Bruised and battered, I limped down the dark streets of loneliness, plagued only by the ghosts of my past and the beasts of my tomorrows. I could barely lift my legs to pick up pace, to run, to escape. My feet, they were being weighed down by my boulders of gold, that I had tied up myself.ghosts

There was a time when I thought that those golden boulders would bring in strength, stability, anchor me during rough tides and protect me from drifting away into unchartered waters. Tonight, I realized, they were just boulders, balls of metal, just crude instruments and means to orderliness.

The ghosts kept hovering overhead. The evil ones pelted stones and while some just vanished through me, mocking my mortality, sending a chill down my spine. But the beasts, they scared me more, for they would not reveal themselves. They hid behind empty trash cans and abandoned warehouses, like they were waiting for me to make a move. And I tried, tried in vain to lift those heavy legs and unchain myself.

The shackles tore through my skin every time I pushed hard against them. I bled but I dint care. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to run or just make a stand and fight. I would have given anything to do either. But I couldn’t. And I kept limping defeated, unable to make peace with the ghosts nor fight the beasts.

I looked up for answers. I got none. There were no stars, no moon, or even the promise of a dawn. I knelt to the ground and spoke to the earth beneath my feet. I asked for understanding. I was not enlightened. I was on my own, I realized.

And that’s when I heard, the sweet sound of hope. It sang to me. It sounded like it was from somewhere far away. Was it a bird? An angel? A man? I couldn’t make out, it was so very feeble. It came from a place that was unseen to my eyes. It came from a person I did not know. The sound of hope grew louder and louder the more I listened to it. The more I opened my ears to it, the more familiar it sounded. The more I opened my heart to it, the more human it became. I closed my eyes and listened. I listened hard, trying to make out the words. For now it was just trying to talk to my woman. But there was more I knew. I kept listening and listening, allowing every part of my body to open itself to this new set of chords.phoenix1

And then I heard Him. He sang from the heavens. The words that he spoke. I opened my eyes with a start. The music stopped. I looked around. The darkness prevailed. The ghosts were still there, and so were the beasts. But where did the song go?? I looked around desperately with eyes brimming with tears. Empty winds beat down those dingy streets with not a touch of magic in them.

I closed my eyes again. This time I tried to remember what those words were, that I had heard just before His lullaby of hope had vanished. I remembered them. I heard His voice again, this time softly in my head. I parted my lips, trembling, yet determined and repeated those words, like He had sang. And as those first words escaped my mouth, I heard the soft clinking of metal.

My shackles had started coming down.

I sang again, louder this time.

The chains broke down. The beasts growled and started their slow approach.

I sang again, this time exactly the way He had sung.

The glowing red eyes of the beasts surrounded me. They were preparing for attack.

I realized, I could run now. Or I could stay and fight. But it did not matter. What mattered was that the boulders were no longer tying me down. I got my first sweet taste of freedom.

There was no way to be sure about making the right choice here. But I knew one thing for sure, I was not going to just sit, kneeled to the ground, waiting for time to slowly suck and savor the life out of me. And the thought that, whatever I did, it would be my will, gave me courage like never before.

In the distance, I saw the ghosts looking down upon us, preparing to witness an epic run or a fierce battle. And I saw them more clearly now, the lost ones, the loved ones, the forgotten roads, the abandoned dreams, my ghosts.

Tonight, I will fight. I will not kneel anymore. I will either win or die trying.

I knew, that the moment I stood up and got back to my feet, the beasts would charge. I am prepared for battle, I thought.

But as I prepared to stand, I sang for one last time, His song of hope, His secret message for me, tuned for my ears, so only I could understand. The words that reminded me, that I was worth this battle, that I was worth every risk.

“Hold on baby, just a little more

Follow my voice and lead the encore

You are a child, unique and bold

Take flight, your wings I will hold

Your beasts grow stronger,

As your wait grows longer.

They will want to tear your skin

But their hearts you can win

And when they fade, come find me

I will wait, till you I see

Come my baby, come find me

I will show you, your Odyssey.”