*For Parts 1-3, click here.
This morning I sit on the edge of metaphorical mountain waiting to hear the words of the man I call my teacher. It is early morning, so I am ready with my cup of coffee. The automatic drip started this morning before a rooster could crow once much less thrice. Last night after our dinner date, after paying the baby sitter, after scanning the nightly news, I told the coffee pot to be ready. The auto-drip function rarely lets me down.
Last night was good life. Amber and I talked about Jesus, this rebel that now stands poised on the pages of the cliff of Matthew 5. We ran into Mel and her husband at the restaurant. Those two… they claim ragamuffin status and I believe them. They know the language of grace. They have proven themselves ready to love us, ragged as we can be from time to time. The girls talked about their tattoos, laughing and calling them “tats,” and “tatties,” and “ink.” The colors are amazing I must admit.
After we left the restaurant, we walked across the street to the independent book seller, the one brimming over with sounds of espresso and gypsy music. She read poetry to me. It was good, thick poetry, the kind that makes other poets well up. I am not another poet but her welling made me happy. The college couples sitting at the coffee bar watched us over the top of the children’s book rack as if to say, “I wonder what we’ll be like when we are their age.” They followed us with their eyes, then giggled. It was a good night.
And now, in this early morning, I sit, Jesus waiting to raise me with his words. The stewed chicken and latte night cap steams thick in my memory. Lines from spent poems circle like vultures threatening to pick apart a dead thing not yet begun. The couples, those young idealists, spring to mind, all drinking coffee and talking about social justice. I can hear their cups clinking.
My eyes are too heavy and so I inhale a deep breath of coffee steam and stare at the words.
Unexpectedly, he stares back.
And with the eyes of a mad artist willing to blaze bold art across an unseen canvas he looks at me as if to say, “the needle’s gonna hurt, boy.” And then, he holds my hand with all the grace I could ever want and stares through my skin to where the ink will leave a permanent stain and he carves,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”