Sophia Mason Visions---1:6-17
6 Come, let us reason together. Our faith was function— safety, care, and comfort. It went unnoticed day-to-day, but was appreciated in the event of a fire.
7 Our faith was stored lovingly in cabinets for cuts and bruises, no fault assigned, just waiting patiently. It was tucked under desks, shifted slightly on shelves when seeking out a spelling. And we saw that our faith was good, and it was good.
8 But now I answer unto you, my siblings, that my fervor grew too strong. In seeking the most good, I chanced to lose most of what was good.
9 I loved the microphone squawk and voices in carpeted chapels. I bottled them. I longed for equity in rituals. I fought for access to them. I reveled in gold-flaked pages trimmed in delicate lace and inky rick-rack. And I stole these layered traditions. I left our homeland, hid our commonplace faith, and sought instead to erect an eternal reliquary to it. But years into the forging, in faith’s place I beheld the phantom of a corpse.
10 Now my teacher understood the parable and warned me of my danger.
11 But my monument, the reliquary box, was sturdy at all four corners, with a keystone stitched into each arch already. The four clear walls were cradled in braided metal and I loved the roof I’d sculpted.
12 I listened, but I heeded not my teacher’s warnings.
13 As I weaved threads around tiny settings and reveled in my handiwork, my eyes fell upon the puckered satin cushion. And this is when I saw the corpse. A withered, leathery, skin-bundle that stopped light forcefully on its surfaces. It had a heavy head which burdened its tiny body, stunted before it even fought for nourishment.
14 It lay still, paused in its stinking decay by the rubber seal on air that I lay around it in its castle-capsule. Breath-free. Change-resistant. Pickled. Dried.
15 And lo, I heard a voice chasten me, “Choose! Choose ye this day whom your faith shall serve— you have seen now where one path leads.”
16 Before the final pane was set I tore the window with a forceful grip and let the inside breathe. As the vision cleared from my eyes I was beset by weeping. Weeping that marked each day of the passing seasons. And I stared into a bottomless fear like I had never known before.
17 My monument had corralled my faith like a flock. But without the walls around it, I was forced to define it, and chanced to define it wrong, again. The structure sags now in the southeast corner, but it gleams more now for its bent surface. I keep it. It no longer makes me weep, as long as I remember that with its lack of panes comes also a lack of what deity revealed to me.