It’s Not Me

In every block of marble I see a statue
as plain as though it stood before me,
shaped and perfect in attitude and action.
I have only to hew away the rough walls
that imprison the lovely apparition
to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.
~Michelangelo

Awakening Slave

I’m imprisoned in my own block of marble
in much that is not me,
in thoughts and vices, desires and habits
foreign
to the saint God is making
of me.

It can be hard to tell the difference.
I’m attached to what is not me.
It feels like me.
The process of chiseling away what doesn’t belong
is painful
and slow.

I’m tempted to say,
“Oh, that’s just the way I am.”
But that would be to leave myself imprisoned,
forever unfulfilled.

God sees me.
He sees the lovely apparition
imprisoned
in unloveliness.
He is hewing away
the rough walls
to reveal to others
what He sees.

But unlike Michelangelo’s statue,
I participate in the process.

I can resist
or cooperate.

As reactions rise unbidden within me,
thoughts,
desires,
aversions,
protests,
I’m learning to ask,
“Is that me?”

Is that thought, desire, aversion, protest
worthy
of St. Me?
Is that the glorious masterpiece
God is creating me to be?

Or is it just so familiar
that it feels like me?

Would God say,
“Oh, that’s you!”
Or would He quizzically remark,
“That’s not like you!”

I’m learning to let the chisel fall
when it’s not me.

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