“Planets of a Soul” was born out of a season of restlessness and fear. Like many Christians, I often feel torn between the weight of my own thoughts and desires and the weight of the Gospel; although the message of Jesus is beautiful and life-giving, it is not easy. Many of my conversations with God wrestle with how hard He is to follow, but every time I am still convicted of how much better it is to trust in the hardness of Jesus rather than imploding by myself.
As I contemplated this, an image of a chaotic, disintegrating universe came to mind and I was struck by how much each human soul is like a universe all its own. Scholars more learned than I could probably trace this idea from Plato to C.S. Lewis and beyond, and, while I’d love to pretend that this poem was a meticulously constructed synthesis of the ideas of such great minds, it is no such thing; I simply wrote what I saw and felt. Hopefully, there is some grain of truth in it.
What fills in the gaps of a
Fractured soul – a fractured universe?
They are one and the same.
The vacuum left by pieces of identity
Pulling apart either fills with stars
Or black holes.
But what happens when the planets collide,
When orbits degrade, when galaxies unravel
The spheres of a mind torn by fear
Are powerless to stop their own destruction.
The collision course has already been set.
Even the purest atmospheres,
The sweetest thoughts
Cannot stop hot, dark ideas from tearing
Through the space of the soul
Without gravity, without order, all is lost.
So does a heart implode on itself.
My universe is bleeding.
God, can You fix gravity before it is too late?
Can You change black holes into stars,
Turn planets back to their orbits?
* * *
If repentance is a turning, I don’t see
How a planet could stop itself from
Turning back again.
Maybe I’m turning around the wrong
Stars altogether. Maybe my
Solar system will die anyway,
Even if it’s perfectly ordered.
Order means nothing
Unless the Son gives light.
But I fear Your rays are
Too strong for me.
What am I to do?
I implode on my own, I explode with You.
I hate both options.
But I suppose I would rather
Burn quickly than suffocate slowly.
* * *
Then again, maybe a soul cannot be destroyed,
But only change form.
Planets cannot be protected,
But their remnants can turn to
Shooting stars, bathing new skies
With Light, power, and dreams.
So re-form me, Father,
Show me a better universe –
Give me new stars to sing about –
And give me the courage
To break and burn
in the Light of Your Son.