The first day is all rainfall and rising tides. The sensation of cleansing encourages you like rain drowning out silence. Instead of white noise you have church services, new prayer books and devotionals, and new diet. Hey maybe you’ll even lose a few pounds this time or some habit might even stick, like novels written in prison.

Then it wears off. Your stomach growls like a lion roaring for its prey. The rocks begin to look delicious. The walls creak under pressure and sounds in the underbrush increase. At first you ignore them. Aren’t there wild beasts out here? And when you catch a glimpse they seem to have faces you remember. They start whispering to you.

justgiveinthisonetimenoonewillknowafterallyoudeserveitanyway youresomuchbetterthanallthoseknownothingsnbettheyveneverread abookoftheologyintheirlivesohofcourseyoujustgetandseeitall nevermindtwothousandyearsyouknowbetterwithyourfancybooklearning heylookoverhereheygotchawowyouaresuchafilthypervertyouknowif anyeverknewtheywouldcastyououtlikethescumyouareohthatthingyou didyearsagoyeahthatsstillhereneveryoumindjustknowthatyouwill nevereverbelovedsoyoumightaswelljustgiveupnow…

The storm continues like the wailing and gnashing of teeth.You cringe and see the waves come. But you brace against them. “Oh Lord I believe help my unbelief. Help me believe that my father will at least let me work as a hired hand, that I can still earn the wage, that I may only have the crumbs from your table and one caress of Your garment….”

A man whispers to you “God bless you, son.”and then its gone. The rain stops. The animals cease their noise. The shades in the forest retreat. You see a dove on the horizon, followed by angels holding goblets and fine china. But wait, you think, “I was flinching and begging the whole time! I should have stronger, If only I’d known. There’s always next year.”

But for now, it is enough to get back up and roll away the stone.


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