Unfiltered Prayers

Bethesda Pool

This poem is loosely based off of John 5, about the man that waited desperately for healing at the Pool of Bethesda. I find this story in the gospel of John to be all too familiar. Though I am not a paralytic, I often feel paralyzed by pain’s toll, both on my heart and physical body. This serves as a psalm to recognize the pain in healing; I find that silver linings can be detrimental to becoming a faithful realist, so this is my effort to wrestle with rather than celebrate life’s painful moments.

An idea that I fight frequently with is wondering if I am being realistic with struggles by accepting them or if I have given up on the healing process due to hopelessness. I want to be transparent. I have a sick heart due to deferred hope. And that’s natural in an imperfect world to come to terms with; it doesn’t become easier, though. So as I reread the story of a paralytic, bereft of an ability to live well, looking to outside resources to seek betterment, I tear up and echo his silent outcry of an afflicted soul.


Is this acceptance or loss of hope?

I can’t tell the difference between similar tropes.

The harbingers that mark these two

are painstakingly similar, a struggle to construe.

Acceptance replies to struggle with consent

and understands the absence of healing’s advent.

Hopelessness mirrors acceptance, you see,

with concession to regression’s guarantee.

How can I know if I am resolved or depressed?

The outcomes of both still end in distress.

I understand reality

and healing’s fallibility.

I can’t tell a scar to just dissipate away;

it will always be a mark on my body’s display.

I won’t ever be without pain in this life,

so is the recognition of this marked by faith or by strife?

My resources are exhausted, pills and doctors are a teaser.

The Bethesda pool didn’t work for me either.

So in lying on my mat, I wonder what it means.

Is it a symbol for lazy stagnancy or weakness of my genes?

If I recline by the pool, dry with fatigue and strain,

have I been overcome by suffering or finally come to terms with my pain?

Do you know how exhausting hope can be

to have faith in something outside of control and reality?

And then those hopes are dashed with actuality…

It’s easier to accept this earth’s imperfection

rather than hope for better and receive brutal dejection.

The recognition that this world is a divine divorcee,

separated from perfection that dwells in dissarray

causes a sick heart to pine for joy and bliss,

but sees that hope is quite expensive.

Do I want to be well? No, not really.

But is that answer from a place of acceptance or despondency?

This is my lot, and I made an oath.

Have I finally accepted that pain can be growth?

Or have I given up trying, consumed with self-loathe?

Perhaps both.

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