A Bulwark Never Failing

She reminds me of a wounded animal, her eyes holding mine for dear life, seeking for her answers there.

I smile, but it escapes her.

“You are going to make it,” I whisper.

She lowers her face, no longer looking to catch hope by osmosis.

She only sees her belly filled with rivers of despair.

Her breathing speeds up, as though she is falling down and down and down, all the way to the bottom of hopelessness.

So I rub her thin hand with my thumb, back and forth, back and forth, hoping that skin against skin might taste like hope to her.


Softly, I begin to sing the words of an old hymn.

“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.”

She looks up.

“Our Helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.”

Her eyes seek mine, and glue themselves there, as though they were a pocket of safety.

“Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He.”

I see that she remembers.

“Lord Sabaoth His Name, from age to age the same, and He must win the battle.”

Her breathing settles.

“And though this world, with devils filled should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.”

Her hand squeezes my fingers.  I squeeze back.




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