THE FURNACE OF THE BELOVED
by Jeff Foster
It emerges from the Womb with you.
It sees the world for the first time.
It has no other eyes but these.
The world is its furnace, its playground of fire.
It grows with you. Changes. Hurts. Rejoices.
It learns exactly what you learn.
All the conditioning in the world cannot condition it away.
It goes through each rite of passage.
First kiss. Wedding day. Graduation.
It feels everything as intensely as you do.
And on your retirement day, it retires with you.
And when your loved ones die, it mourns with you.
It misses them too.
Its tears only dry when yours do.
It falls asleep with you every night.
It holds you as you go for chemo.
It forgets its medication in perfect synchronicity.
It does not know good and bad.
It gives you just enough energy to stand where you stand.
To sit where you sit. To lie where you lie.
It does not know failure or success.
It shits itself if it has to.
And even when the pain becomes unbearable,
It whispers “I am still here”.
“I take unexpected forms”.
Its heart stops when yours does.
It takes its last breath with you.
Not even in these moments can it leave.
Not even in these moments.
It does not know coming and going.
You may cry out, “Where are You?”
“Why have You forsaken me?”
But at no point does this question go unanswered.
For your cry is its cry,
Your question is its question.
It is forever calling Itself home in this way,
Never, ever needing the answer.
Listen, and you can hear it calling, always.
Listen – it is there even when you cannot hear it call.
For it hears exactly what you hear.
No more and no less.
We all burn in its fire.
Our bones melt in its loving embrace.
Do not fear this furnace of the Beloved.
For it has already taken you.