SITTING ON THE EDGE OF THE TUB – by brett “Fish” anderson
perched on the edge of this hot tub
half in, half out
struggling to rationalise my body’s capability
with the extreme temperature that is bubbling back at me
but i’ve been here for a while
and this water sure ain’t getting any cooler
am i getting any braver?
and will i finally slide all the way in?
hold that thought.
the water doesn’t let up.
taunting me, bubbling back at me
throwing questions like tiny little glass phials of acid
that smash against me, burning new scars down my world-weary body
as they slowly trace new lines into my deeply-weathered skin
who will risk travelling those paths with me?
“Just believe!” they hiss
and the bubbling starts up once more
“Remember when believing was just as simple as returning to that half-chewed saddle
on your daddy’s ancient bicycle?”
i want to believe.
oh i so desperately crying-out-loud want to believe
and like a desperate father
who has reached the end of his hangman’s rope
and has run out of practical, make-sensical
[at least in the eyes of the crowd,
always present, always following him with their eyes]
like a man with no hope
besides hoping to find a hope
that is worth hoping in
[i hope that makes hope?]
i throw myself once again
at the feet of Jesus
and dare to dredge out the almost insubstantial remains
of my battered hope one more time…
no joyful celebration as the missing coin is found
caught inside the underbelly strands
of the hundredth sheep’s ragged and dirt-filled wool
no trumpet sounds
announcing the upcoming party
as i feel the warmth and tenderness
of the new robe being carefully pulled across my shoulders
no pronouncement of how my story will be told
even as all these other stories will continue to be passed on
and not even the yes but no but yes
of a gently spoken, “Go. And sin no more.”
as much as i lie gazing up
and the fiery bubbles continue streaming
eagerly away from me
as i contemplate once more
whether the heat this time has come too close
to completely overwhelming me
and will i finally decide to
drag myself out and away?
to gently dry my feet of this matter…
and as all of that and more
happens as a thirteen hour conversation
within the fraction of a second
i am forced to blink.
and i see you.
and i realise you too are waiting
and that you have always been waiting
as if there is something more to come
as if you have still not found what you’re looking for?
the water cries out to me for a commitment…
“Help me…” I finally manage to splutter out
with what feels like my last breath
in this moment anyway
and as i direct my weak attention to
the cascading compassion i see
unequivocally raining down from your eyes
and hear the ‘Jesus looked and loved him’
as the poverty-stricken young ruler
lifted himself out of his own diamond-encrusted tub o’ gold
i finally tune into what was missing
and what is still to one more time be said
and as i smile the biggest world-beaten
faith-ravaged hope-seeking half smile
i can barely bring myself to muster
i let go of the sides
and slide into the almost overbearing life-draining scald-like heat of the tub
as my lips carve out the words
“with my unbelief…”
i am in once more.
or is that still?