A tawdry cynic, moi, encased
in flannel arguments, embraced
no mercy seen, no quarter given;
I laughed at those of faith, so: shriven.

You watched me from on high and chuckled
as I, to that lone squirrel did 'fess:
"To thou, Squirrel, nigh and God, I'm cuckold--
'Tis only you twain's love I'd press
near to 'bosom, dear to soul --
Yes: only you two I would know."

Just 12 years old, then, in those pines
of Idyllwilde, encamped. June's spines
of heat! -- so, campkids trivets made --
lo, how I scoffed at that charade!

And climbed the hill, and first decided,
that since -- those tawdry folk, derided,
were not worth knowing -- 'just that squirrel,
and Thou, oh Lord. My faith did pearl.

A bit of sand it was, back then,
amidst a sticky, tarry, fen
"Which God are you?" I came to ask --
from deep behind my cynic's mask.

The next six years You answered me,
as quite indeed You always had.
It took that long 'till I'd agree --
I had to hit that apogee,
The Camus book, astronomy,
Before I'd see You --- and be glad.

Oh, I had seen You oft before,
in pain and plenty, hurt and health,
but You were Big and I, a nothing,
I, so helpless -- You, so ....WEALTH.

So I just blamed You for the evil --
deep behind my mask, it was.
You? You smiled, despite my cavil,
And led me to Your Truth: "because".

Did I do aught that You should favor?
No, I merely breathe, and so
You did orchestrate and flavor
every circumstance, to show
You're ALIVE! And now I savor
Truth of You -- which thus I KNOW.

Magic, this, or miracles' circus?
"Vision", dream, or hocus-pocus?
Yearning so and thus twist-turn?
A fancied "Truth" to sate that "burn"?

No! You are Too Good, Too Wise;
You simply made the facts quite clear;
despite my running-Jonah-tries,
and lame excuses, all my lies,
You laid the data 'fore my eyes,
and taught me how to hear.

And so, by 18, my search ended;
every faith I had befriended,
every argument pro and con,
which man is wont to argue on,
I learned and loved, and yes, debated,
only to find 'em empty-crated,
'til at last that goofy Book,
which so many fundies thumped,
proved itself in sooth. It took
a long time to admit I "slumped" --
but, then, at last, I did.

Fighting You's an occupation!
Still I see that trend unfold,
Yet Your Word, Emancipation,
Locks captivity in its hold.

You yet! give me the key, and I,
wound up! in blind emotion's pull,
turn that key in lock, and sigh
as dead Pandora's sin springs full.

Yet, as time has passed, the turning,
has a lesser, lower, burning --
rather more distracted to
His Casque of Thoughts, so Open, True,
I quite forget the key's so near!
because I am too busy learning.

More and More the Spirit teaches --
as He does, the learning reaches
round and round Pandora's box,
wrapping it in cloth-of-gold,
never adding to the locks,
never takes the key I hold,
just preserves the freedom, there --
His Word above His Name! I stare:
and so forget to sin...

The "glory" that was sin, forgetting,
Seeing Him instead, abetting
Circulating Doctrine, now,
My "glory"'s in the sin UNUSED!

YOU made it so when Christ You fused
our sins to Him upon that Cross,
and YOU exchanged depraved mind,
of "good and evil", for a kind
Which Paid our Debt --- and pays to us
His Doctrine's Heart! You us endow.

YOU hear our thoughts, and thus demand,
His Thinking be poured in our souls,
Our lives with You, with Him, in Hand,
Blessed are we whom He controls.

So every day, the key's less used,
and ever more I am infused,
With Doctrine -- Him -- am saturated
As YOU demand, propitiated.
How so Rich! Your Son in me?!
Yes! "just because" He prayed I'd be...!

Thank you, Father, ever Gracious,
for your Patience, Punishment, Care --
Thank You for Your passing over
my hard-heartedness of yore
Thank You for Him, every second!
Thank You for Him, ever more!

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