From the first moment of my conversion,
I was always running after him.
From his cave of lepers, at first,
to the little ruined churches in the region.
Sure, I was "religious", just like everyone else.
There was some consolation in the church,
but mostly we kept from view our disgust.
The church was the easy way
to get ahead in the world -- a steady job,
plenty of free food
(even when others were starving),
usually luxurious housing
(even when others were homeless),
prestige and power by the bucket-loads,
and if one was careful and discreet,
plenty of pleasing sexual opportunities --
I hid my disgust worse than most.
Why then did I volunteer
when the bishop called for his arrest?
I knew it would be good theatre!
When he took off his clothing --
rags, if you will --
and lifted his arms to God,
for the first time in my life
I thought God just might be really possible.
nothing else could describe
the look on the bishop's face.
And so I decided to find out.
He seemed to carefully consider my
but instead of answering, took off running.
No way was I going to let him get away that easy...
so I chased him over too many hills...
how did such a slight man run so fast?
It was as if the hills lifted him up,
just as they seemed to push me down.
But I would not give up!
We came to a clearing pool of water,
I thought it a perfect respite...
until I saw them! Lepers!
Hideous, ugly, rotting,
stinking remnants of humanity.
Later, I thought they looked
like the church turned inside out for all to see --
perhaps that was one reason why he loved them so...
He held them! He sang to them,
he caressed them -- as if,
as if they were his lovers.
As if they were Lady Clare.
As if they were God.
He sang and sang,
and they seemed to come out of crevices
impossible for a person to crawl into,
let alone crowds. Where did they all come from?
I sat alone, listening and crying.
I had no idea that human love
could be so beautiful, rich and ennobling.
And then he kissed them all!
His face was stunningly radiant!
With each kiss, it was as if he were kissing
his bride on their wedding night!
Oh God, I was absolutely devastated in my heart.
I completely burned away.
When he took off running again,
it was if he scooped up my nothingness
into his hands, and re-molded me
into a bird capable of soaring
into the heights of God.
He fed me God
like a mother bird feeds her young...
and I ate, and I ate, and I ate...
And if I had a word for you it would be this:
it is possible to kiss,
absolutely possible, to kiss and taste God
while on this earth!
But you must be willing to run!
Ha! Watch me! I'll show you how it is done!