Then and Now

Is it ignorance or focus to not search?

The last stage of starvation or fullness

when I don’t feel a hunger anymore?

Loss or rejection of appetite when I do not thirst?


And why are you- the ones who call themselves chosen, enlightened-

why are you saying you're in such need

and so incompetent by yourselves?

Yet they- those who look with curious eyes and open hearts- they say to love myself. To chose what is right for me.


So I asked my pastors, "Is this permissible? To choose what I enjoy?"

But they answered cautiously, "Not everything is beneficial"

So I did as they said, but I did wonder to whom this was benefitting.


Meanwhile, the Gentiles warned me not to follow blindly down the narrow path.

And they were right.

Maybe it is so narrow because you make it so, forcing the power of rushing currents through a pinhole just so you can be right.


Maybe it isn’t only the rich attempting to get through the eye of a needle,

but anyone who tries to follow your path

of enslaving freedom

and expensive, free love

conformative truth

and unconditional judgement.


If your path is so crooked, why am I not allowed to search for a straighter one?

Since when has acceptance before proof been the way to determine what is true?

Why are you so against anything that is different?

Has the world ever found any pure, white, inalienable truth?


I came back to my pastor after some months away from the herd, and this time told him of my doubts, shared a whole list full of them. Finally, I asked who was supposed to be my reason for living? Myself or God?

He didn't answer directly, but rather read:

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own"

That was last time I stepped foot in that church: my home for 2 and a half years.


Despite walking away, your lessons stick.

A viscous tar of guilt, sticking, dripping

inside of me. No amount of rushing water

could remove the residue.

You said you were the light and truth and I believed you.

You promised me unwavering love and acceptance in exchange for my soul, but there were more terms and agreements than you had first suggested; and now I am entangled in the red tape preventing me from the peace and freedom you promised would be here now.

Is my conscience telling me to go

back, repent, obey

those who claim they hold heavenly authority and ignore what longs in me to be free.

Or am I simply caked with the vile substances I ingested thinking I was doing what was best

for me or for God?

Either way, I'm ripping up this contract and searching for the deed to myself that you hid. It may be amongst the pages of my worn bible or underneath the scratchy chairs of the youth group room, or maybe at the wooded campgrounds where I gave my soul away in the first place. But I will find it, because I am my own. My body, my temple.

This poem is about: 


Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741