By Andy Christian Castillo
From my back porch I watch the moon rise every night over Mount Sugarloaf. At first, it’s just a touch of blue in the midst of utter darkness, peaking over the black mountain. Below, orange streetlights shimmer off slick streets and diffuse into thick fog. Cars pass by sending mist up into the night.
Slowly, slowly, the moon creeps up over the mountain’s edge, casting pale light onto the peaceful valley, painting soft texture into shadows in the back parking lot of Jerry’s Place.
My perch, about 15 feet up from the ground, is a perfect alcove of serenity in the midst of a pretty chaotic existence down below.
Around the front of my building and just down the street, past the Subway and Upton-Massamont Realtor is After Works, a small-town dive bar that attracts locals like fruit flies to stale wine.
Through the small door, the bar’s atmosphere is warm, inviting, and colorful. It’s here on Friday nights that a dramatic theatre of lust, alcohol and bad decisions mix like a long island iced tea. A television on the wall usually has mindless entertainment playing, a brief respite from tragedy, pain and violence that’s always prevalent wherever humans exist.
Sometimes, music from the corner jukebox is so loud it’s hard to hear your own thoughts. Often, I turn around and walk back to 6 Elm St., apartment E, and climb back up the steps of my back porch.
I reside here in hope, beyond the reach of darkness, separate from society’s grip, touched by the pale light of faith. My conviction started with a spark. Now, there’s a rising fire in my soul far brighter than the moon. It shines like the sun, casting crimson light into the far corners of my heart, burning up my darkest sins in an explosion of grace.
My heart, which was loved before its first heartbeat, has been captured by an all-powerful being; an existence of pure love that pervades every facet of my life. As a result, I’m bound by choice to a supernatural, eternal Being that, in an act of complete and selfless love, came to earth and took on the form of a mortal in order to save me from myself.
I stand under that pale moonlight, captivated, saturated, in ultimate love. I stand on the back porch of peace, safe in the haven of my Yahweh’s grace.
Thus and from that rest, I reflect my haven of safety to the world: shalom aleichem; peace be upon you, because you also are loved with Yahweh’s same love.
Rest also in that place, for no earthly power can take you from it.
Andy Christian Castillo is the Founder of Ver・ism(s). He is a military veteran and student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he studied English. Now, he’s pursuing a graduate degree in creative non fiction from Bay Path University. In his free time, he plays music, writes poetry, gallivants around the world, climbs mountains and runs through the pouring rain.