The strange young man who comes to me/ A soldier on a three-day spree/ Who needs one night’s cheap ecstasy/ And a woman’s arms to hide him/

He greets me with a courtly bow/ And hides his pain by acting proud/ He drinks too much and laughs too loud/ How can I deny him?/

Let us dance beneath the moon/ I’ll sing to you “Claire de Lune”/ The morning always comes too soon/ But tonight the war is over.

David Olney

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These are the beautiful lyrics of David Olney in his ballad 1917.  In these words: truth, tenderness, passion, acceptance, mercy and the human’s condition.

A young man in trench warfare.  Millions, literally millions, dying in mechanized murder.  Humans with hearts and passions in a state of mortal chaos and confusion.  Yet, still human – and too young to have come to wisdom.

He is us in many ways.  She, too, is us in our better days: she sees what is before her, she reads him well, and cannot “deny him” shelter.

In our confusion and pain we seek the “arms to hide” us.  We are, you see, only human.

In a moment of honesty and candor we know – life is more about facing God than finding God.

What do I mean?

To face God is the quest, and to face God in life is even more so the repetitive task.  Face God as we are, as He knows who we are.  There is no hiding in this.  There is only naked reality – and God’s embrace.

Those who face God live as mystics do.  They live free of unnecessary and inadequate efforts to avoid, deny, explain or defend all that they are and all that they do.  Facing God one becomes lighter than air.  But face God we must.  There is no alternative, no slick “by-pass.”

Facing God is accepting life as it is and self as we are.  It is knowing we are imperfect but loved by The Perfect One.

Accepting life means no more floating on the surface, or living to select out only what we wish to acknowledge or our most flattering moments or memories.  No more days of denial, in our own dungeon of solitary confinement – hidden from the world as it is, and us as we are.

The dark of the heart awaits the Light – and It will come … and it will warm a warmth of mercy no different than a lover’s arms, but eternal.

Truth is: to face God is to choose life in its vast outside and its passions and sorrows of the deep inside.

… I have set before you life and death … choose life in order that you may live …

Duet 30:19, 20

“Every saint has a past and every sinner a future,” Oscar Wilde said that.  “Accept life, your imperfection and face the Perfect One who awaits patiently,”  I said that.


Thank you for sharing this with others.  Hearts change one heart at a time.