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Pass Through Me

Pastor, how do you handle the emotional weight of carrying people’s burdens?

Stories are bullets
Tearing through flesh, rending bone
It’s my job to catch them
And when hit, the kevlar takes the brunt

Yet when people shoot stories
And I emerge unscathed
The gap between us remains
A chasm of comfort divides

I take off the vest, I put it down
Bullets strike
Loneliness, anxiety, and depression
Stories of pain enter and stop

I carry the weight of the sadness
The slugs slacken my steps
Exhaustion overwhelms
I cannot contain this leaden load

LORD, let the stories pass through me
Let them penetrate my walls
Let my borders be porous
Let the stories enter and come out

Let me be wounded twice 
Hurt when I catch the story
Hurt when I let it go
Let me feel the exit wound

Stories begin with you
Stories end with you
In the middle, they may go through me
But you hold and tell them all

For you catch all the bullets 
Every slug stops in you
You carry the weight
Lightening the leaden load

LORD, let the stories exit me
Tales of darkness I cannot carry long
It’s your job to rescue people out of the pit
It’s my job to join them until you do

Stories exit with more than a trace
Bullets leave a hole
The wounds hint at a deeper wound
A deeper story still

Heal me with the scar tissue
That filled your nail-pierced hands and feet
Grant me the new flesh 
You received when you rose

As the nails passed through you
Let the stories pass through me
As each story pierced your heart
Let each suffering reflect your face


  1. I saw your earlier version of this and I really admire how you pared it down to the essence in this version. Reading the two versions side by side the earlier version now sounds meandering and imprecise. This one pierces to the heart of the matter. Great revision of a great poem!

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