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Combat by Joe

Groggily, I come to consciousness. Sensation begins around my eye. Life's little ironies genuinely are funny at time. For the longest time, my left eye was the stronger of the two. Now, however, it is the area around my left eye where I have so much trouble. I look at the clock and see that the time is now 5:30 a.m. The third time I have awaken like this since I went to bed.

I lay in bed, engaged in a battle between my desire to sleep and my better judgment. Judgment tells me that if I do not get up now, things will get far, far worse. Desire, on the other hand, reminds judgment that there have been times where things didn't get worse, that I was able to just go back to sleep with no problem whatsoever. Judgment wins the argument by simply asking how long it has been since this has been the case. Desire yields, and I get out of bed ... it has been nearly 10 – utterly valuable – minutes ... the fear of “will I make it in time” flashes across my mind.

I stumble to my feet, making my way across the room. I must be careful not to trip or step on anything. My room is a disaster because of the disarray that now seems to run rampant in my life. I must cross what seems like a minefield. I maneuver around the books and shoes, adding to the minefield by strategically hurling the items on my chair to the floor. As my body collapses to the chair, I try with all my might to lift my numb arms to activate what I have come to call “the breath of God.”

I reach out, grasping with all my might, the conduit with which I will receive so sweet a breath. A twinge, appearing suddenly and with such great intensity, nearly knocks me to the ground. All I am able to do is let out a small whimper. It takes a moment, but the twinge passes and I sit upright once again. I am always surprised at how quickly I come to my full senses when the twinge hits. With great haste, I take firm hold and open the conduit gate, allowing the breath of God to fill my nostrils and lungs. Deeply I breathe in the heavenly air. Air so pure that I find myself quickly filled with a new strength, a strenght I know I will need for the battle to come. And come it does.

The beast manifests himself and the battle ensues. He begins his onslaught by climbing upon my back, allowing his full weight to fall upon me. I struggle to stretch and twist to get him off, but alas, it is to no avail. Taking a firm hold to me, the beast places his hands upon my head, pressing his fingers into my skull. I fight, swat, and push back, but he is more powerful that I. Harder and harder the beast presses upon me, trying to pierce my cranium, and rip it apart. Breathing deeply of the breath of life, I allow it to hold my head together, and prevent the beast from tearing my head asunder. This is a battle I have fought many a time, and have long learned that the only way to succeed is to sacrifice and let someone or something else fight this battle for me. I am too weak to take on the beast alone.

Growing frustrated with the failure of his previous tactic, the beast succeeds in what can only be referred to as a “sneak attack.” Without my knowing, the beast had taken his tail, and with a swift motion, pierced the back of my head, and was now using it to liberate my left eye from my face. My hand, beyond my control, jolts forward to prevent the beast's blow. With all my might, I try to hold my eye in place, but the beast doesn't submit. As the pain grows worse, every other thought in my mind vanishes, save one - “Who shall come to my aid?”

In a desperate attempt to shake the beast from me, I arise, and try to throw the beast to the ground. I strike at him, only to hit myself for the beast had moved at the last moment. His agility is remarkable considering his size and power. After some time of vain struggle, the weight and power of the beast forces me to my knees. Doubled over in pain, I arrive at a very brief and unexpected moment of clarity. I plead to God to aid me in this battle. While Crying out to the Lord and blessed St. Michael with all my heart, a fascinating moment begins.

The beast, frozen with fear, creates an opening. I muster up whatever strength I can, make my way to my feet, and place myself back into my chair, breathing as deeply of the breath of God as my lungs will allow. It seems as though the wind begins to blow stronger and stronger. I then feel the beast beginning to lose his foothold. His tail is thrown from my head, and the pain instantly subsides. He attempts to take a few more blows, but his strength and power have been drained of him in the presence of the Almighty and His general. Once the beast is at his weakest, I feel a gust from Michael's wings as he swoops down and thrusts the beast back to the Hell from whence he came. The battle is won. The beast has been defeated once again.

I take a few moments, just being in the presence of God and Michael, giving thanks for their aid. I feel the warmth of the Lord, and the embrace of Michael, for they both know what I have been through. I am affirmed in my persistence in faith. The Lord, Michael, and I just take a moment, and sit together. We say nothing, for nothing else need be said. Finally, the Lord tells me it is time for me to return to my bed. I ask Him if he would remember me should the beast return, fearing deep down that the beast will return (he has returned more times than I can count). The Lord says consoles me, tells me to not be afraid, remain faithful, and all things will be granted unto me. Michael gives me one last embrace, an embrace that lets me know that he too will come should I need him. I sit for one more moment, gently close the conduit gate, and I return to my bed.

As I crawl under the covers, a new warmth surrounds me. I know I will sleep in peace ... until next time.

© 2008-2013

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