Christ, our Light


a short, short story

     When I was cleaning up the attic of my soul a few days ago, I came across quite a number of precious items, the kind of things that one knows one will never use again but cannot bear to part with. After years of storage, I had almost (but not quite) forgotten they were there. A lot of it is simply rubbish, of course: a bushel basket of broken promises, every issue of Resolutions going back to 1962, a couple of Vanities, a Vice or two, that kind of thing. Eventually, I felt, I would simply dump all that stuff in the trash, when I have the time.
     But there is no feeling quite like the pride of past achievements. As I surveyed those trophies, my heart swelled. There on the shelf under the gable stands my Sense of Self-Worth, seven feet tall, dusty, but gleaming with gold. Right next to it is my Appetite for Success, mouth wide open, and on the other side, my darkly glowing Self-Righteousness, still shining dimly, giving just enough light to deceive.
     Looking down the room, I spotted my first, rusting Self-Esteem engine. Right above it were the real treasures of the attic: row upon row of Dead Legalisms, all stuffed and mounted very professionally. A lot of them are still in good shape, despite the passage of years. I picked a couple of them up for a moment, and it seemed to me that they were a good bit heavier than I remembered them to be. Beautiful work.
     And just beyond them was my old Works Salvation. I pulled it away from the wall and got on it, for the first time in years. The movement was cranky and needed some oil, but after I finally got it wound up, it ran pretty good. Of course, it did not work, but then it had never worked; it just made impressive sounds and took up a lot of space. But almost everyone has one, and it was somehow gratifying to know that I could still operate mine -- such good exercise!
     Stepping off it, I looked back over the room. Several times I had resisted the impulse just to throw the whole lot out. There was nothing there of value to anyone but me, and I would undoubtedly be better off without all that rubbish. I firmly resolved to clean it all out -- when I get around to it. I stepped back toward the attic stair.
     But wait! What was that I saw at the end of the room, peeking out of a case on the floor? Was it -- yes, it was. After all these years, imagine finding a bottle of vintage Religious Respectability. In fact, a whole case! I decided to take a bottle back downstairs. I remembered, it only takes a drop or two to really rev you up. It was comforting to think that, with a whole case, I probably have a lifetime supply.

     RMA, September, 2000

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Christ, our Light

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Last updated: 09/10/09