Out of the Muck
I am on an island and you are far away from it walking on water waiting for me to find my feet and walk to you. In the past when you’ve waited on me your arms were outstretched but now your hands hold your arms gracefully behind you. You aren't angry. Your face shows no disappointment. You are simply waiting. I see your lips moving and I know you’re speaking to the father but your not just speaking you are praying… for me. I cannot hear you but the language I see you speaking is one my mind does not know but my spirit understands and I shutter. I realize you are watching me beckoning me with your eyes and I try to stand but my feet are gone and having no balance I fall back to the sand. Your eyes still beckoning I push and crawl my way towards the water, towards you! My face is buried in the sand my arms weak trying to move the rest of my body to get to you only they can’t. I can’t. I’m not strong enough and I stop trying. I lay there on my face crying disappointed and angry. “Help me!” I call out to you. “Help me!” You only look at me tears running down your face. In my anger I call out again, “Help me!” But you don’t. I look around for something anything to move me into the water and I see a snake appear next to me saying, “I’ll help you.” When I hear him my stomach tightens and I say, “You can’t help me. You are a snake!”
“Oh, but I can child!” He continues, “I’ll teach you to ssslither your way to the water.”
“I don’t want to slither like you.” I say to him in disgust. The snake looks at me with a smile on his face and says, “If you don’t learn how to ssslither you’ll never make it to the water.”
“But I’m not supposed to slither like you.”
“And why isss that?” He asks me.
“I-I don’t remember. I’m just not.”
“Why is it ssso important you don’t learn to ssslither if you can’t remember?” He asks still smiling. Confused and needing to get to the water I agree to let him teach me. He shows me how to move my body in a way that will get me from one place to another quickly, almost effortlessly. As I learn step by step how to be like a snake and slither he asks me, “Why do you want to get to the water ssso badly anyway?"
“I-I don’t know.” I say as I look to the water and see nothing. “You know water like that kills sssnakes like usss.” He hisses at me. “Snakes like us?” I say. “Yesss.” He replies. “I am no snake!” I say astonished he would even think of calling me such a thing. “No?” He says, “You Cccertainly look like one.” Confused and frightened by the seriousness in his voice I just shake my head in disbelief. “Have a look in the water if you don’t believe me.” I slither over to the water and see my face… I am a snake! I realize as my heart sinks into my stomach. This can't be! I think looking into the water a second time. My tongue hisses at me and I see what I have become, ugly and ashamed crawling around on my belly. I look evil and feel sick. I am the lowest of the lows. “Sssee?” the snake says interrupting my thoughts. “No, no!” I cry out, “I don’t want to be a snake! How do I change it?!” I ask urgently. “You can’t. You are one of usss now.” He says. “No! I don’t want to be like you! I can’t!” I say my body shaking in fear. I have to get away from him! I think. He's making me this way! I start to slither away fast and realize I’m not going anywhere. The sand beneath me turns to muck and I can’t move. “Get me out of this!” I say to the snake. “Until you embrace the muck I will not help you.” He says slithering away leaving me trapped in the filth. I look down at the muck and see shapes moving beneath me, captivating me. Momentarily I forget the twisting in my stomach,I forget what I look like, and how I feel I am at peace, I think to myself as my mind slips into a state of unawareness. I suddenly hear a word spoken from far off… My name... I think. I look away from the muck and see you from across the water, eyes burning. “Yesss, do I know you?” I call back. I see you take one step towards me before saying, “You used too; just as I still know you.” I tilt my head in question scared and confused. “Who am I then? If you know me so well.” I say sharply trying to cover up my vulnerability. “You are my daughter.” He says taking another step and I feel a burning sensation on my skin. “Your hair is light like the sun.” Again he takes a step just as a piece of hair falls softly against my cheek. “Your eyes are blue.” I touch my eyes and see a flash of blue behind closed eyelids. “You’re teeth and tongue work together to show their beauty and power.” Before I have time to process what he says my mouth curves into a smile as he takes yet another step and says, “And your heart pure as gold.” As he says the word heart I feel as though it’s going to leap out of my chest then he takes his last step, still quite a ways off. “Shall I go on?” He says smiling at me. I look down at my muck and feel my stomach twist again, “No.” I say quickly. “Why not?” He asks me. “Because you’re making me sick.” I respond. “No, no, loved one. I am making you well! I am cleansing you.”
“Cleansing me? Cleansing me from what?” I ask defensively. He points at the muck and says, “From that.” I try to cover up the hope and desperation in my voice by laughing and say, “You can’t cleanse me from this.”
“Look down,” He says. I do and see crystal clear blue water under me. I snap my head up looking at him, stunned. An overwhelming feeling of freedom, joy, and gratitude come over me. “Look down.” He says again and again I do, my muck is back and my heart starts to break as I realize I am held captive once again. I look at him bewildered and angry this time. “ I can cleanse you, but I am waiting on you. Waiting on your feet to come back. Waiting for you to choose me. To choose love over hatred. Mercy over judgment. Forgiveness over blame. Wisdom over foolishness. Truth over lies. I am waiting for you to choose me over the muck you are in. Do you understand?” He asks me. I shake my head yes a little hesitantly, thinking. Wiping away the tears rolling down my face I look up at him once again and ask, “Who are you?” He smiles and says, “I am Jesus." In an instant, it all comes flooding back. The long walks in the fields. Talking late into the night. Laughing so hard we turn purple. Slow dancing to no music. When he says the word "Jesus" I remember my first love. I remember the good times we shared. I remember my Abba Father, His son, and his Spirit. Then I remember why I am sitting in my muck no feet to stand upon. I became part of the world. I became selfish. I became lazy. I became greedy. I became deceitful. I became as ugly as a snake. I became like the ugly one following in his dirty footsteps. “Abba?” I say tears filling my eyes again. “Abba!” I say again with revelation this time. “Hello, dear one.” He says eyes twinkling. I feel a rush of urgency! I need to get to him! For the second time, I push and crawl my way out of the muck full of determination this time, my heart racing. It’s my love! I have to get to him! He is cheering me on from afar tears running down his face. Still crawling I finally reach the water, sliding in desperate to get to him! Forgetting my feet are gone I start to sink my arms still not strong enough to push me to the surface and I know I’m going to drown. I start to panic when I remember his words “Choose me!” I feel a rush of warmth go through my body and I start to laugh breathing in the water. I choose you! I choose my Abba! “I choose you, Jesus!” I call out. I start to feel a tingling in my legs and I know I’ve passed the test. I am free! I am no longer living in my muck! I am cleansed! I am free! My feet are back and I kick off the waters floor racing to the top of the water where I see his hand reaching down towards me. I take hold of it as he pulls me up to him. Then I’m there standing on the water with him totally at peace, embracing him. “Thank you! Thank you for choosing me!” He says and with those words, our hearts become one once again.