For the misunderstood, the pioneer, the "spirit led," the leader:
Everybody thinks I'm fine. They think I'm great. I make them laugh. I swoon over life. I'm the one everyone wants to be around.
Everybody thinks I'm strong. They think "He's got it." I inspire them. I'm the one who never gives up. I'm the one who fights, and keeps fighting.
Everybody thinks I'm indestructible. They think so, and then wait for me to fail. I'm the one running off the cliff. I'm flying, with no wings.
And there I am; the one nobody sees, clinging to your flickering in the dark--hope of hope, dancing from shadow to shadow like a nocturnal butterfly. I am the one praying this all works out, trembling over my children while they sleep. I am the one praying my worry away on long walks up into the English hills.
I am the one, weak and wanting, waiting for a word from the Word--I cannot bear when the silence comes.
And it does.
And so, the impatient one, must wait and walk, walk and wait. For the unseen pulls me on, and into silence I walk, into silence I wait. I find, there in the silence, the unnerving presence of a giant, a spirit, the Phantom.
In my flesh I push on the Phantom, wrestling him to the ground, yelling, crying, accusing and demanding. I push on him. He does not give, but he takes it.
"Why do you not answer," I growl as we tumble down the countryside. "Do you not care?"
And then he pins me, and stares at me, and dives into me and, with new eyes, I see as through his eyes, I hear with his ears, and roll over in the hillside mud, embarrassed of my doubt, shamed for my impatience, abashed for my lack of listening.
Then, he comes out me, offers his hand, and pulls me out of the mud.
"Gather yourself, Tim. The world is coming. And you must be strong ... in me."
Timothy Willard loves to sit with his wife by the bonfire and make up stories about Tom the Backyard-Badger for his three lovely daughters. When he's not carving up the Appalachian Mountains on his Salsa El Mariachi, you can find him busy writing a book, collaborating on a book, or reading a book written by someone dead and gone. Timothy studied beauty in the works of C.S. Lewis under theologian Alister McGrath. The author of five books, including Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society (Zondervan), Timothy is currently finishing The Life-Changing Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019), preparing his doctoral thesis for publication, and trying to find a publisher for his first novel The Tempest and the Bloom. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.