Drawing on My Cigarette

Timothy Poetry, Thoughts Leave a Comment

Drawing on My Cigarette

Drawing on my cigarette —
it’s the last one before I set
it in the past,
but the future beckons me
to draw once more
like all the times before
and maybe more

It’s time to quit, you see,
yet as soon as I say “free”
there appears that unseen law
it compels, impels me—
I light, I draw

The craving’s met, I’ve had enough
yet I light another, then fix my cuff
I run my nervous fingers through my hair
then inhale deeply as I do the air

Nicotine surges through each vein
Until I’m satisfied again
and ready to tell myself, “that’s it”—
It’s always easy, when indulged, to quit

The morning comes, as sure as does the night
Yet more certain comes my need to light

Cruising down main street one day, I watched someone taking a deep draw from their cigarette as they slowly passed me by. A faint reminiscence came to me. I was remembering the days I used to smoke, before I was a believer and even the few times that, as a believer, I was foolish and weak. I was not seeking strength and thus fell to a simple bodily craving.

I know what it feels like to crave. I know what it feels like to have the craving satisfied. It’s simple: burn some dried leaves that don’t taste all that good, yet with persistence and self-delusion, a type of high is achieved with the inhaling of the smoke. Smoking is an escape, a time to forget, though it could also be a time to remember and consider things a different way. It seemed harmless, like pausing and pressing reset. But it turned into a problem when I would spend money I didn’t have or that could have been spent wisely, when I would smoke to the dismay of friends and family, and when I got to the point that a sense of well being and contentment would be impossible unless I had at least one “stogie.” I would manipulate and lie, and forsake responsibility in order to have what I craved. I was no longer my own master, for the craving mastered me.

In light of those memories, I wrote this poem. I know the feeling, but I also know what it means to be free. Freedom comes when a new affection–a new “craving”– arises that is able to overpower all other affections. As a Christian, I realized that Christ is not only true and right, but that he is good and gracious, able to satisfy me thoroughly in a way that went deep, beyond the chemical cravings of the flesh to the cravings of the soul. This new principle of being satisfied in Christ is what now gives me the ability to say no to those inferior, pitiful cravings and escapes that the world offers. I have Him now, and more of Him is what I crave.

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