in the ring

In the Ring
Lindsay L. O’Connor

Well today, I was just fighting with God.
I mean fighting.

I woke up early, stomach upset,
and was just “doing panic” for an hour.
I reminded God of all the lovely ways
God has helped me through panic before,
but God would not be moved.

“We’ve done this before,” I said.
“Remember the reassurances?
The suggestion to move my body?”
The promises of rescue?
…That one even came with a song!”

And do you know what I heard back?

“No. Be here now.”

Fine, I thought.
“If you won’t help me,
I’ll just take a vacation in my mind.
I can’t be here.”

To which God said, “Be here now.”

“But it’s too painful.
It’s too uncomfortable
to be with my body right now.”

“Just be here.
Maybe feel your feet on the floor.”

I felt my feet on the floor.

Now what?
I was still looking for escape,
but God was insistent.

“Why is it so important for me to be present?”
I all-but-yelled in frustration.

“Because that’s where I am,
and I want to be with you.”

I considered this.

God continued:
“How can you be present to others
when you can’t be present with yourself?”


This morning, I just fought and
fought with You,
but You would not budge.
You would not let me cajole
or coerce You.

But, I guess,
as You fought to
keep me present,
You were fighting to
keep me with You.

This morning, we just
fought and fought,
but you can’t fight
with an absent opponent.
Thank You for being here,
steady and unmoved by my tantrum,
present with me that I might learn
to be present with You.

We fought and fought,
but also,
we were together.

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