The Deadly Handful

by MW Cook

There is shadow under this red rock
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

I don’t pretend to understand T.S. Eliot. His poem, The Wasteland, is mostly beyond me. But I think I’m starting to understand what he means in this little excerpt.

A handful of dust is all there is left at the end of most lives. At the end of the day, when your shadow no longer strides before you nor rises to meet you, there is nothing more than a handful of dust. Death. Futility. Nothing left.

But I hope to have more than a handful of dust on the day I’m forced to go under the shadow of the red rock. I will secure something of value. I’ll do it through creativity. I’ll do with through Jesus.

That handful of dust fills me with fear. But I don’t think it’ll be my handful of dust. It won’t be mine precisely because I fear it. My fear of it pushes me to achieve more.

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