Hence come thy checks | From an Old Soul

by Elouise

In this sonnet George MacDonald shows us his foot-dragging, and what it takes to get him moving. I’m not MacDonald, but I’ve been where he’s been. My comments follow, in my voice. Read on!

July 7

Hence come thy checks—because I still would run
My head into the sand, not flutter aloft
Toward thy home, with thy wind under me.
‘Tis because I am mean, thy ways so oft
Look mean to me; my rise is low begun;
But scarce thy will doth grasp me, ere I see,
For my arrest and rise, its stern necessity.

George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul
Augsburg Fortress Press 1994

In the following monologue, I’ve tried to capture MacDonald’s meaning in my voice, with a bit of poetic license here and there. I’ve capitalized all references to God as You.

  • You keep saying You’re interrupting me for my own good. I’ve heard that line a thousand times! Just leave me alone! So what if I keep flying headfirst into the sand? One of these times I’m going to take off! Just You wait and see!
  • You say I need help? I say You could be a bit more thoughtful about the way You help me! Your little interruptions are almost laughable! They’re small, common and ordinary. Almost embarrassing. They make a big mess and slow me down. You know, if I don’t get off the ground, it’s going to be all Your fault!
  • In fact, if You really think it’s important, why don’t You just swoop in and carry me off in a cloud of wind and fire?
  • Who do You think I am anyway? A 2-year old trying to fly all by myself? You do? But isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?
  • What?? Did You just say my ways of trying to fly are small, common and ordinary? They make a mockery of You?
  • You do know I’m doing this all for You, don’t You? So what if I keep falling down? At least I’m trying! What??? You think I really don’t want to fly? I like my nest? And that if I really wanted to fly I’d be thrilled to have Your help?
  • [2 seconds of silence] OK. Let’s make a deal. You try it Your way one time. I promise I’ll cooperate one time! Just tell me what to do. If it doesn’t work, back off. I know I’m slow, but I’m determined to get there no matter what.
  • You say I have to relax and let You do it? That doesn’t make any sense at all!
  • Unhand me! You can’t just grab me and go flying off up into the air! NO! Of course I don’t want You to drop me! I am one of Your children. Besides, the last thing You should do is drop me! Just think of the headlines! God Drops Helpless Child into the Sea!
  • No, I’m not trying to be a smart aleck. I just don’t know how to say Thank You. Much less I’m sorry. I can already see we’re up in the air and my baby wings are beginning to ‘catch the wind.’ You know, that’s a very strange phrase, since the trick is NOT to try to catch the wind!
  • What’s that? You’re the wind? Beneath my sails? I could have sworn someone else said that already. But no matter. I may be brash and a bit in Your face, but I can tell when I’m in good hands. Just let me know when You’re going to let me go solo! I don’t want any surprises.
  • You’re not going to let go? Ever? Is this the only way I can get from my little nest to Your home, wherever it is?
  • Oh. I never thought about it that way before.

With apologies and gratitude to George MacDonald.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 16 August 2015