There’s thunder and lightning, bombings and gunfire, and I’m abandoned in the dark — horrifically alone. At any moment I could be obliterated, searing explosions invading my mind so I can’t think straight, fierce cold ripping right through me. The swamp, heavy, wet, and all-consuming, is suffocating, any movement futile as I’m sucked into its trap. I yell and scream with all my might, begging for help, but no help comes, no one answers, and I’m sinking, further and further down, squeezed by the prison even as I spasm uncontrollably with shivering violence.
I can’t escape the swamp in this journey, I know I can’t. It’s impossible, though I am momentarily dragged from the lethal mire by cold, pinching hands, faceless rescuers who disappear in the dark, far from me. I can’t hear anyone, nothing except the raging, unpredictable storm of my thoughts — what was that? Laughter or a jaguar? Or the eager slithering of a sinister creature circling near, closer and closer in the dark…? My mind is playing tricks on me, shadows appear within the shadows, trees that I can see through the murk, that I know are there, are suddenly no longer there, or are falling with bone crushing weight all around me.
This isn’t over yet, this journey of inexorable length. It could be months, years, decades — has it been already? Why? Why am I not yet at the end? Why did I have to come this way at all? Why? Why am I suffering and struggling pointlessly, helplessly, bombings and gunfire, thunder and lightning, pits of sucking slime, torturous phantoms and quagmire … why, why, why, why, why ….
All my strength is gone, I am so breathlessly weary, so painfully exhausted that I don’t even care if I’m the only one left. Let the darkness and the swamp take me as the putrid muck clogs my eyes and my ears, jams my nose and fills my mouth, down my throat into my lungs, hard, impossible, pinched off breath, with one flash of panic and one spasm of fight against the impenetrable…and then…black…frozen…numb.
I open my sight in a warm field just waking with soft, pinkish gray light. I gasp freely, shockingly beautifully, surrounded and filled with the exquisite sweetness of morning air. Permeated all through am I with clear and bright, as I fly with all good and delicious speed to you, into your outstretched arms. Your embrace engulfs me in radiance, the heat of your loving heart resounds all through me in glorious, rapturous love.
I pour my whole self into you, shuddering and shaking off every last vestige of fear, confusion, weariness, and pain, saying to you, like a child, in one last piteous expulsion of tears as I quake to the core with the relief of it, “That was so hard!”
“I know, I know,” you say with such a gritty candor and exquisite tenderness that my mind, heart, and soul melt into your knowing, your safety, your strength, your mercy, your goodness, your truth, your love … glowing into you and the endless, golden wonder and delight of the glory that is you forever. “You made it, my little one,” you declare with relief, pride, and thankful, satisfied fulfillment. “You are here,” you sigh, breathing into me the eternal truth and joy of it.
I’m finally home.
© 2021 Christina Chase
I wrote this after one of my mother’s cousins died and I started thinking… thinking about what it might be like to die, how hundreds of thousands of people suffer long, intense illnesses before death, sometimes dying alone in nursing homes, and how so many people advocate for assisted suicide that life is in grave danger. What will my death be like, I wondered? Will it be slow, terrible suffering? Will my loved ones not be able to care for me and my worst fears surround me? To what end? So I imagined my worst-case scenario and followed it through — all the way through..
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.