All Their Voices

Words and thoughts in devotion to the Divine


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The Pythia Speaks

I sit where you bade me, Lord,

feeling the vapors caress me

feeling myself lift like the coils of smoke around me

feeling you slide your hand into my soul

like a puppeteer’s hand inside the puppet,

and I hear your voice.

 

It comes out of my mouth

answering the questions

of the ones who stand before me

as I sit shrouded in darkness.

I can see the worry on their faces that they try to hide,

here in this cave sacred to you–

the tripod in its place,

the scent of the mountain underneath me in my nostrils

and I give myself over wholly to you,

not knowing the words that emerge from my lips

before the moment that they do.

 

It is not my voice but your voice

not my words but your words

not my sight but your sight

and in all things, my lord,

I am only your servant, your tool,

and overjoyed to be able to do

this task for you.

 

Delphian, Manticus,

may I always hear Your voice

whether I gape my jaws to speak to others

or listen for You only for myself;

may I never cease to listen

may I always wait,

yearning,

heart pounding,

breathless,

for the least of Your words

is as gold and rubies to me,

and Your trust in me to do Your will

the greatest treasure of all.


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Reasons

You think by now I would have given up

in my attempts to keep you from

swallowing up my life;

it’s not a fight I can win, I know that –

but some mulishly stubborn part of me

still insists it has free will

(a concept I should have accepted as absurd

when I left Catholicism) –

and can tell You ‘no’.

 

Ludicrous, really.

 

In the end, it always comes down to

whose will is greater, which of us is more stubborn,

and we both know the answer to that

(and the answer is not ‘me’).

 

Nevertheless, I persist:

not wanting to watch You whittle away at

the list of things I enjoy,

the list of things that have nothing to do with You,

turning it into a list of things

I am allowed to partake in.

 

Your commands have already started

to abridge my diet,

taking away small consolations I could manage in my poverty.

Nor is that all; You challenge me,

Standing behind me to push me into bravery,

shoving me outside my comfort zone,

because the outcome will be better for me in the end,

no matter how much these things terrify me in the now.

 

I watched You dismantle my marriage,

though I didn’t know that’s what was happening then,

and I understand it now with the perspective of time–

whatever good things I might have

thought about my husband at that point,

I can see in hindsight were illusion,

and had turned me into something

small and stunted and afraid to test boundaries,

and I am so much stronger now.

 

That doesn’t mean I am whole, of course;

I know that I can’t make myself believe

what I need to believe to be fixed

–that I have worth, that I am loved–

I don’t know how deep the damage goes,

I only know it is the product of a lifetime

of people telling me that I was inept, useless,

incapable of doing things that even children could do,

that I was not good enough to be what they wanted,

that I had no worth in the eyes of anyone at all.

 

Which brings me to the question that still lingers,

almost ten years after You claimed me as Yours:

 

Why?

 

Why would You want to own something like me?

So flawed, so limited, so weak?

The pat answer, the easy answer, the one I have heard most often,

the answer that numerous friends tell me,

is that You needed another skald,

and I do confess, without any false modesty,

to some skill with words–

maybe my only skill.

 

But that feels disingenuous, and incomplete,

And even if it turns out to be true,

I don’t think it’s the whole truth;

Then again, I understand these days, after

being Yours for some time,

that it’s likely I may never know the whole truth,

just as I may never know the whole You;

You have so many faces, so many names,

You are—if not infinite—then certainly, obviously greater

than any mere mortal could be,

and I find I am accepting of that,

which is as it should be when dealing with gods.

 

That doesn’t mean I don’t still wonder, of course,

but just as I will never know

what a sunset looks like on Jupiter,

and can live without that knowledge,

I don’t need to know why You picked me–

it would be nice to know, reassuring, calming,

and it would answer a question I’ve had for years,

but I can live without that answer;

even if I had it,

I might not be able to make myself believe it,

because that is the nature of the damage that is my soul:

it is enough to know, in the end,

only that You did choose me,

and that has to be good enough for me.