Fourteenth round and the fighter struggles to his feet, his tired legs shaking to lift the, even more, exhausted body from the chair, limp arms dangle to his sides, long past is the point where crispness and seemingly inexhaustible strength governs their movements. Tension, and its comfortable companion confidence, has long been replaced with whimpers of doubt, as his mind dances across the Plane of Prayer for, maybe, with God’s help to just survive this battle, instead of the victory he so confidently saw in his thoughts, dreams, only moments before.
Another day the alarm goes off, lifting her tired, swollen eyes from the soft pillow, now a bit hard from, yet, another night of crying herself to sleep, the aches and pains of shoulders, a neck that feels like a nail has been driven down the center, greets her morning’s light of the intended gift of another day. She has to climb out of the warm lonely bed to set an aching foot onto the cold cruel floor, a tired sort of stiffness granted from the long hours of late last night, yet another second job trying desperately to make but the fraction of what she needs, just to care for the bills looming on the counter in the other room. If it was only her, she might just roll back and call it quits; but for those young lives sleeping so peacefully in their beds, her work, a must, no, a practicality, to maybe give them just a better chance, an earlier try than she ever had; a good breakfast, a good start. She must work for her darling children before and long after carting them off to school.
Fights can last so long when you are knee-deep in them, wallowing through the savage pangs of battle, the muck seems to pull on your feet, its cruel claws ever pulling you down. These long, seemingly endless stretches of endurance, nothing short of a marathon at times create an unending trek of long distances lingering before us, lengthened strides that seem unreachable, they can sometimes result in more of a “just one foot in front of another” mentality, until, hopefully, the final circle in the stadium is realized. How grueling is this tedious step after step, blow after counter blow, punch after counter block, with its own deceptive occasional slap to the side of the head. Oh, how we try so desperately at times to wage but a good presentation, a practice sortie, hoping for but a miraculous one-punch knock-out! The fighter sits and ponders the fight, and his life of pain between rounds.
Climbing into the cold waking water splashing in its warm relief across her face, how sweet is the fresh clean tingle, the fresh taste of purity as it touches thirsty lips with a strangely caring caress, then drops wash the tears of yesterday’s night’s plight, her yet again, tear drenched lonely reception of those cold sheets, her bed ever a reminder of the betrayal that put her in this spot in the first place, not but a moment, years ago. With every lie, broken date, unfulfilled promise, cold cruel touch, she again faces the same road, ever struggling along to, this time, make it right, trying to walk on just a bit more narrow of a path, hoping and praying, but for a miracle relief.
The trainer splashes the cold sponge across his face, with an awaking touch, the cool water slices surprisingly cold gentle touches down his now sore bruised and tired chest. He shakes the cobwebs of the earlier rounds’ battles from his head, the animal-like blistering attacks and his corresponding counters ill-intended deposited follies of seemingly unbeatable attempts built on the confidences of months, maybe years of preparations dumfounded he realizes in his own senses, as to the aggression and relentless attacks of the animal that stands across from him.
Not as much as the company, or even the fact that he was fairly nice to look at, but it is the so quickly degrading expectations that seem to be laced through every eye-flirting smirk, with the rude innuendo, the progressing evenings’ conversation seemed to produce that again leaves a dirty taste in her morning mouth. Yet, again, another offer to walk down that road, she has ventured so many times before; and as tempting as it might “once in a blue moon” appear, always the final destination is certain, one of rejection, uncaring, betrayal, and flat out depression resulting in one more time being cast aside like some useless candy wrapper. “Is that all I have to offer, wrapping, colors and dress, painted figures, a facade crisp and clean until torn, wrinkled, used, and discarded?”
Standing across from him, a mountain of an opponent, ripples of hate-filled muscles, the only thing worse than the relentless cheap-shots and blind-side blows, is the foul stench coming from his accursed spitting maw, as he presses the ruthless attack further. Aggression and seemingly insane relentlessness is the only underestimation, if any, our young warrior made prior to the battle waged; but grave are those dance partners when a life is laid in the risk. Again, he calls within, to summon up what reserves that might lay hidden below inside his, now aching body, the same body which spasms in coughing eruptions, rippling stomach and shoulder muscles to the point where they fear tearing from their origins, the congestion and cough, a not so welcome answer to his inner plea.
Just once you would think, God could bring into her life a man that wanted, even to get to know but a moment, the life that she calls herself, instead of just skin, the pound of flesh, he can’t seem to keep his eyes off of; how they behave like some ravished starved wolf. If she didn’t feel dirty enough about herself before, how much more after being yet again, disappointed? One would think meeting a Christian, him proclaiming his persona in earlier conversations, and even within the proclamations of these church activities, would speak to something of his heart buried within? Guess not! The water has its own refreshing cleansing attributes, how the freshness seems to just place His purity touch on her tired body, pleasing to her tender heart’s longing lips.
What seemed like an opponent that should have been an easy match just prior to getting in the ring, has proven to be stronger and craftier than anticipated. Only days ago sat our young warrior with strong faith, ever diligent to train; some say “schooling up” is as disciplined as breathing or eating bread and drinking of a glass, a daily ritual of study and supplication, building the muscles for their inevitable release of force. Confident was he then in the hope of inevitable win, but the blows and power of this demon, has put him more then once against the ropes, a surprise hit or two almost putting him out the fight altogether. The canvas has a way of speaking its own siren’s song of invitation.
“Which dress shall be the lucky winner today?” Decisions to either meander down the road of attractiveness, for it does give the greatest ease of dead-line productivity in this world of hypocrites who claim work ethics and performance is enough, but constantly rewards the world’s most attractive or, keep it conservative enough to turn away the ever disrobing eyes of her married boss as he turns yet another stack of work her way, which should really be given to the blonde that call’s herself a secretary. When did our girl lose the edge of her own confidence? “Was it a month ago, maybe two or perhaps on the fence of the divorce when the man she pledged life’s love and her body, a body’s risk for their children, casually tossed to the dirt?” How do you paint over the years of tears with simple makeup?
When battles reach a point of crescendo, a person can almost experience a sort of “time standing still” or slowing effect that grant’s our young warrior just a fraction more of a reactive awareness, making many a split-second decision possible. So was it as the bell tones and the charge of the now sweat drenched, dark eyed raving creature, hurtling his massive body in lightning speed across the floor. The demon’s charge is almost successful, had it not been for the momentary Prayer mouthed by our young general, silently and softly with tender Hands’ subtle tone, gently caressing in his praying ear, only the slightest nudge is felt, “Turn your head just a little to the left”, the air rushing by, much more than just a savage breeze, but almost stings in its cold sweat-stinking touch with the so-near miss, had it been a razor, clean shaven would he be.
There is a refreshing feeling a morning’s dew brings, children playing in the back seat of a car, eyes lightened in amazed expectation headed in joyful glee for school, their own unencumbered embellishments dancing across the specter of the scene that plays in the world around them. Oh, what a momentary island she softly realizes in her praise, in this sea of troubled and lonely cold waters; how their laughs can fill her heart with such refreshing spring’s cool taste-just to be again deflated by the uncaring buzz of a text from “him”. “Meet you tonight?” his cold, casual words leave the same sour taste in her mouth as much as the thought of his last unloving and uncaring kiss. Silently and softly, with tender Hand’s subtle tone, gently caressings in her praying ear, only the slightest of nudge is felt, “Tell him, No!”-she quickly writes the text, sending it before she has a chance to regret it. “Good!”
Spinning out of the initial blow, pivoting fast and landing a counter, so glances the frustrated face of the monster his way; but just as fast it spins to attack with blow after blow of volleyed progression and while most are deflected with a brazened turn of the hero’s own head or a deflection of counter, one or more, maybe four, taking with them ounces of strength, not to mention power, he so desperately needs to turn this battle yet around to give some kind of reasonable performance! Wounds of old, lacerations of new begin to flood his vision with stinging blood that has now appeared on the gloves and body of his nemesis. Again his knees buckle to the blows of his lower body, for the animal somehow knows almost instinctively where to hit, where his weakness lies-doing the most damage and shaking the very foundation of his faith.
The work place is no less of a haven from the depressive grips of an enemy’s talons. Not moments from entering into the building, she is bombarded with every sort of harassment, all being too subtle to speak formally of, but none the less well within her surface water’s of awareness. Innuendos flowing from the eyes of her boss’s, boss’s, boss give her nothing in the area of encouragement, only more of just a continued feeling of merely wanting “to give in”. The worthlessness that caresses her body as their eyes and minds’ projections cast their spit in the face of what she knows deep down to be really good for her; food for her soul falls with stinging blow against her body, drawing up the pains buried deep within the soft strong muscles. Her feet are already beginning to hurt in the heels she has to wear for work.
Just as the symphony of blows seems to press the very spirit out of him, there is a sudden lull in the action, and the now relentless attacker dances back but a step or two, giving our tired warrior a chance to take in but a breath or maybe three. “Could this be an answer to his silent prayer, a miraculous appearing divot in the ruff, an eye in the storm, maybe a glance at a victory by some supernatural means; surely he could receive but one such sacred gift from Above.” Our champion cautiously ventures a foot forward and marks a plan for progression, a dream of maybe victory, deliverance, restoration. He presses his most talented salvo, one trained many a long moment’s past, the enemy may have seen it earlier, but it is the best he had, all he has!
Sitting at her desk, she sees a notice sent to her work, a bill, no, a tax levy against her wage, not for something she had yet to pay but monies owed by her ex, as he neglected to file that year of their divorce. And while she has repeatedly attempted to explain her position, their inability to locate him places her in the cross hairs. “Less pay!” What is she going to do now? Plus, sitting right next to this ill placed notice, another stack of work she is expected to do for someone else, “Oh how perfect, due today!!” A back log of calls to return, a project overdue by now a week, and a boss insinuating a lunch is his idea of an afternoon away from a wife, and in his mind, well within his rights. Suddenly a notice appears on her screen, the inter-department promotional position she applied for weeks ago has sent her an invite to interview. “Could this be an answer to her silent prayer, a miraculous appearing divot in the ruff, an eye in the storm, maybe a glance at a victory by supernatural means, surely she could receive but one such sacred gift from Above.” She takes a step for the door, holding in hand her best resume´, and with quick glance in mirror for approval, she pulls the door open and moves forward, give it her best shot, all she has!
Our young champion, our prince, our Son of the Living God steps forward and sets his hands against the opponent. He certainly presses with caution, for this animal never makes a mistake, never gives in, so this must be good. He dances left, rocks his hips in comforted enthusiastic vitality and engages in the combination of his attack, he is certain will grant him victory! His blows seem to be hitting home; a staggering left, a blow with a counter right, excitement intertwines its blending breath through the ecstatic release of all the reserves he has, the opponent’s weakened attempts to defend are quickly pressed with an even greater enthusiastic press forward. Oh, could this be an answer to Prayers, can he maybe even hope to come out of this debacle victorious? More combinations, a parley of side steps and blows to the enemy’s body, a simple dance to the side, a few more combinations and a final delivery should be all he needs? “He’s got this!” he excitedly praises under his breath.
Our young flower of the Living Christ steps inside the office of the Vice President. She has always admired this man, and while he is a handsomely powerful elderly man, never have his eyes set a disrespecting comment against her or anyone else she is aware of. This position could be an answer to many a night’s Prayers; plenty of money to ease the burden of debt’s choking grip-maybe even an end to those painful late night second job woes. She immediately and excitingly begins to set out many of the projects and ideas she knows of, the tactical barrage of her most talented display which through her years of long work, accumulating many a long day of her practiced experiences, grants enough wisdom to know what would be beneficial to the company, she brandishes all the attributes this position is looking for. As he comfortably takes his seat, his attentive ear and the serious interested look on his face gives her nothing but the most assuredness; he sees value in what she has to say. “She’s got this!” she excitingly praises under her breath.
Suddenly, and unexpectedly, realized quickly with a deviant gleam that cascades from the eye of his dark opponent, the final attempt of our young warrior is met with a deflecting and powerful brush of the demon’s hand that not only eliminates all effectiveness of his attack, but puts our young child in a position of a fool for he knows now he has been duped, and bare stands his jaw to the mercy of a villain that is incapable of feeling mercy. The blow lands with such devastation, his feet lift from the ground in almost a comical sight just moments before his head slams to the cold brazen canvas.
So excited, she moves to the edge of her chair just across from him, hands speaking in joyful explanation, in an almost childlike performance of laughter and description, when she catches just the most subtle turn of his eye and shoulder. Like a vulture, he turns his body now to move in closer than would be comfortable in any proper setting, a realization crosses her mind in a flash; our young child has put herself in a position of a fool for she knows now she has been duped, and bare stands her body to the mercy of a villain that is incapable of feeling mercy. The touch of his hand on her leg is felt with such a devastating chill, she immediately stops talking in mid-sentence. How comical that must have appeared, her dreams and desires crashing to the gutter, as quickly as the realization of where she actually stands in this life, yet again a dirty wrapper.
The cloudiness of yet another defeat shakes its cruel grip from the blood drenched eyes of our young child as he just begins to clear the pure shock of that knock-down, so many dreams failing, but building at the same time many more dark walls. In the fogginess of clearing veils he just begins to hear the word “Six!”. “Oh my God, I’m down!”, heart pounding its booming explosions in his head. “He can not lose this fight!” his career would be over! Pain as he struggles to just press his hands beneath his chest in some feeble attempt to lift his tattered body, yet again, from the cold cruel sweat drenched surface.
Barely heard are his words through the fog of the shock which ignited within her head, as he outlines the weekends, the hotels, the trips alone, and exactly what her new job function will entail. His sweaty hand now squeezing her inner thigh in an almost grotesquely demonic sting, its scorpion venom prickling painful fire with every touch. She just begins to clear the pure shock of this ultimatum, so many dreams fading and at the same time building many more dark walls. In the fogginess of clearing veils, she just begins to hear the words “You really have no choice; you have five seconds to decide”. “Oh my God, how did I get here?” her perfect heart booming in her chest, for as she tries even to move her own hands to brush his cold cruel hand away from her body, she can not, for terror strikes her soul. She can not loose this job, what about her children?
“Seven!” the boom of the word, equal if not echoing his own bursting heartbeat’s, almost pressing their way out of his chest. The waves of sound reverberates across his now blood and bruised body. He presses, but no strength can be only hoped, for so tired is he from yet again looking inside. His will has been broken, other words pang pain through his skull, “Why Father have you forsaken me?” Tears now blend with sweat and blood, painting a picture before his eyes on the canvas laid out before him. He almost with curious consideration, sees the laughing demonic picture erupting out of the floor before his eyes-a silhouette of crimson red and evil. “Eight!”
Her mind is screaming at her-“Slap his face, say something, say no!” But just as much as she just wants to force her body up, on now numb and shaking legs, she can muster no strength from within to fight. She is broken once and for all, other words pang pain through her skull, “Why Father have you forsaken me?” Tears now blend with mascara and shadow, painting a picture before his cruel eyes on the canvas of her cheek, the snarling smile across his dirty mouth says it all, for he knows he has her. Dirty stink of his breath, the almost casual greed he has with the realization of control; and he says with a sudden slight spray of spit “You’ve got two seconds now to decide, ‘Yes’, or get out!”
“Lord, I have failed!” a woman, a boxer, both sadly say within and mumble but a simple whimper of hope, “I believe, now help me with my unbelief.”
He can only manage to lift his stunned head out of the blood, the “Nine!” of the ref’s voice hardly registers in his head, as much as reverberates in a painful wave to his ears’ tender skin like a unexpected hammer to the side of the scull, sending yet again a shocking pain into his young heart. When had he forgotten dreams of old; soft playing with his young son, who he would have now afforded to hold and spend time with, the tender voice of that sweet boy; oh, how he sobs for the time he has lost? “Father Help Me!” is all he can muster from his lungs. The sudden “Ring” of the bell and just as unexpected, the feeling of caring, almost loving arms now lifting him up and helping him to his stool. “Saved by the bell?” he realizes to himself in almost shocked relief. Cool fresh water bringing just subtle touches of care and belief, clearing his head, opening up channels to Prayers bubbling within, but never stopping is his own soft tongues whispering their continued pleas for help, not from his own body, but from Him who dwells within!
The shock still quivering through her body, still stunned that she hardly realizes the words of him as he jolts her with the one sudden word, “Well?” How easy it would be to just give up on everything she believes, toss to the wind a dream of goodness, a life of purity, saving herself this time for a man she loves and who loves her, loves her enough to honor her by waiting until they are married. Is she not worth it? Her sweet daughters, where do they play in this game if their mother becomes a whore? “Oh Jesus, help me!” is all she can manage to pull out of her mind. Then suddenly, “Sir, your wife is on two!” The sound of his secretary washes the fog out of her mind as he angrily stares at the now limp woman before him. “Wait outside for just a second!” he almost frustratedly says as she quietly asks herself, “a temporary reprieve?” It almost feels like arms, hands of a most tender and loving nature pressing from within, lift her to her feet as she hurries outside the office on weakened knee, and closes the door on the dark recesses behind. Cool breeze and fresh air fill her lungs, bringing subtle touches of care and relief, clearing her head, opening up channels to the Prayers bubbling within again; but in no way interrupts her tongue’s soft whispers, continuously pleading for help, not from her own strength, but for something that is from Him!
The Father in heaven softly says, “A whip on your back here on Earth, is the same as a tip in Heaven.”
Thoughts clear, minds becomes open, they breath a deep breath of the heart’s relief scented love, life’s Water of a Living God, they know deep down, all sin of the past is forgiven, pure, sanctified by the One who dwells within! Their shoulders lift; they both look up and see the snarling animal glancing back in its own false confidence. A realization comes in Loud and Clear, “You are not going back in, I am, if you but ask!” Tears of Joy erupt in swollen eyes. Silent tongues of soft Prayer spill out into verbal Praise.
“Lord Jesus, You go into the ring for me!” a man and woman say, as his head lifts slowly in strength and power, as she straightens her back and wipes the tears from her face.
“Jesus my Prince, You go into the ring for me!” power flows through limbs, confidence crosses the faces of our two champions, exhortations of Praise flow through now strengthening legs, almost as fast realization and fear crosses the eyes of the enemies now staring back at them in increasing confusion and fright!
“Jesus Son of David, You go into the ring for me!” muscle now begin to tighten and ripple with Blood of the Living God that flows through every joint, every muscle, lifting, radiating in blazing Light from their eyes like the blasts of a hundred suns. Terror has replaced concern in the eyes of their now weakening opponents.
“Jesus Lion of Judah, You go into the ring for me!” they say now out loud in such commanding voices that clear is it to all around, exactly what they are saying and to whom they are speaking. Thundering voices of The Word!
A “Bell”, and a new fighter, a champion, a general lunges out of his chair with a blast of so much strength and aggression, the fear stricken enemy quickly looks behind for a place to escape, no longer even remotely thinking of fighting.
A “laying down of the phone”, a new woman, a champion, a general looks back through the glass with such power in her posture and confidence in her eyes, the weak pathetic old fear stricken man melts into his chair in fright.
With a smile our man steps comfortably to his feet, and with a smile she turns from the glass, and they both walk down His path.
(to be continued by anyone who wishes to insert their name.)
By Peter Colla
“Lord Jesus, You go into the ring for me!”