Youth lay prostrate in the clay under the glare of the sun, the slightest movement causing searing white heat of pain as the shrapnel barbs of man’s twisted inventions moved inside him. Eyes wide open he stared into the window of the past as the gaping jaws of darkness pressed in around him. Tears mingled with the mud and the blood of this world as the spear tip of metal moved, like the medieval dawn executioner, ever closer towards his innermost and darkest fears.
Through the broken rhythm of his rasping breath, above the piercing shriek of humanity around him, floated an echo of laughter. Looking up he saw the edge of a woman’s garment, a little in front of which there stood a scraggly haired, weather beaten man whose gnarled features belied the urgent energy of his tender years. Staring at his own soul through the reflection in the eyes of this windswept man, a bee buzzed merrily around youth’s bloodied ear when the water gurgled and splashed onto his fading visage, cooling his fevered brow.
Curling into a tiny ball he saw a field of tall, bright yellow meadow grass, and watched the boy’s head bobbing up and down as he fluttered and skipped through the grass. Laughter of a child. The bearded man spoke roughly then smiled and nodded at youth who recalled the warmth of his mother’s embrace as his sweet head nestled into that protective wall of impenetrable and eternal warmth. The edge of the woman’s cloak shimmered as a shaft of bright light penetrated the pitiless black canvas of his mind.
From darkness and pain, in hope we turn through the water of life to those from whom the light shines, unlocking and banishing the coiled snake of fear and despair residing within us as we are reflected in God’s glory.
Even as the dawn executioner came upon him, his heart leapt like that of a child’s.
Photograph courtesy of Gordon Nichol Photography