It doesn’t help me to be so much alone: it causes me to turn in on myself and direct the power that I have where it can do the most harm. But secretly, and I smile to hide it, so that no-one knows. I’m like a person who cuts themselves but keeps the cuts hidden under layers of normality. So that no-one knows and no-one can intervene. Because they don’t see what I’m doing. And all the lies I tell, all the smiles and ‘I’m ok’ that I tell people to make them go away, they cause me to be even more alone. This solitude is of my own making. And to what end? If I die, if I kill myself, is that the right end, the good end for all of this? Is that how this power is to be used, to become invisible and, in the end, to disappear? And be forgotten? Because that will happen anyway: the world is a forgetful place, and I will be forgotten as soon as I am gone. And that is not a sign of the world’s cruelty; it is just a sign that the world has things to do: it is always focused on doing. Even what I do to myself is a doing. It is a destructive doing, and a hidden doing much of the time, but it is a doing. There is a doing without purpose, and that is what Hell is; and there is a doing with purpose, and perhaps that is Heaven, or — at least — a glimpse of Heaven for me or for any of us. We cannot live but we do. We cannot live but we do. I think there is too much Hell in this world and it is our work to create Heaven, or at least a little Heaven, a little purpose in all this biting destruction bent back upon ourselves, twisted in a grimace to hide the anguish we have ourselves inflicted. Because it is we who inflict this anguish: not ‘the world’ (whatever that is) and not others, but we. We are all complicit; we are all guilty. And there is no pardon for us except we pardon ourselves, and stop this torture, this tearing at our own hearts, this guilty self-righteous drumming on our chests to make it seem that we are better, or less guilty, or perhaps in the hope that we can elude the gaze of guilt and name ourselves the innocent.

But there is no innocence. Not even in God. Because we are all touched by this world and condemned by it. But what we seek to do with that touch, that is what defines us. Do we bend, or fall? Do we deny? Do we scream into emptiness, knowing that no-one is listening? Do we stand and accept it, on one cheek and then the other, in the gut, bending our legs to kneel, bending, but still standing because we are Christ and this is how it always is if we can but stand and be condemned and not condemn in return.

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