psalm 48: map of pleasure and pain

photo credit: symptom of circumstance.com

photo credit: symptom of circumstance.com


there are times when
i am terrified by your
very presence, when
your spirit washes though me
like a crushing spasm,
doubling me over, pushing me
down into the fearful margins
that so tenuously separate
my life and my death.

and then there are the times
i am overwhelmed with your
regard for me, and i am lifted
up to into a compassion that
knows no bounds, to a place
governed by boundless grace.

sometimes i wonder if you really
understand the effect you
have on me; is your plan just
a work in progress or
do you really mean to swing me
back and forth so wildly
across this map of pleasure
and pain?

but in those rare moments
when i manage to quiet
my soul, i know such
questions are meaningless.
only then do i come
to realize:

just as none of this
is about me, none of this
has ever really
been about you
either.

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One Comment on “psalm 48: map of pleasure and pain”

  1. abunaalgodon says:

    This psalm makes the superficial life sound pretty attractive, doesn’t it?

    Experiencing the divine is like “writh(ing) like a woman in childbirth” (which I’m told is no picnic) and “waiting in silence for your loving-kindness” (both phrases from my PB). Your images – “a crushing spasm”, “a place governed by boundless grace” are poignantly descriptive, give the psalm fresh meaning.

    I track you that far, but then you go to a new place altogether. You ask a contemporary and perhaps inevitable question, as well as move through/beyond it (when all the interior chatter is hushed) … to a highly provocative recognition. Not about me; not about you. I wonder if the psalmist experienced the same ambivalence I do when affirming, “This God is our God for ever and ever….”


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