By WILLIAM PRENTISS
My world is obsidian; it was formerly gray splintered by veiny shafts of ochre spasmodically penetrating the unseen with countenance warming spumes of hope, now curtained in blackness, muzzled by stygian lassitude. Rhythms of life disrupted, surface bobbing on an ocean of unreality, unsure where I am or where I am heading, do I even exist?
Sis has not been here. I don’t know where she is. I flounder in uncertainty; God help me! He is silent! Or is He? I can’t hear Him. Maybe I can no longer hear? Is my coma more serious? Where is Sis? Where is God? Where am I?
Listlessly grinding and being ground daily, I abhorred but understood. Without feeling, I felt. Without seeing, I saw. Could this fathomless state of preterition, a voiceless intermission, be purgatory—a concept I do not believe in? Is to be absent from the body for a Christian not to be present with the Lord? Where is He? Has He forsaken me? Have I forsaken Him?
What have I done? Where have you gone? Hear my plea! Why only questions? No answers!
My world, confined by the indefinable, has now become less comprehensible, yet more restrictive. I am confounded. Why does no one attend me? I can’t stand the silence, the not knowing, not understanding. Who am I? Talk to me! Somebody!
Frogs on the highway, in the kettle, steaming slowly, unaware, seeping sounds, non-volitional utterances, unable to hop: madness boiling, roiling, blood on the highway, Christmas green and red, crunches understood, not anticipated.
Why am I seeing frogs? I can’t see! A dream? God speak to me! I like frogs; Pharaoh hated them: pestilence. Am I dreaming? Am I real? Was I ever? Is there just me?
The frogs gone, I hear Sis talking, something about a fever, December the fourth, Tolstoy…
It is not said by chance that the essence of divine law is to love God and your neighbor. Neighbors come and go, but God exists always. Therefore, a man can fulfill this law when he is alone in a desert, or when he is in prison. He can love God and God’s manifestations even in his thoughts, memories, and imagination.
No voice, no movement, no feeling, in a desert, a prison, alone but for thoughts, memories and a disheveled imagination, I will find God; He has found me! Help me to understand…
MORNINGS WITH TOLSTOY consists of the inner reflections of a man in a coma, the victim of a senseless beating. He can only hear, and no one knows this, but maybe his sister. Sis reads three devotional pieces daily and the internal dialogue reflects his response to them.