Let this, too, be a source of praise, that trees meet in the park like six- winged seraphim, stooping low enough for a boy to find foothold and swing himself to a crooked seat.
This act of grasping something greater, knowing that one's weight won't break the boughs, that weakness allows mastery. The sudden slip that bloodies the thigh, the husky bark rasping one's shin, then the elation of hanging by the knees, trembling, maybe, but trusting the limb.
Surely Jesus, too, climbed trees in Galilee, frightening Mary by exceeding her grasp, then flinging his body from the upper branches and returning to earth, triumphant and flushed.
He must have enjoyed as a boy the enabling flaw, must have loved the flesh He knew would fail, trailing for hours the ascents of his nimble creatures: the ring-tailed raccoon, the unseen lizard, the silent beetle, armored and green.
Our Lord of Flaked Paint freckling sallow skin and emerald robes,
Our Lord of Mudpuddle Eyes that look away in weary irritation,
no one can touch your loneliness, God cut off from God.
You who flamed a world into being with only words, stood
in the midst of bickering men, fig trees dying, and sparrows
falling to the ground. Were there days when heat and dust,
the smell of stale crowds pushing you from place to place,
asking for one more resurrection, food for thousands
or withered hands healed, made you want to slash the canvas,
fly back to heaven and start fresh on some new world far away?
Days where your head ached from sun on sand and water,
where your throat scraped raw from shouting Blessed are . . . to men
who would go home, forget, and return to nail you to a piece of wood?
No one understood your stories, could grasp that you would trade
legions of angels for nine ungrateful lepers,
the friend who turned you in, and never enough sleep.
Our Lord of Omnipotent Frustration with your halo like a setting sun,
your hand is raised as if to bless me, though I can’t imagine why.
Study war no more
Mar 18, 2011
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).