An Assembly Line

He lived through one tragic death
and, in time, thought that made
him a grief expert, except he
was only a teen when it happened

and he didn’t have a clue what
was happening to him. He thought
it informed his understanding and
compassion for those who went

into the dark night of the soul
in response to the death of a
loved one. Yes, by the grace of
God, he did the right things

while not really walking along
as a companion in the darkness
having been there, resurrected
and then willing to go there

again knowing that the darkness
couldn’t hold him as he held the
hand of the “hell bent” traveler.
That didn’t happen until his own

dark night came upon him in a
day and stayed and stayed and
stayed and wouldn’t go away,
staying much longer than those

around him could tolerate and
then gradually, slowly, he
began to emerge. It began when
he looked at Jesus on the cross

in his mind’s eye — Jesus knew
and Jesus was with him, holding
his hand as they both sat in
hell and then it was okay to be

in that darkness for then he
knew he wouldn’t stay and then
he knew that he could descend
on another day and that, too,

would be okay and he could
squeeze the hand of another
for whom the darkness would
not go away. And as he opened

his eyes he saw the assembly
line of all who had been hold-
ing his hand day after day
after day in the darkness

and it extended to the bright
light of heaven’s eternal day.

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