SITTING ON THE EDGE OF THE TUB – by brett “Fish” anderson

 

sitting here

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

acceptable ideas

[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…

 

“i believe!”…

 

and…

nothing.

 

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

hoping,

waiting,

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?

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