Come, meet my uninvited guest:

though who he is I did not know,
this first-time visitor portrayed
with swift brush strokes the full array
of my repeated blundering.

I traced too long life’s high-hedged maze,
burst through its several hopeful gaps,
eagerly pledged to give myself
to one man as exclusive wife.

Each man at first considered me
his lifetime’s highly-valued prize,
companion through life’s puzzle paths.

Too soon the halo glow would dim
and cracks appear that widened till
divorce divided each from each
and I resumed my solo trudge
through labyrinthine passageways.

After five failed marriages
I could not bear to face again
the speeches, jokes and cabaret
of one more wedding banquet week –
yet feared to traverse on my own
the world’s frustrating twists and turns.

I met a guy still unattached;
this time I drifted casually
as man-and-woman ‘item’
into ‘meaningful relationship’.

What fools we mortals prove to be!
No male on earth can ever slake
the deep heart-thirst that constantly
cries out, unsatisfied, for love.

The side effects are hard to bear:
women viewed me as a threat
during my frequent ‘single’mode
in case their man would fancy me –
be magnetized, then mesmerized –
but now they say I live in sin,
so they avoid me just the same.
I’d slip unnoticed to the well
outside the town in noontide heat
when all my neighbours fastened tight
their shutters for siesta hour.

How I have longed for one by whom
I could be known and understood,
who could explain me to myself,
someone who believes in me.

I met him at the well just now.

I tried to throw him off his stride,
side-step his Jewish chat-up lines,
but I had really met my match!

As favour, he requested me
to haul for him a quenching drink
of water from the living spring
that flows unstaunched since Jacob’s day.

Just as I let my bucket sink
he offered me a draught of life.
As I remarked, ‘This well is deep’,
I saw my heart was mirrored there.
Aye, that’s the truth, this well is deep,
And bunged up with debris from all
my wrong decisions, attitudes,
traditions, prejudices, too,
many a self-excusing dodge,
hopes raised high and dashed again.

In next to no time he’d dislodged
the log-jam of the wasted years.
I felt the answer bubble up
like an artesian water spout’s
sheer joie de vivre, abundant life.

I’ve ceased to be religious now,
no mere reciting psalms by rote.
I can’t contain this living spring,
I have to praise Almighty God
and tell him of this man I love
who satisfies the heart of God
and gives a purpose to my life.

In yielding up to his control
I’ve reached the centre of the maze.
Though life may be a puzzle still
he tells me, ‘Now I am the way’;
at each perplexing junction he
will indicate which route to take
and lead me purposefully through.

‘Meaningful relationship’:
that hollow-sounding modernism
for toning down ‘living in sin’
now best describes the way I feel
about my joining up with him
and all who yield to his control,
of whatsoever ethnic group,
love-bonded both to him and them
in meaningful relationship.

Come, meet him for yourself today.
Freely interact with him.
Make up your mind. Could he just be
the saviour of the world? – and me?
– even your man of destiny?

Hugh Thompson (20 June 1999)

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