A stormy sea below a midnight sky,
An overturned boat caught a glance from my eye.
I stood sure on the shore and surely could stay,
But what of the boatmen gone under the waves?
The waves were assailing and beating that boat,
Rising like monsters and diving like ghosts,
And the ghost inside of my chest was trembling,
“Why must I be witness to this hellish reckoning?”
I scurried the beach like a rat in a panic,
Looking for someone, something to traffic
This horrible fear far away from my soul.
But oh, but oh, there is no hope!
The time’s too late and the night long spent!
“What are these reckless thoughts in your head?
You think you can save from certain death?
Nonsense! Nonsense! I’ll say it again.
If ever a hope were here, it is gone.
It passed long before you ever caught on.
So go home to your kids and your beautiful wife;
Move on from this scene, move on with your life.”
So on I went, though with hesitant feet,
My face dejected at the thought of retreat,
When over my shoulder a sound tickled my ear:
A distant cry, and so severe
That it pierced the very air I breathed.
But in terror I was relieved
That maybe my life made more sense than I thought
And my pitiful help could save a soul that was lost.
I jolted my head toward the source of that sound
And what a sight of horror I found!
The monsters at sea were more monstrous still
And in their grasp they had their thrill
In thrilling a lone man gasping for breath,
Sinking under their power, slave to their death.
And death seemed a worthy price to pay
To help this man in this evil day.
So with no delay, I jumped into the water.
I felt like a man going down to his slaughter.
Yet maybe in death I would find my existence,
What the point of my trials and life’s firm resistance,
All the lonely nights and dreadful fights
With my own kids and my own dear wife.
“Why?” said I. “Why this chaos I find?”
But now, now I will die…
My purpose must lie on the other side;
Maybe I’ll save another from this hell of a life.
Thus plunging into the clutches of death,
I closed my eyes and held my breath.
But the man saw me in the midst of the ocean
And moved his arms with a great commotion
As if the notion of hope in this monstrous sea
Had brought him to life if only to plea,
“Oh please! Help me!” And under he went.
I swam, but the monsters would not relent.
And under they took me, and under I died.
They took from me my very life.
My last few seconds live only in blackness,
No hope for that seaman, only deafening madness.
Where am I now? What do I see?
What purpose is here and what of me?
I see only darkness, I hear gnashing of teeth,
My purpose extinguished in inexhaustible heat.
The last precious sight was the Lord’s own face.
He greeted me at hell’s dark, rusty gates.
Then He said with tears streaming down His face,
“Why did you choose to live life for your sake?”
The question pierced me and I started to flame,
“I lived life for others! I died trying to save!”
“But what of your wife and your kids back home?
What of Me and my royal throne?
When did I see you bow at my feet?
When did you ever live life for Me?
I, too, died trying to save,
But I succeeded and conquered the grave.
It was for your purpose I hung on that cross,
All I asked for was love and I’d pay for your cost.
But now your debt’s brought you straight to this place,
And from now on you’ll be far from my face.”