In grade school, you are are taught
that the world is composed of formulas.
You’re guaranteed to get the answer, they say,
if only you plug in the right values.
In adolescence, you are taught
that formulas ensure certain outcomes.
Kindness given = kindness received
Safety = prudence + precaution
Success = work + time
You’re guaranteed to get the results, they say,
if only you plug in the right actions.
What they don’t tell you is how equations
Are caged by hypotheticals.
I never knew the instability of an equal sign
Until the first time I failed a test was also
the time I studied the hardest.
Because life doesn’t add up when
He prefers her > you
Or when time ≠ healing
And when all you’ve done is < enough.
I’ve heard people say that life isn’t fair.
But what I think they mean
Is that life isn’t linear.
It goes up and down
Through and around
In equations only the Father knows.
Jesus, author of all,
Is unbound by formula.
With two fish and five loaves, five thousand were fed.
With water and jars, wine was made.
With one life given, many are saved.
Death = life
Light > darkness
First < last
Equations don’t translate to flesh and blood
To sinew and bone
To timelines and hearts.
Only presence, patience, and care can.
In adulthood, I am learning.
To engage with life
not by formulas
but with love.