In Pain

Life has torn the bark from my trunk

And the leaves from my branches.

I am stripped bare and vulnerable

To life’s blows and cracks,

Bent and weeping,

Trembling under the onslaught.

I was once tall and straight.

I stood against the wind for others,

Buffeting, covering, protecting,

While life slashed and dismantled me.

What have I done?

I have stared a monster in the eye.

It turns its strength on me

And hacks at my trunk,

Searching for my life’s vein.

And all the while it taunts me with its power over me.

And so I stand alone,

Rejected and rejecting now,

Semi-dead and hurting,

Wounded and bare against this brutal attack.

But a new wind blows.

A gentler wind, a healing wind.

I look at the missing leaves and bark torn from my trunk.

I look at what is left of me,

Bared to me.

And now I see,

It is the best part of me,

The strongest part of me,

The infinite part of me.

The wind continues to caress.

I stand tall now.

I will thrive another day

To color the life that is before me,

Green and thriving,

Red, yellow, orange, and shining,

Loving and giving.

For I have seen my soul and know

It can never be broken or breached or compromised,

But will always be.

Stripped of all that I had,

I have,

Finally,

Seen me.

— (c) St. John 1986

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