Let Go

I still remember the day that father took me up the mountain.
I gripped the bundle of wood tightly, desperate.
My hands swelled white with the strain
Fingers hurt beneath the grip
But I wasn’t letting go!
The marks would race across my palms
long after I dropped the pack.
Scars remain long past the hurt.

Dad had his hands full.
Dad carried his heart.
No, it didn’t beat from his sleeve or stream from his face.
Sometimes you have to look to see the world shaking.
The earthquake splitting my father’s heart it two
wouldn’t even measure on the Richter scale.
Those old-man hands shook with every step;
afraid that if he let go, let it out,
the shaking would wrack his body long
after his war-drum heart stopped

When we reached the top
I didn’t want to let go of my pack.
It was my one job, to hold the wood,
and letting go would mean I had nothing left.
The hardest thing to let go of is the one we hold too tight.
Finally I gave in, placed the logs on the alter,
sacrificing more than even my father knew.

He looked at me, tears in his eyes,
the first crack of that storm inside.
It was only then that I realized
he had given up everything for me.
His whole life waiting to raise me.
His whole life longing for the Promise.
He had me carry it all because without me he had nothing left
Everything hung on this wood, on my shoulders
A weight far too heavy for a father’s hands to carry.

I held the wood.
My body lay atop it, tied to this tree.
The knife shook in my father’s hands,
sky rolling and crashing above.
Could he pierce my skin?
Give up? Let go? Give in?
Knowing that scars remain long after the hurt.
The hardest thing to let go of is the one we hold too tight.
One bridge to cross between everything and nothing.
One cross to bear.
One knife to plunge.
One sacrifice to make.
One… and yet everything.
Sacrificing more than even I knew.

The end flashed in lightning strikes
Thunder groaned in agony.
My father turned his face away.
A weight for too heavy
for a father’s hands to carry
Couldn’t look. Couldn’t watch
Everything that he held dear torn away.
One knife to cut apart his dream. Cast lots
to keep the tattered remains of his heart together

“Stop.” The voice stilled his hand.
Father fell down.
Vulnerable. Broken.
Heart sacrificed on the alter of his ego.
The voice spoke through tears:
“The hardest thing to let go of is the one you hold too tight.
Now I know
you would give up everything for me.”

Looking back, I remember that day well.
I was only a boy then
barely knew the meaning of the word
But memories are perfect scars,
remain long after my father’s war-drum heart stopped beating.
He sacrificed more than even he knew:
A weight for too heavy for a son’s heart to carry.
So, I carry the wood, transfer the weight from shoulders to alter,
And let go.

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