Friday, January 27, 2012

The Abyss

I waver between two different realities. One, I stand on the edge of a total, all-encompassing darkness. My bare skin is chilled - goosebumped - but invigorated. Behind me is all I know, everything familiar, the things that have always been. In front of me is... what? Nothing? The steep, sudden chasm at my toes should frighten me, yet I feel nothing but an overwhelming sense of calm now; that fear - fear that should envelope my entire self - has vanished along with the light from this space. I know that to step off could end everything - but it could also be the beginning of everything. With the slightest step into the unknown I will open my wings and fly to the place of my dreams, or simply land where I'm meant to be: a pillow of soft clouds, the waiting arms of a One who created me, or the place of my family's future. A soft wind's push, a strong legged-leap, a quick stumble... any of these things would move me on, and yet - I pause at the edge of the question marks beyond.

Then there's the second place; the place where the Fear lurks. Down a constricted, narrow earthen tube - barely wide enough to descend, long enough to make the late afternoon light little more than a tarnished penny above - lies the insignificant yet crucial room. Constructed of thick steel, lined in double layers of thick and splintering wood, barely larger than a bathroom stall (and certainly less than five feet tall)... it smothers, it suffocates, it shrieks. Time stands still at the same moments that it races by; in the silence of the box, the deafening darkness threatens me with insanity. I stand at this fissure, knowing the only way to complete this journey - to pass this test - is to descend the long ladder downward, to endure my time inside with my Fear, and fight my way back up and through the long, tight passage back... and I struggle, I fight. I know I can do it, and I know I should do it - go down, do my time, and emerge victoriously, proud of my dirt and raw, rubbed skin; I know the struggle is the true origin of my Fear.

And yet - I still stand here, at the edges. Aquiver.