Too Much

Too much, too much

I can’t do it all

But it is my crutch

It’s who I am, isn’t it?

 

Mary the contrary

No, Martha, Martha

The difference is there

The difference is me

 

Too much, too much

I can’t do it all

But if I don’t try

Who am I, really?

 

Martha, Martha

It’s not my name

But it’s who I am

It is who I will be

 

Too much, too much

I can’t do it all

But if I don’t try

Then who will, who will?

 

Munificent Martha?

Merciful Martha?

You gave me this heart

So stop blaming me

 

Too much, too much

I can’t do it all

What I want is easy

It looks like You, doesn’t it?

 

This is Your fault

If You had only just

Made me different

Made them different

 

Too much, too much

I can’t do it all

But I am trying, trying

Is my worship worthless?

 

This is Your fault

You created the man

That created the mess

I am just trying to fix it

 

Too much, too much

I can’t do it all

And I refuse to see

How I am killing myself

 

This is Your fault

If You had only just

Guided me better

Or told me sooner

 

 

 

 

 

 

But it was my fault

 

 

 

 

 

 

My life, now my death

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had killed myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I knew it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too much, too much

But still here You come

You beckon to Mary

And allow me to see

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The View: An Allegory

You stared at the flower shop, adjusting the straps of the backpack on your shoulders. You hated flower shops— always had— after all, they were for sissy, sentimental people, weren’t they? Hopeless romantics? Ironic that your search for the View had led you here, wasn’t it?

But you weren’t about to be deterred by a little flower shop, for if what your sources had told you was true, this flower shop was where the Guide was.

Taking a deep breath, you walked into the shop. The delicate smell of spring wafted to your nose, and colors surrounded you on all sides. You stared unabashedly, taking it all in.

“Hello! How may I help you?”

You whirled around, your sneakers squeaking on the recently polished floor. A man sat behind the counter, arranging a few lilies in a small bouquet.

“Yes, um…” You walked toward him. “I… I am looking for the Guide.”

The man met your gaze. His brilliant eyes startled you, and you looked away.

“Do you know where I can find Him?” you asked, staring at the white roses to your right.

The man chuckled.

“You already have! How can I help you?”

Your curiosity overcame your timidity in an instant, and you looked at him again. You analyzed him quickly, noticing a walking stick leaning on the wall not far behind him.

“You are—?”

“Yes, I am the Guide.”

“You…”

“Are not what you expected?” he chuckled again and stood. “I get that a lot. People don’t usually recognize me when they see me, or expect to find me in a place like this.”

He walked out from behind the counter.

“Care to have a seat?” he gestured toward a row of stools in front of the counter as he sat on one himself. “You look weary.”

“I… I have been looking for you for awhile,” you said as you took the seat a couple stools away from him. “I was hoping…”

“You seek the View?”

You looked him in the eyes.

“How did you know?”

“It’s not an easy journey,” he went on. You could tell that he was studying you now.

“I know.”

You swung your backpack off your shoulders, unzipping it and pulling out a couple books inside.

“I’ve been reading about it for awhile now,” you flipped open your favorite book to a page with a picture of a map on it. “And I’ve heard the stories from people whose family or friends went with you— and I— I— well,” you glanced at him again, “I’ve been living in valleys and plains all my life. And I’ve walked up a couple hills— but it’s not enough. I want to go to the mountain top.”

The man stroked his chin, looking at the bouqet he had been working on.

“I need the View in my life,” you went on, hoping to sound persuasive. “It’s what I need to… make it better.”

The Guide was silent.

“But from what people have told me… the only way to get to the top is to be shown there. They say you need a Guide.”

He finally looked at you.

“What else do they say?” he asked, tilting his head to the side.

You hesitated, searching your memory.

“I’ve heard some say that you don’t need a guide. I’ve heard some suggest different guides, but…”

“But?” he prompted.

“I’ve done my research,” you said with a firm nod. “And all the people who have actually seen the View say that there is only one Guide. They say you are the only way to the top. Is that true?”

He smiled.

“I can take you there,” he said, standing.

“Really?” you exclaimed, adrenalaine coursing through you.

“Yes. But there are a couple of things I need to make sure you understand,” he said as he grabbed his walking stick off of the wall.

“Oh, I already know all about it,” you said, reassuringly. “I’ve read all the books available about the hike. I—“

“That’s the first thing,” he interrupted. “I am glad you did your research and that it led you to me, but now, you need to trust me and my map. All journeys are different, and the only way I can lead you to the top is if you let me, which means forgetting what you think you know and trusting me.”

“I have a copy of your map,” you replied, hesitantly, reaching into your backpack.

“Great! Can I see?”

You pulled it out of your backpack and laid it out across the counter.

“Yes! Good,” he nodded as he looked it over.

“My only problem is that I don’t know which paths to take. It gets confusing in some places…” you said, pointing to an area you had always struggled to interpret.

“That’s why you need me,” the Guide said with a nod.

“Okay,” you replied, feeling relieved now that the pressure was off you. “What was the second thing you needed to tell me?”

“The second thing is that once you see the View, you can’t go back to the valley. You will have to live at the top. Are you prepared to do this?”

You nodded, eagerly.

“Yes. Yes.”

The Guide smiled.

“Great! Are you ready to leave?”

“Absolutely!”

“Then let’s go!”

~

  You stared up at the tall mountain before you, feeling slightly intimidated, but also excited. You had been waiting for this moment for so long. You were about to start the journey to the View. You imagined all the adventures and glimpses of the View you would get on the way up.

“All right. Where do you want to start?”

You looked at him, frowning.

“You’re the Guide. Don’t you decide where to go?”

“I will lead you up, but you can decide which path you want to take.”

“Which is the shortest one?”

He chuckled.

“Sorry, they’re all about the same in that respect.”

“Why does it matter then?”

“Well,” he replied, looking up at the mountain thoughtfully, “They all have their own aspects and challenges. Some have winding paths, others are steep, some go through forests, others go through desert-like areas…”

While he was talking, you pulled the map out of your backpack.

“What about this one?” you asked, pointing to one that you had always liked.

“Oh, that one. It goes through forests, it’s a little steeper…”

“How dangerous is it?”

“They all have their own dangers, so it’s hard to say. But it doesn’t matter. You have me. I will protect you.”

You looked up at him.

“Okay. Let’s do this one then,” you decided, rolling up the map again.

“Sweet. Let’s do it!”

He led you to where the trail began, and you began to hike together. The day was perfect. The sun was shining, but it wasn’t too hot. Birds chirped in the trees, you saw squirrels and other wildlife, and beautiful plants lined the path. That night the Guide pitched a tent for you and built a fire. When you asked where he would sleep, he said that he would spend the night making rounds to make sure you were safe. Embarrassed but relieved, you spent an enjoyable evening together, and he showed you the constellations before you went to bed. He knew every one.

The second day was much like the first. The path wasn’t too steep, the weather was perfect, and the company was great. You liked the Guide, and you were feeling more and more comfortable with him as the hours wore on.

As the week went by, the climb began to get steeper, the path became thinner, and the forest became thicker, with shadows covering you for most of the walk. You enjoyed the challenge and the change at first, but after awhile, it became frustrating.

“Why didn’t you tell me it was going to get this steep?” you snapped at the Guide one morning. “Wasn’t there an easier path you could’ve taken me on?”

“I told you that each path would have it’s challenges,” the Guide said, looking back at you.

You mumbled a few more complaints under your breath when the Guide got far enough ahead. He was always ahead of you, and you could never seem to keep up.

What if one day he leaves you behind?

“I can’t see the View,” you grumbled, looking around at all the trees. “Is there even going to be a view? Or are there going to be trees the whole time? This is stupid…”

The Guide glanced back at you, but didn’t say anything. You knew what he was thinking though. That the journey would be worth the final View, that you should be patient and just enjoy the hike…

Whatever. That doesn’t make this any less hard.

treesyay

A couple hours later, you made camp for the night. The Guide made a fire, smiling up at you every once in awhile. But you didn’t feel like smiling back tonight.

“Tonight we should be able to see a few constellations more clearly,” the Guide said joyfully, looking up at the sky.

“If it’s all right with you, I would like to get to sleep early,” you said, staring at the fire.

“Oh, okay. You get your rest,” the Guide responded. “We have another long day tomorrow!”

“Yes, I know,” you mumbled as you crawled into your tent.

~~

You startled awake. It was pitch black, and there was dead silence. Listening carefully, you sat up.

It came again. A sharp cracking noise, followed by another— it came from right outside your tent. You strained your ears and your eyes, hoping and praying it was just the Guide.

A low growl pierced the silence, and shivers flowed down your spine. You sat completely still, contemplating what to do. It sounded like a medium-sized animal, probably a wolf.

In the not-too-far distance, you heard a howl.

Definitely wolves.

The walking stick that the Guide had crafted for you was sitting right outside your tent. If you could only get to it…

Another growl sounded on your right, and from the left you heard a wolf sniffing your tent.

Where is the Guide? Doesn’t he hear them?

Your heart raced, but you forced yourself to take deep breaths.

The stick. I need the stick.

Silently slipping out from under your blankets, you moved toward the front of the tent, forcing your movements to be slow and deliberate.

When you reached the tent, which was zipped shut, you scowled fiercely and took a deep breath.

Ready. Set. Go!

You unzipped the tent as fast as you could and grabbed your walking stick that lay in front of it. Jumping out into the darkness, you whirled around to face the monsters. The two beasts snarled and crept toward you, looking ready to pounce. You held your stick out in front of you, glancing quickly between the two. Another howl sounded from behind you. Closer this time.

You swallowed hard and backed away from them, looking for the path in the blackness. If you could find it, you could run.

But the wolves were coming closer.

Where is the Guide?!

“Stay back!” you shouted, swinging the stick. One snapped at you, and you pointed the stick at it, just as the other pounced. You shouted and swung your stick, hitting it in the snout. It whined briefly, but was quickly baring it’s teeth at you once more.

The other wolf jumped toward you. You retreated a few steps, and they both simultaneously attacked.

You hit one on the head, but cried out as the other slammed into you, clamping it’s sharp teeth onto your left arm. You fell over, dropping your walking stick. Screaming, you kicked at the wolf, using your other hand to try and unfasten it from your arm. Your mind was fuzzy from pain. The darkness was closing in, and the other wolf approached you from the other side.

“Guide!! Guide, help me!” you shouted. The pain overwhelmed your senses as the wolf dug it’s claws into your stomach, and you cried out in agony.

“Help me…” you groaned, desperately, as the other wolf got closer.

And then suddenly, there was light.

A roar echoed through the trees.

“Get back!”

The second wolf shrank back, seeming to wince at the light. The wolf on top of you momentarily released your arm to look over at the light, just in time to be shoved off of you by a mighty blow. The wolf whimpered and the two escaped into the darkness, howling.

You let your head drop to the ground, and for a minute, you just stared up at the sky, taking shaky breaths.

“Are you all right?”

The shifted your gaze as the Guide came and knelt beside you, concern evident on his face.

“I… my… my arm…” You dared not move. You could feel the blood pouring down it and seeping through your shirt.

“It’s okay. You’re going to be okay,” the Guide said, firmly. “Just lie here for a moment. I will be right back.”

“Don’t leave,” you said, reaching out and grabbing his wrist with your good hand.

“I won’t. I promise.”

He stood and went over to his backpack that was lying next to the raging bonfire. He brought it over to you, pulling out a first aid kit. He cleaned and wrapped your wounds, telling you over and over that it was going to be okay. As he finished up, you studied his face.

“Where were you?”

He met your gaze.

“I was making my rounds.”

“Didn’t you hear the wolves? Why didn’t you come?”

“Why didn’t you call out to me sooner?” he countered, compassion in his eyes. You were silent.

“I am sorry this happened,” the Guide said, putting a hand on your shoulder. “Whenever you feel you are in danger, call out to me, and I will help you.”

You nodded slightly as you looked at the fire, your mind heavy with the events of the evening.

~~~

The next few days passed by slowly, the healing wounds on your arm remaining a painful reminder. But you were determined never to let it happen again— the name of the Guide always ready on your tongue. Twice you had called out to him in the night, even when there was nothing to fear but your own nightmares. But the Guide was the perfect Comforter, and he never made you feel embarrassed or ashamed.

“Hey, look!”

Panting, you looked up. The Guide pointed forward, and you followed his gaze until you saw the rickety old wooden bench.

“Cool,” you respond with a quick smile, wiping the sweat from your forehead.

“Yeah!” the Guide exclaimed, running up to it. You slowly followed behind him. By the time you made it to where he was, he had already sat down and was looking at the map. You plopped down next to him, breathing heavily as you pulled out your water bottle. The Guide hummed to himself as he studied the map.

“So…”

You put down your water bottle and looked at him. He stared at you intently, like he always did.

“I’m going to go scout out the path ahead, and I need you to wait here,” he tapped the bench, “Okay?”

“Why can’t I come with you?” you asked, frowning.

“You need a rest,” he said, grinning knowingly. “I want you to take a break, okay? So catch your breath, look at the map, eat a snack— I won’t be gone long.”

“Just wait here?” you clarified.

“Yes. Just wait here,” he responded with a nod.

“Okay, sounds good!” you exclaimed with a smile.

“Great! I’ll be right back!” the Guide said, standing. He waved as he walked further up the path. You watched him as he glided forward with powerful, long strides. You realized as he walked away that there was a fork in the road. He took the path to the right, that continued up. Your eyes wandered to the other path. It went straight, not upward, and the trees down it seemed to be more spaced out. You grunted, and opened the front pocket of your backpack, grabbing a granola bar. As you munched on it, your eyes kept wandering to the left path.

You shook your head, and then laid down on the bench, using your backpack as a pillow.

You didn’t know how long you were asleep, but you were rudely awakened as a bird twittered loudly above you. You groaned and looked up, just as the bird flew away. You followed it with your eyes, and watched as it flew down the left path. The golden light of the late afternoon sun lit up the path, illuminating the beautiful clovers and green trees. You looked over at the dry, shadowed path on the right, but there was no sign of the Guide.

“Where is he?” you mumble, standing and stretching. With a sigh, you look back over to the left path.

Well, if he’s going to be awhile longer, I may as well explore a little. Maybe I can find some berries or something to have with dinner.

You zipped up your backpack and sat it upright on the bench, and then turned toward the left path.

But he said to wait here.

You glanced at the bench, and then at the right path.

He didn’t say I couldn’t explore.

You headed down the left path, taking deep breaths and enjoying the crisp smell of the forest. Your steps were light, and your heart felt free and happy. You even smiled as you sauntered along, listening to the birds. The path reminded you of when you first began your journey, though something seemed off about it…

But you ignored those feelings, deciding to live in the moment and enjoy your surroundings.

You lost track of time, and the path became easier as it started to go downhill. You weren’t sure how far you had gone, and you were just thinking about maybe heading back, when you saw it. Your eyes widened as you noticed, through the trees, a small paradise. A field of bright green grass and clovers covered a small hill, and at the bottom of the hill was a lake. Pouring down a cliff face into the lake was a small, misty waterfall.

“Wow…” You didn’t hesitate. You turned off the path and walked toward it.

When you reached the lake, you pulled off your sneakers and socks and stuck your feet in. The cool water felt good on your tired feet, and you smiled, rolling up your jeans so you could wade further into the water.

You splashed and laughed, admiring the glorious nature all around you. The sun began to sink on the horizon, and you goggled at the way it’s piercing rays glinted on the blue water.

You waded back to shore, sitting in the green grass and laying down on your back. You stared up at the colorful sky, watching the clouds drift by.

I should probably head back.

But you were so comfortable. And why should you head back? The Guide probably hadn’t returned yet.

I’ll head back in a little bit. I can find my way back— and he won’t even know that I was gone.

You took a deep breath and shut your eyes for a minute.

And then next minute, you were startled awake by an all-too familiar noise.

A wolf howl.

Your heart raced as you realized it was already nighttime. The sky was filled with stars and the crescent moon glinted, but it wasn’t enough to see by. You jumped to your feet, searching for your shoes as your eyes adjusted to the darkness.

But then another howl pierced the darkness, this time much closer.

Adrenalaine coursed through you.

The Guide… I need the Guide.

But the Guide was probably back at the bench. Would he be looking for you?

Another howl sounded. Closer. So much closer.

You couldn’t find your shoes.

You wanted the Guide, but what good would calling do? He wouldn’t be able to hear you.

He told you to wait, and you wandered away. Now look—

A fierce growl sounded from across the lake.

You bolted.

You ran up the hill, toward where you thought the path was.

The wolves weren’t far behind.

You glanced back briefly and saw a back of at least half a dozen wolves chasing after you. You gave a short cry and ran faster.

You entered the forest, looking around for any sign of the path, but the trees blocked what little light there was. You couldn’t see, and you didn’t dare slow down. So you ran in the direction that you hoped would lead you back to the bench.

A few minutes passed, and you never found the path. You dashed between the trees, but they were getting closer together, as was the foliage beneath you. Your feet stung, and you began to stumble. You tried to keep your panic under control as you blindly continued forward.

Where is the bench? Wasn’t the bench this way?

But you were lost, and you knew it.

You knew you should call for the Guide, but what good would it do? You were lost, how would he be able to hear you?

Plus, this is your own fault. Your brought this on yourself.

The wolves were coming closer, and you were going slower. You tried to hurry your pace again, but then you tripped on a tree root. With a cry, you fell to the ground. You tried to rise, but your arms failed you and you fell back onto the damp ground, dirt smearing onto your arms and getting in the wounds on your left arm. Your breathing quickened, but you couldn’t find the strength to try again. Tears filled your eyes as you heard the wolves coming closer.

You were going to die.

You collapsed, burying your face in the ground, ashamed by the fact that you were getting what you deserved.

“Guide,” you whimpered, leaning your head down. “I am sorry, I’m so sorry. Please help me.”

The howls got closer.

“Guide, please.”

You could hear their panting as they approached.

“Guide! Please!” you screamed into the ground as fear overwhelmed you.

There was silence.

You waited, but there was no panting, no growls.

You opened your eyes, and you saw yellow light out of the corner of your eye.

And then a hand was on your back.

“Are you okay?”

Your heart leapt at the sound of the Guide.

You turned onto your side and sat up, wiping your eyes and accidentally getting dirt on your face.

“You’re— you’re here,” you murmur, staring at him stupidly.

“I said I would be,” he said, kneeling next to you. “Are you hurt?”

You stare at him in shock.

“Why didn’t you stay at the bench?” he asked quietly.

Tears filled your eyes and you looked away.

“Come on, let’s find the path,” the Guide said, standing and holding out his hand to you. You grasped it, and he pulled you to your feet. You took a step away from him, feeling ashamed, but he bridged the gap and wrapped you in a hug.

“I-I’m sorry.”

“For what?” he asked, even though he knew perfectly well.

“You… you told me to stay at the bench. But I didn’t. I lost my shoes… I almost died… and it was my own fault. I’m sorry. I should’ve trusted you, should’ve obeyed you.”

“You’re learning,” the Guide said, enthusiastically, stepping back but keeping his hands on your shoulders.

You sniffed and looked away from him.

“I forgive you. And don’t worry, your wounds will heal, if you will continue to trust me from now on.”

You looked at him as he raised his eyebrows. You smiled slightly.

“I will try, but…” you hesitate.

“You will feel tempted to wander again. But you don’t have to give into it. Follow my instructions— I promise I only want what’s best for you. I want you to reach the top. Is that still what you want?”

You nodded firmly.

“Good. Now,” he clapped his hands together and picked up his walking stick. “Let’s go find your shoes!”

~~~~

The journey lasted for many more days, but you were starting to find more and more joy in the journey. It was becoming easier, the more you listened to the Guide and followed his instructions. He had so much wisdom, and so many stories to tell. He had become your best friend, and everyday you woke up with a new vigor, excited to spend another day getting closer to the top.

And then one day, without warning, you made it.

“We’re here!” the Guide exclaimed, breaking the peaceful silence. You looked up from the path, and saw that just ahead there was a clearing. The path ended halfway into the clearing, and at the very edge of it there was a skillfully crafted bench. In front of the bench was a field full of colorful flowers, and…

“The View,” you whispered, coming to a halt.

“Come on!” the Guide laughed, stopping and waiting for you.

You jogged toward him, a smile growing on your face.

“We made it?!”

“We made it!”

The Guide began to run, and you ran after him.

The Guide tossed his backpack to the side as he slid onto the bench, laughing like a carefree child, but with the sound and appearance of a majestic King. You set your backpack next to the bench and sat down, keeping your eyes on the beautiful flowers in front of you.

“Look, friend,” the Guide encouraged. “Look…”

Taking a deep breath, you looked up.

mountain-top

It was amazing. It was breathtaking.

You stared for a minute.

This is what you had come all this way for.

But, now that you were here, you realized that the View you had been seeking wasn’t the view you were looking at.

You looked at the Guide.

He was already looking at you.

“You,” you whispered.

“Me?” he repeated, his eyes sparkling in the sunlight.

“You’re the View,” you whispered.

He just smiled, knowingly.

“Will you tell me more about you?” you asked, turning to face him head-on.

“Of course I will!” he exclaimed. “What would you like to know?”

“Why did you agree to lead me here? Even though I had a misconception of the View… and even though I was stubborn… Why?”

“It was the only way for you to discover the View,” he said. “And I wanted you to make it here safely— I care about you.”

“Me?” you echoed.

“Yes! You!’

“But… why? Even after I failed you…”

“Because you were still desiring the View— and I wanted you to see it. So? What do you think?”

Your vision was blurred with tears.

“I love you, my Guide. Thank you for bringing me here.”

He leaned over and hugged you, and your tears fell on his shoulder.

“I love you too.”

My Villain: Zanoah

“Write about what would make your villain smile.”

(Not my image.)
My villain’s name is Zanoah. He is a complicated halfling. His father was a shapeshifter and his mother was an elf, but he lived with his father growing up because his mother did dangerous work in the northern mountains and his father was called to serve in the capital. When Zanoah was a child, his father made him smile by telling him stories. His father was always very good at storytelling, it’s why the people listened to him.

After his father was martyred, Zanoah didn’t smile much. For twenty years, no matter how many he killed, his thirst for revenge was never satisfied. He ruled the world for a time, but even that didn’t make him happy.

When he was overrun by the rebellious strength of the people and banished from the land, Zanoah was thrust into a time of despair and loneliness.
You would think he would never smile again.
But he did, when his daughter Mara was born. And he did many times after that, because he knew his daughter would be the end of his misery. She was the key to obtaining his revenge, his satisfaction.
Mara made him smile.

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