Kathleen slid apart the two panels that together made a black etched scene of a Japanese woman bent over a sheet of parchment, her ink-tipped calligraphy pen about to meet its significance. As Kathleen’s arms spread apart, she willed her mind to open, and then stepped inside her poetry alcove and rolled the panels closed without turning.
Her lithe frame pattered across the hard wood floor to the drawn curtains. With a crisp motion, Kathleen peeled the gossamer curtains back, letting in that iridescent blue before the sky turned dark. The spacious room, hollow but for a desk against the left wall and a cold, wiry chair, glowed with the same mystical hue as her imagination.
Gazing momentarily, perhaps at the ink well positioned like a vase on her desk, Kathleen then strode across the floor and sat down, wrapping her legs around those of the chair. Her body heat passed to the iron as she melded herself to her poet’s throne.
First she brushed her hands reverently across the clean sheet of paper, imagining the inked secrets that she’ll fold with elite delight underneath the large pad on the desk. Then Kathleen took up her white calligraphy pen, uncapped the ink well, and dipped her wand into the wet black.
(Italics) He said he is a Christian / and will only marry a Christian / But who is this Christ / Only one truth seems a lie / I can be a Christian, too / He said you don’t understand, do you? / Understand what? / That he died for our sins. . . .
Kathleen hurriedly dipped her pen in the ink and fixing her teary eyes on the page, as though leaving it would lose her thought, her withdrawing hand tipped the bottle of ink, black oozing across the paper. Her gasp sounded like a scream in the empty room as she hastily erected the bottle, her fingers, palms, and even her underarms covered in black.
Do you want to be clean?
Kathleen startled and looked around the room, seeing no one. She rushed from the alcove to the kitchen, scrubbing frantically at her skin as the faucet ran. The ink only smeared, staining the sink.
Do you want to be clean?
“Yes,” Kathleen said quietly, unsure of the disembodied Voice. She felt a tingling sensation and craved to scratch the palm of her hands when she saw that the ink was gone. “Who are you?”
“I didn’t know you were real.”
You sound disappointed.
“I don’t believe there should be just one truth, one way.”
Do you believe in God?
“Of course.” Kathleen ran her fingers along her skin that had never felt so soft.
What is He like?
Kathleen laughed, nervously picking up a dish towel and throwing it down again. “My God is probably a lot like your God.” She went back to her alcove, frowning as she noticed the ink blotches on the panels.
“Can you make this clean like you did my skin?”
I’m more interested in hearing about your God.
Kathleen closed the panels. She wouldn’t admit it to him, but she didn’t mind that Jesus was in her creative space without asking.
Seated at her desk, she stared at the ruined poem, ink seeped through the pages. “Will you save my poems?”
You haven’t described God yet.
“He’s perfect, powerful. All that a God should be.”
Are you perfect?
Kathleen laughed, her throat dryer. “You know I’m not.”
But I am. The wages of sin is death, Kathleen. Father is love, but He’s also pure in righteousness and cannot abide even the smallest sin. So he sent me, his only son, to become human and take the death penalty for all your sins and the sins of the whole world. You are right with God because of me. That is why I am the way, the truth, and the life. But I’m more than the truth. I am a Person and I love you more than my own life.
Kathleen knew that Jesus had gone because of the silence that bordered on pain. She looked down, the sheets of paper white as ever, every poem intact.
He’d saved her poems. Tears came to Kathleen’s eyes, and she let them fall to smear the ink of her poems. He could save her, too, if she let him, accepted him, believed in him.
How could she not?
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