Apathy at Milepost Seven

An arid wind appears to be blowing, insipidly, across the landscape here. I would hardly notice, and certainly not care to log it in my journal now, were it not for some sense of responsibility towards science. It hasn’t rained in weeks—maybe months—I’m sure I have the exact date entered here someplace, but…rain, wind…my interest in these things is entirely without passion now, rather from a sense of duty—I suppose—and perhaps out of habit, forged from earlier times, do I maintain these observations.

It was on the seventh day that God rested, so to speak, and though I’ve been here seven days, or has it been eight now, I’ve not yet seen my messiah. The eighth day comes so slowly it seems, and I wait, and watch, and grow tired as I watch, and then…nothing. Is this my fault? Perhaps, I started from a faulty hypothesis, or my methods have been wrong; maybe I took my eyes off the mark—all my efforts, wasted. Maybe I need rest.

They say these things take time, but believe me, I’ve given it. For instance, I’ve been here in this spot, watching, for years. Well, not all in a row, but I’ve returned here again, and again, so that if I were to add up all the time I’ve come back to this place, it would add up to years. I’m certain of this. And that’s not all, what about all the other places I’ve waited? There are many others. They’ve seen their share of me as well. Tired, they must be, of seeing me over and over again. I know I’m tired—they must be too.

It’s just past mid-day, closing in on one o’clock, and I’m feeling anxious. These are uncertain times. This is a silent road I’ve walked. Those who travel this way have left the hub-bub behind to follow this silence. But the clamoring of life is always just over our shoulders, to the left, and to the right, then flashing in our faces—catching our attention and cruelly captivating us. I smile, hoping to forget that this is a dusty road we travel, and we travel it constantly through dust; dust fills our nostrils, it gets in our eyes, we swallow it—we become the dust.

I close my eyes to take that rest I’d been thinking about earlier; there is some solace, some comfort in the darkness I find now. But restful? No, this darkness isn’t restful; it only promises rest, but instead, it exposes me to many subtle disturbances. Most of these remain unrecognized until they’ve overwhelmed me—when it becomes too late—then I fail science, and science fails religion. This is a darkness that causes us to leave our posts, as we retreat in haphazard fashion, unsettled and unable to remain standing.

I open my eyes again and perceive a gentler darkness, kinder, and one that reveals light. From where does this light come; what grace is it that shines on us in our darkest hours? What power enables us to return to our post, and stand again, whereas before we couldn’t find our way? As I ponder these things, a cool breeze picks up from the east; I feel it as if it blows through me—dividing the wheat from the chaff—carrying away the dry-husks of my apathy, and leaving seeds of hope within me.

I am here, in this remote place, keeping watch, observing, and discerning what I must do; each milepost along this road, has its unique character, and its specific requirements, but they all ask this same question of us—what must we do now? Here, my answer is to wait for the rain; and I wait for the dust to settle. Tears begin to flow from my eyes, and they bring me rest. There are many ways to shed tears, some tears come from futility and flow from despair, while others are harbingers of life itself; these tears soften the earth beneath our feet, and make of us fertile ground from which new life springs forth.

I have endured apathy, and fought against indifference—powers that lead me into vanity, distractions and selfish-wanderings. Yet with hope, grace empowers us to win the struggle against these forces, moment by moment, and to stay standing when we grow weary, and to remain, when we can see no means of remaining. And when we lose interest in the wind and the rain—these very things which would inspire and encourage us to continue along this lonely, silent track—grace comes to us, reigniting our faith, so that we may simply begin to care once again.


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