An ache lives within me. It is like pulsating embers trying to catch fire. At times, my heart is searing with agony, but I am terrified to let the ache dissipate and fill my chest with nothing more than ash.
But how could I? Once you have felt fire, you cannot forsake its heat.
I try to feed the ache, rather than douse it, despite the pain. Yes, it does grow ruddy and bright when beautiful images illumine my mind and my fingers burn to write. It flares when I pause to behold the grass that grows green with the rain and withers with the drought. Or when I look into the denim-blue eyes of my child and see only adoration. When I am lying in my husband’s arms and listening to his heartbeat. And sparks rain toward Heaven when I behold all I own and remember that one day it will be dust, as will my body.
I ache to live like the immortal that I am.
Nothing will remain but love. I want only to breathe and write and snuggle and kiss and laugh for love. All to feed the ache, to build the fire that will one day rage and consume me. When I ignore the ache, when I dart through shadows and grasp after the cool, faltering light of fireflies, soon enough I feel the world shifting beneath my feet as if it is already dust. And then I weep, because though eternity stretches before me, I have lost time that can never be restored.
But if I am careful, if I do not wallow and risk drowning in my misery, these tears do not dampen but rather strengthen the ache.
Is this the very ache that enabled Joan of Arc to surrender herself to the flaming stake? Or the ache that inspired Francis to strip naked in Assisi? Or propelled Patrick to return to the island of his captivity and offer salvation to Druids?
If so, I tremble before the ache, knowing where it could take me even now, trapped within my mortality.