Digging up Bones: A Metaphor

Dear Alpha,

You asked me to recount my story. How does one do what I do? Well… the first thing I’d like to say is that I don’t do most of it: My Dad does. Nevertheless, to try and be helpful, I will tell you what I do do, and maybe you can fill in the gaps:

Why am I even here? This desert… In fact, it’s not even a desert, it’s worse than a desert. The ground I’m on is cold and hard. Solid Rock: Pretty much useless. Maybe I’m wasting my time… I could be at home reading my books, or helping Dad. But instead – I’m out here, in this wasteland.

I shout. Maybe someone can hear me, or some-thing. Anything will do… Except rock. Rock just ignores me, and carries on being rock. Anything better than rock would do the trick. Of course, I might hope for a full-blown skeleton just sitting somewhere, but where’s the fun in that? No. Realistically: I’m looking for sand: Movable, soft sand.

Suddenly, I stop. Something’s up. I keep very still, hoping against hope that it is what I think it is. I topple over. The floor had given way. Ah! That was the happiest I’ve ever been whilst tumbling to the ground! This ground is different!

I get up slowly, then I kneel down to take a look. Not cold but warm. Not hard, but changing. I grab some, and feel it tickle through my fingers back onto the ground: Sand. No, not as fine as the sand in a time glass, but sand nevertheless: Finally Something I can work with!

Hoping against hope that the sand won’t go hard, I quickly take of my rucksack and start getting my act together. Out come the tools: The brush, the shovel and the fork. Not as shiny as they could be, but they should do. They must do.

Carefully, I begin to dust away the top layer of sand. After all, It’s not the sand that matters, but whatever I find underneath. There should be something, at least that’s what Thomas said…

Aha! I found it… A Bone? Knock on it. Yes, it’s hard. The sound it makes is beautiful. I knock on it a few more times for good measure. It’s not shifty and changing like the sand, but concrete. Unlike the sand, retains its consistency. Brilliant!

I slowly work my way along, finding bone after bone, watching them “take shape” before me. Of course, they had never really moved. They were always there, just like Thomas said, but had simply been covered by years of the irritating influences of everything else.

It’s starting to get dark now… I have to get home soon. I won’t be able to finish this in time. If I try working overnight, I might accidentally break something. After all, I’m tired and I think this spot might do with a rest as well.

So, I cover the bones up as best I can, put my tools away, and start off home, hoping against hope that nothing will happen to the bones while I’m gone!

I’m returning to the sand now, well rested, happily remembering yesterday’s joy upon finding bone after bone in the sand, hoping the work hasn’t gone to waste. Oh! It must have been windy last night. My cover has blown away, but there are a lot more bones visible now. Very good…

Suddenly I hear a soul-wrenching crunch. I stepped on a bone. It wasn’t supposed to be there. It must have come off during the night, however that happened. Well, it’s pretty useless now. I look to where in the skeleton it came from. There’s the empty spot. I quickly fill it in with some glue, hoping to finish the job off later.

I return, day after day. Some days it’s easy, others not so much. I know I won’t be able to finish the job, but I just want it to be mobile… So I can take it home. Eventually, after many a day digging and dusting, I manage to separate the skeleton from the ground. It’s still got big clumps of sand stuck on most of it, but they can wait. They’re holding the bones together after all!

Step by step, I roll it home. It wavers a little here and there, but I manage to keep a reasonably straight path. It’s mobile now, that’s the important thing. In a few minutes we’ll be home, and the proper work can begin.

In fact, this is where my job really stops. Once it’s home, Dad takes care of the rest. I‘m just a finder. I don’t make things, I just bring them home. And when Dad’s done with the heavy lifting, a new person stands before me. And he’s not just any old person, but a brother… a brother and a friend.

He’s not like some artifact dug up from the ground, but a person who’s been discovered. Even as a jumble of bones, he had kept the sand from going solid, letting me dig him up, even with my rough tools. He could have chosen otherwise, but he didn’t. He wanted to be free…

As you can see, I’m just one piece in the puzzle. First the bones need to be dig-able, and later my Dad does most of the work. I’m just the middle piece. But nevertheless, I sharpen my tools at night, and by day I return to the fray, hoping and looking for more…

God Bless,
An Apologist


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