Dusk was approaching and for a bit of warmth and its comforting glow, the campfire was lit.
In the light, in direct view, his eyes emitted a strong reluctance to engage… yet deeply engaged.
His body radiated the shyness of a soul scarred by numerous wounds, but those reluctant eyes retained that bright glimmer of determination, perhaps even stronger than the poor spirit that shone through.
At first glance, some would say he was almost deferential, which though true, masked a being hard as diamond, pressed into becoming by lessons gentle.
When he spoke, it was as if each word caused him some minor pain, perhaps like a faded difficult memory.
Even his smile, which appeared seldom but often enough, had to burst through hidden barriers… as though the clouds of his heart could not blow away and so blocked his sun from shining through.
We sat quietly for some time, which he liked to do, in the gathering dusk and near the fire’s light.
Then I was stirred and asked him, “What would you say, if you were told to speak now, in this moment? And if what you said was to guide the world through the morrow?”
He remained still for a long while, just watching the fire but visibly struggling with what he might say.
Then he gently sighed and slowly turned his head to look directly at me… into and on through me.
I felt his sadness pierce my space… with no harm to me, but with the effect of a falling tree.
At which I began to regret asking the question. But just then he smiled a small but heartful smile and, looking as if he may break apart with an effort he had to make, slowly, with each word a sorrowed pain, he replied, “What is the ratio of God’s boundless Love for Man… to Man’s gratitude for that Love?”
In that moment, the campfire popped a slew of bright orange sparks into the air… and as they swirled around, floating upwards on flame’s heat… winked out.