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The Wonder of Ichabod’s Return


Based on the story from Mark 5.


Ichabod, naked and hulking,

huddled among the tombs,

head in hands trying to

hold on to his sanity.


His wrists were bloodied from the blows

with which he had shattered his shackles.

The pain of bruised flesh was the only thing

that assured him he was still alive.


A jeering, jarring voice erupted from within him.

“You are a dead man.”

               Am I?

“Only the dead live in the tombs.”

               Who is this monster living in me?

                Is it me?


“No one cares. You might AS WELL BE DEAD,”

                Doesn’t my family care?

                Do I still have a family?


“We’re your only family now.

“You’re our home and we’re here to stay.”


                It can’t be.

                I don’t know.


Ichabod’s eyes were drawn to a boat

landing at the base of the tomb-covered hill.

The sight of the man climbing out of the vessel

set off a scrum among the voices in his head.

               “He’s come.” “The holy one of God.”

                “Run.” “Run away.” “Hide”


Against the counsel of his demons,

something in the stranger’s demeanor

propelled Ichabod down the path

where he knelt at the man’s feet.


“What have you to do with us?”

“Are you here to punish us before our time?”

                Be quiet.

                I need him.

                He sees me…he sees ME!


The man laid his hand on the

matted tangle of Ichabod’s hair.

“What is your name?” he asked quietly.

                I don’t remember.


“Our name is legion, for we are many.”


With strength, the gentle man took charge

and ordered the demons to leave.


Damaged and devoid of dignity,

Ichabod collapsed at the man’s feet.

He listened for the swell of demon sneers,

but there was only silence in his soul.


The man reached down and

lifted up the broken shell before him.

Slipping the cloak off his shoulders he

covered Ichabod’s spectral frame.


With a look of love, he said,

“My name is Jesus.

Let me help you become the man

God made you to be.”


The two of them walked to the shade

of a small grove of trees and sat down.

Jesus said, “I know your deepest longings

brought you to your knees before me.”


As they quietly talked,

Ichabod remembered who he was,

knew what he had done,

and hoped for what he could become.


“Jesus,” he said, “I’m afraid. Let me stay with you.”


With the firm nudge of love, Jesus replied,

“Ichabod, go reclaim your life.

Tell everyone the good things

the Lord has done for you.

And know, I am with you always.”


Don has spent the majority of his career in education teaching from academy to post graduate. For the past 18 years he has been in academic administration first as Chief Academic Officer and then as Assistant to the President for Mission at AdventHealth University. Don has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University, and a Ph.D. in Counseling from Purdue University. Last fall he and his wife Merrie Lyn retired to Kettering, Ohio to be near family.

Photo by Vinicius "amnx" Amano on Unsplash


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