudgeon, loner,
Am I?

Self absorption is the way of my fiendish father,
The forked tongued lord of sin and sorrow.
Authentic concern invites rebuff
As I grope for connection, oneness, love.

If you knew me, would you love me?
So I hide my iniquity in shame.
May I dare honesty, baring my soul, my inmost heart?

Who is God?
Is He a being of love, for real?
Or just a cruel joke?

My words say I believe but my deeds suggest a lie.
How can I trust an invisible Master?
Can hope be placed in phantoms?

Is God alive? Only I can make it so.
In me, He is dead, unless I love like He
Who loved without measure,
Without ciphering, uncalculating.

Who is my Lord? Be honest for God's sake!
I love what He made,
The birds, the trees, the bugs, the deer,
But fickle humans challenge my heart.

Whom shall I serve? How shall I know?
Blindness, ignorance, brutishness
Leave me numb and dull.

How shall I emerge from my cave to the bright Sun's love?
How shall the troglodyte live among men
When habit made him a hermit?

Living death beats dying of pain.
What heart shall endure it?
How to sustain the agony of feeling?

Numb, null and void I dare to feel,
Dare to believe, dare to hope,
Weep dry tears,
Vomit dry heaves.

The poison must emerge or kill me.
How to exorcise my demonic self?
Two beings inhabit my soul,
One sublime, one infernal.

The heart connects, a salty torrent flows,
Rivers of tears and snot pour unceasing.
Retching, sobbing, heaving, feeling, at least alive.

Yet hell's lies easily deceive my gullible soul.
What thoughts are God's, that I can trust
And which the devil's?
How to know?

Blind to myself, covered in filth,
Friend as mirror, be gentle lest I shrink
From your scalpel to heal.
Evict the squatters in my heart
So the Divine Lord
Can claim His rightful abode.

Show me the way.
I'm listening.