The bitter cold night shows no pity,
Harsh winds surround me, howling,
Clutch my scarf oh-so-tightly to my neck,
Quicken my pace; my heart is pounding.
Up the steep steps and to the bleak entry,
I rattle the rusty keys in the lock,
Thankful for the mundane, the familiar,
The rhythmic ticking of the mantle clock.
Slowly, I ease into my old armchair,
And breathe a heavy sigh of relief,
My mind drifts into empty peace,
But, alas, my respite is brief.
For soon I feel the rising tension,
The nagging sense of dreadful doom,
The far-away growling presence,
Nearing from the tomb.
At first, his footsteps are faint,
But approaching ever more,
By his vision I have been haunted –
Gentle rapping at my door.
Panic grips my scattered mind,
Blood raging through my veins,
His knock at first seems gentle,
But his intentions have been preordained.
For he is what once was,
The specter of regret,
No mercy or kindness holds he,
And he has come to collect his debt.
His pounding never ceases,
And soon he breaks through the door,
Presents his macabre demands,
I must relive what has gone before.
Harsh words and love unspoken,
Pass before my tightly-closed eyes,
Missed chances and unfulfilled commitments,
The failed following of words so wise.
My tears now fall hot and heavy,
For a past that I cannot change,
I have done my best to make amends,
But good intentions are often in vain.
He laughs and dances and taunts me,
Till at last he has had his fill,
And then at once he leaves me,
Though his memory lingers still.
Perhaps my grievous trial has ended,
Perchance there will tonight be no more,
But as the possibilities consume me –
Another tapping at my door.
He, too, is not unexpected,
Though I had hoped to escape his wrath,
I had dreamed of a moment of peace,
But this is clearly not my destined path.
The door swings open widely, wildly,
And in bursts the ominous fiend,
Looming, towering, just above me,
The ghost of things which will never be.
I’m atop the social ladder,
Bright career and financial success,
Leisurely, lavish destinations,
In all my endeavors touched and blessed.
He flashes this future before me,
But it’s a future long buried and dead,
One no longer in my clever clenches,
Whose only existence is in my piteous head.
For my life is not what it once was,
My journey forevermore altered,
Shaped, forged, and molded by hardships,
Long to reach it, but I forever falter.
My hopes and dreams once so likely,
Have faded and dimmed through the years,
Now but mere distant, fleeting memories,
On a road marked with heartache and fears.
He boasts of my numerous failures,
Laughs with glee at my frivolous dreams,
For he knows as well as I do,
They are finished – or so it would seem.
I hang my head in sorrow,
Weep buckets of misery and shame,
Beg for an ounce of mercy,
And he relents, though my pain long remains.
Spent and feeling utterly broken,
I retire to my warm, soft, easy bed,
Seek to comfort my barren soul,
Long to soothe my poor aching head.
But just as I meet the covers,
As I sigh deeply into welcome rest,
I note the presence of one last visitor,
I feel his breath upon my neck.
Though His arrival is most unexpected,
And I am cautious of his genuine intent,
He seems to mean me no real harm,
No threat of malice or cruel torment.
He is soft and whispers quite gently,
Beckons me to glance once again,
At all the days which lie before me,
The possibilities which dwell within.
I am leery – shattered and broken,
But His words and manner draw me near,
The picture He paints is not frightening,
He calms my mind and my thoughts begin to clear.
He beseeches me to His plea to harken,
“It is not the past that you must fear,
Not the future never fulfilled,
Nor the frustrated fancies of younger years.”
As He draws me ever closer, speaks kindly,
And I listen as I never have before,
“You must find the blessings unseen…
And cling to what once was nevermore.”
His displays are not days I envisioned,
Not the journey I ever had in mind,
Not the accomplishments I once imagined,
But His vision is magnificent, sublime.
A life without envy or fierceness,
Where compassion and tenderness abound,
Days spent serving the forgotten ones,
No earthly indulgences or accolades to be found.
And for the first time in a very long time,
I am filled with wonderous expectation,
My soul holds new promise and hope,
At the thought of this glorious revelation.
He proposes a future uncertain but sure,
This Spirit of What May Yet Come,
A life unforeseen but always preordained,
By the One to whom I long to succumb.
So, my tears flow freely – unburdened,
My heart swells with gratitude and joy,
My living, breathing Redeemer,
Offers promise and restores my dead soul.
I awaken, the long day before me,
The winds blow, but not as bitter or cold,
I clutch my scarf and quicken my pace,
Eager, as my new future unfolds.