Park bench Jesus

A while back I posted a piece entitled Laundry Day Jesus. It was a tip of the hat to a favorite doctrine of the Incarnation. This is a second attempt at the same…

park bench

Just having an empty page and pen in hand does not guarantee a lucid exchange of journal-thoughts, accurate reminiscences or profound epiphanies. What it does freely give is some open, lined space in which to articulate, albeit poorly, the state of my guts.

I cannot say from whence come the complex, oft competing impulses that so shoddily guide me through my days. The cracked, grey skies of the winter months hide well the last gasp of spring, but generally offer a steel-blue repose for artsy contemplatives like me. Conversely, the giggly swagger of summer lays out the easy welcome mat of joy and frivolity for most. I, on the other hand, struggle with an uneasiness that taunts me into believing I should feel and behave similarly.

I am often depressed in summer. The rather mystifying collage of incoherency that is my life refuses to pay attention to the obvious. With people laughing, dogs barking, frisbees flying, lovers kissing, one would think these the prelude to perfect afternoons. But my stubbornly individualistic mystic-whimsy makes unreasonable demands of me. It says pretentious things like “this is all too obvious; there is no sense of the obliqueness and nuance of the later seasons to satisfy this needy soul.” With such utterly ridiculous, almost morose sensibilities, is it any wonder that I so easily lose my way in other things?

Relationships baffle me. They frighten me while simultaneously providing hope. For too many years my relationships have been more responses to the gaping holes in my psyche than the proactive contributions of reciprocity. It makes me wonder how many times those I call friends were quite happy to see my ass on the way out the door. It also makes me wonder what others’ perceptions are of me. Further, it forces hard questions – questions that ask the deeper concerns of motivations, neglect, apathy, loneliness, desperation…even subtle hostility.

Do I leave friendships better than I found them? Do I take away more hope than I bring? Do I engender trust and ease or the tension of interpersonal unknowns? Would I be the hurting person’s first line of defense? If I make people laugh is it to bring them joy or me recognition?

At the risk of crudely undertaken and ill-advised self analysis, I poke my nose into this new calendar year. Knowing what I know (or think I know) of myself, I would not be easily given to hope. What I cling to instead is this crazy idea that, in Christ, God has sought us out; sought me out. Jesus is God’s jacketed dream for the confused and confusing, whimsical and uncritically romantic person like me.

Therefore, when I otherwise might be inclined toward a pewter-grey hopelessness, I need only notice the hooded Savior seated on the park bench of my soul. From there he feeds my questioning birds with the manna of presence he keeps hidden in his coat pocket. It doesn’t always satisfy right away. But it keeps me hanging around for more.

And he doesn’t seem intent on leaving anytime soon.

Picture at

7 thoughts on “Park bench Jesus

  1. Interesting. I can concur with the manna not feeling filling enough – it is, I am learning, an acquired taste. But it does keep me hanging around for more – a very apt description of learning to feed well. We seem perennially happy with crumbs under the banquet table…


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