My dad came to drop something off at work yesterday. Since I was about to take lunch, I asked him if he wanted to go eat with me. It struck me that inviting my dad out for lunch is a lot like prayer: He was totally excited to spend time with me; there was absolutely no question that he was paying the bill; all I had to do was ask, be blessed, and enjoy hanging out with my dad. A good time was had by all.
Just a thought, and now goodnight.
His methods were ruthless and unrelenting. Residents of The Weld watched helplessly as their friends, lovers, neighbors, and families were slaughtered by the thousands. The assault began without warning, and continued without explanation. They could do nothing except cling to each other, cry out hasty goodbyes, and await their own, miserable deaths. It looked as though they were to be completely wiped out, as though some angry god had taken exception to their very existence.
At last, a hero stood up and said, “No more!” Nobody knew his name. There wasn’t anything distinctive about him, nothing to indicate that he could conquer where others had perished. But he decided that he would not stand passively by. He would fight.
In an instant, it was over. As soon he stepped forward, he was caught within the hideous, mechanical grasp of the enemy. He was just as powerless as everyone else. But he still refused to surrender. With the last of his strength, in the final moment of his life, he launched himself at his opponent. Casting all illusions of safety aside, heedless of his own defeat, he attacked. The Weld watched and held its breath as he flew directly into the face of their destroyer. Thousands more died in the desperate instant before he struck. It would be worth it, if only he could stop the attack.
They gasped. Their last hope burst upon impact and fell away. He joined the masses of the dead already piled up on the side. Their enemy continued on, seemingly unaware of the efforts of their hero. The Weld despaired, hung their hands and gave up. The one-sided battle raged on, and on, and on. Suddenly, just before they were utterly annihilated, it was over. The horrific, screeching noise finally ceased. The survivors, an exhausted, pathetic remnant, looked up at the vicious man who had effortlessly murdered so many of them. Why had he spared them? Why should they be the ones left after he had taken all the others? He looked back at them, callously examining his work.
For an awful moment, they thought he would start anew. But he set aside his terrible instrument, turned, and began to leave. Just before he passed from their sight, they saw him reach up and rub his chin in the exact spot where their hero had struck with a look of pained irritation in his eyes. And then they knew. Their hero had not died in vain. True, he had drawn no blood, inflicted no discernible injury. It had been meager, but at least he exacted a price for all their suffering. Perhaps their enemy would review his record of the attack. Perhaps he would recall that hero. And then he would have to think twice before assaulting them again. For then he would know, as they now knew, that The Weld was not helpless.
I’m not sure where this came from, but I woke up at 3:33 on the first day of the year with these words in my head. Such things don’t happen often. I rolled over and wrote a note on my phone, a cloud with an angry mind. It was enough to help me remember the rest of the story, short as it is.