“How long can you endure?”

At my darkest hour, I heard a voice coming from the flame.

That slippery slope of emotional turmoil where the burdening question of existence perpetuates that longing for some sense of relief.

I turned around and searched everywhere for the inquisitor.

Who had the audacity to challenge the facade of my integrity?

“How long can you endure?”

My pulsating heartbeat could be heard across dimensions.

“Who are you?”

My anger swirled and descended to the earth beneath me.

“You know who I am. I have followed you for lifetimes.

Never more than one step behind you.

You have thought me the bane of your existence.

But I have and will always be your greatest hope, your greatest salvation.”

I pulled back, bewildered by the voice.

“I still don’t know who you are. Why don’t you come out and show yourself!”

“I’ve never hidden from you. You just refuse to see me for who I am, who you are, and for what we can become together.

I’ve told you my name a thousand times over, but your heart could never hear me. Your mind would never listen. Your spirit would never receive.”

Exhausted, with what little strength I had left I shifted my gaze to the ethers.

“I don’t understand. You seem to think you know about me, as though we’ve met before. Please, can you just tell me your name?”

There was this pause. I swear I could hear the entire universe in one breath.

“Forgiveness. My name is forgiveness. And we have met before. In every lifetime, in every moment. I have walked by your side, carried you when you were too weak, strengthened you when you needed me most. You rarely like to admit it, but you do need me. The truth is, I need you too. My question remains the same. How long can you endure?”

I had no answer, I just lay frozen in my own conundrum.

“I’ll wait for you. I’m in no rush. Your story is my story. You actually can’t endure without me. But you can suffer more without me.

I hope you allow me the honor of mending your wounds. I couldn’t think of any other way I would want to spend the rest of my life. When you’re ready, all you have to do is look within. I’ll be here.”