55. "My heart quakes within me; death terrors fall upon me." If you're me, and your dad died of a heart attack and your grandpa had two and your uncles have had some as well, you're thinking: Okay, don't smoke, exercise, try to remain calm. But still: "My heart quakes within me; death terrors fall upon me." In other words, "Fear and trembling come to me, horror hath overwhelmed me." But did it? I'm not so sure sometimes. I often remember my uncle coming to pick me up the day dad died. The moment I saw him, sitting in my quiet Madison apartment, I knew. He told me to sit down to hear the news but I stayed standing, and immediately started packing my bag for the journey I always knew I'd take. "For it was not an enemy that taunted me, then I could have borne it; neither was it an adversary that did magnify himself against me. Then I would have hid myself from him. But it was thou, a man mine equal, my companion and familiar friend, we took sweet counsel together, in the house of God we walked with the throng." Oh, I can still remember riding in my uncle's car, the Wisconsin country-side out my window, as we sped past, at 55 miles per hour, and I anticipated the arrival home to Milwaukee. Sisters, brother, mother/ex-wife. Watching. Listening. "As for me, I will call upon God and the Eternal will save me." This heart-attack was a bomb that went off and I retreated to this place of repose. Dad saw the heart-attacks coming but kept on smoking, eating what he wanted, neglected exercise. These are the small lies people tell themselves. "Men of blood and deceit shall not live out half their days; but as for me, I will trust in Thee." I don't smoke and I exercise--but surely there are deceits I practice--even small ones, no? And my days? How many will they be?
56. No fear. Trust. Who is man? What is flesh? "In the day that I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee." Or, "Have you seen this blue sky? These clouds drifting past? Who made this? How did it happen?" As darkness begins to descend, as days shorten, it's Clementine season. I love that about October and early November. Just as seasons shift and we prepare our souls for the dreaded, shortened days of Winter, this miraculous, orange sweetness arrives. "Thou hast counted my wanderings, put thou my tears into Thy bottle. Are they not in Thy book?" In God I trust, what can flesh do to me? Verse 5. In God I trust, what can man do to me? Verse 12. For Thou hast delivered my soul from death! Clementines are in season!
57. Despite tremendous physical danger, posed by those who lie in wait for me, I shall not be defeated. Translation: Bring it on.
"My soul is among lions, I do lie down among them that are aflame (flaming lions?!) Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword." And, "Awake my glory!" And, "I will awake the dawn!" The last line of Roth's Nemesis: "Running with the javelin aloft, stretching his throwing arm back behind his body, bringing the throwing arm through to release the javelin high over his shoulder--and releasing it then like an explosion--he seemed to us invincible."