Where are those I left for Michael’s sake?
And where is Michael?
Where is the path I left for love of Nathan?
And where is Nathan?
Where is the honor I abandoned in trust of Mark?
And where is Mark?

 חֶרְדַּת אָדָם, יִתֵּן מוֹקֵשׁ;    וּבוֹטֵחַ בַּיהוָה יְשֻׂגָּב.

Present in the negative: three men I have loved. Some days the echoes in the places you filled are deafening; the one for whom I turned, the one for whom I learned, and the one I followed.

The world says that we forget those who leave us behind.

I have never been terribly good at the world’s ways of doing things.

I cannot control who loves me, only whether or not I love, and I am commanded to love unconditionally, not merely when it is easy, reciprocated, or painless.

So for love of Michael I stand beyond the turning points in my life, and abide there in no small part in loyalty to the love that moved me to step beyond them.

For love of Nathan I continue to walk the path that I learned to follow when he walked by my side. That felt like dying, often. So, what is a little sorrow compared to that?

For love of Mark I embraced a decision to follow God’s Word even to a point that shocked the church. Though Mark stands forsworn the Word he advocated abides.

Everyone who knows and appreciates me owes them a debt of gratitude for what the Lord accomplished through them. I will not betray their memory by abandoning what I learned.

I also learned that ultimately we must trust in the Lord alone, for even the best of men fumble and fall. These cymbrogi are no longer here, and the persistence of their legacy means that they will always be wanted.

Jesus set us an excellent example of the balance, to always love, and to suborn that love to heavenly faith and fealty:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”- Jesus Christ, Matthew 23:37 ESV

There is no shame in longing for those who reject you. It is a thing of God himself, who is perfect. But let us never make idols of those we love and long for. Only God abides, and he is strong enough to lead you down the difficult path to love, long, and abide without.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. -St. Paul of Tarsus. Romans 8:18 ESV

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. -St. Paul of Tarus Philippians 3 ESV
*Note: the things he forgets behind are the acts of his own righteousness listed in the beginning of the chapter, not people whom he is commanded to love as God loved him.

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