That is the essence of the human condition.
I am no different.
I spend a lot of time questioning, contemplating, studying, debating, discussing and dissecting the life around me – including (in fact, especially) the spiritual faith and religion that anchor my being.
Each month my writers group does a special assignment to help keep the literary juices flowing. Recently our challenge was to write something around the phrase/prompt “Five Minutes More.”
For me, the phrase speaks of regret. Disappointment. Longing. Frustration. Wondering what might have been?
As in, “What if I had five minutes more?”
In a larger sense, this conundrum has informed and defined all human history.
- What if Hitler had died from his injuries as a soldier in World War I?
- What if Abraham Lincoln had decided to appease the South rather than oppose its secession?
- What if Lee Harvey Oswald’s rifle had jammed?
And so on…
So, combining my “existential explorations” with our writing assignment, here is my take on perhaps the greatest “What If” of all:
THE GREAT WHAT IF
Let me be clear:
I never wanted to die for you.
Yet here I hang,
eternally nailed by your failings,
the weight of your confusion
piercing my spirit,
your lust for power dragging
my broken body through the streets of Time,
a prisoner forever to your odious politics.
Neither martyr nor mystic,
but a man –
flesh and spirit, just like you —
I never wanted to fix Yesterday, nor
I only wanted you to
One hand, one heart, one soul at a time.
Yes me, and God, of course,
because He is Me and I am Him
and You are Us.
But now, and now, and now,
two thousand times Now…
What has changed?
Except that my blood forever stains this tree.
Spikes once rusted from shame and infamy
now glisten, polished by the sands of
Lore fired with the desert air of antiquity.
And heaven – as close as a whisper for those with ears to hear –
remains seventy times seven trillion miles away
So, I wonder…
What would have happened?
What might have changed?
What could be different?
What would have been?
If they had not dozed through the dusk?
If he had not severed a soldier’s ear?
If the Highest Holy had not
tempted, accepted – begged! – Fate?
If the Caesar on the scene
had not dipped his guilt-gilded fingers in the bowl?
If I had not gone to the garden, but
just prayed at home, for
five minutes more?