I feel like a man without a country; like the “no-man” of “no-man’s land.” While all the people around me are moving forward, my heart is retreating backward. I am not running away, I’m running in reverse; compelled toward the light on a different horizon. My sails have caught a prevailing wind, while all other ships seem to lurch forward with the tide.

Jesus spoke of the sower and seed, a path and birds, rocky ground and scorching sun, and choking thorns.

In my belly, I can feel the tiller. I can feel the sharp metal grinding; the hands of the gardener pulling; digging, changing.

In the silence of my heart, he speaks. What can I tell him? How do I respond?

This is not gentle sculpting; not caressing. This is cutting. Pruning. Heat. Drowning.

What is coming?

“For this people’s heart has grown callous;
their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
otherwise they might see with their eyes
and hear with their ears,
understand with their hears and turn back —“

Tilling the soil. It’s more than I want. It’s maybe more than I know how to handle. It’s like a burning ember in my stomach; a star pain, a constant throb. Burning flesh. It smells.

What is next?

“And I would cure them.”