TITLE: The Project
By Elizabeth White
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The boy's hands were bleeding, damaged by the amount of work he had put into this, his project. He had put so much into this, it seemed nothing else mattered anymore. He remembered the tears he had cried as he worked. That day forever ago it seemed, when she had given him the idea. "Create something that represents yourself, something that shows who you are." He had known straight away what he would do, but it still didn't seem to help. Who was he? He felt so lost, alone. The project was all that was keeping him, that was why he felt he had to, that he must keep going, he had to find himself. He had worked late into the nights for days already, he couldn't stop, he had to keep going. As he held the nail in his hand, the tears he had kept locked up inside himself for so long began to flow. Who was he, where was he? This journey of faith it just seemed too hard, he couldn't face it anymore. He began to hammer the nail into the wood, his tears blurring his vision as he worked. Once again the doubts filled his mind. He was so stupid. It was nothing. Think about everything the rest of the world was going through, it was nothing, he couldn't, shouldn't need to talk to someone. Over and over the thoughts flooded into his mind once again, tormenting him. Where was he? Who was he? Wasn't that why he had started on this project, to find out who he was? Once again he picked up the wood, slowly tying around it the wire he had prepared a few hours before, the part of the project that had contributed to the cuts all over his hands. He didn't care, all that mattered now was the project, he must keep going, he must get it finished. It was stupid really, he thought, starting on this project in an effort to forget everything, to forget God. Night after night he had struggled to keep going, just focus on the project, putting everything into it. Where was God? It seemed like he couldn't find him anymore. No, that wasn't it at all, where had he gone? God was always there. He had to find himself, come back to God, but it just seemed too hard. For so long he had wanted to talk to someone, to share what he was going through, but he couldn't. He had been brought up in a Christian family, a family that cared for and loved him. He went to a great church, had so many friends who were there for him. He shouldn't feel alone. Now he was furiously hammering at the nails. Taking out his frustration on the project. Willing himself to forget, become so absorbed with the project that he wouldn't have to think about everything. He had never been through anything he would consider a hard time in his life before. He remembered vividly the day he had been talking with a friend who had said just that, it was true. His life was near enough perfect. How could he have any idea of what others were going through. He shouldn't feel this way. It was nothing. On that note, he didn't even know what it was. He shouldn't care. Almost finished now, the project was starting to take shape. He began carving intricate patterns into the wood. He didn't care anymore. No, that wasn't true. He cared, he cared alot. Tears burned waiting to spill from his eyes. The project lay complete. Angry tears were now splashing against the wood. The project lay, it held no hidden meaning, it wasn't him. He was stupid, how could he have put so much faith, so much trust into this, that he could find himself through the project. It was stupid. He shouldn't care, he shouldn't need to come to God about this. It wasn't anything. Suddenly he was angry at himself, at the project, the thing that had seemed to be an instument of hope for him as he worked and worked towards it's completion. Now it was nothing, meaningless. He couldn't find hope, couldn't find where he belonged. He picked up the project and threw it against the wall as a wave of angry tears finally overcame him. It was stupid to think that he could create something which could help him explain himself to someone. To find the friend which he so longed for. It was pointless. He shouldn't care. Gathering together what was left of the project he journeyed to the river and with tears streaming down his face threw the now ruined project, now smeared with the blood from his hands, into the raging waters. Then he cried.
It wasn't until about a month later that he returned to the river. There he found it. His project, the cross. It lay in the mud beside the water. No longer was it the beautiful project he had once created. It lay, a splintered piece of wood, only barely recogniziable for what it was, his project. He remembered what it had once been, the smooth wood, he had spent so much time to make it just right. The nails hammered in just the right places. Around the center of the cross he had wrapped the wire created to be the crown of thorns, a representation of his saviour. It was meant to be a symbol of hope. Yet now as he looked at it, strangely enough, it was so much more meaningful, it did hold so much hope. The hope wasn't in what had once been his creation, his perfect project that he had put so much into. It was in the imperfection, the splintered wood, the ruined designs that had once been carved so carefully. The wood, now old looking was so much more real, such a representation of his life. Faith wasn't always easy. It was through the hard times that he had learnt the most. The journey wasn't always smooth. As he bent down to more closely inspect his project he noticed a tiny wild flower had begun to grow, wrapping itself around the cross as it went. Something beautiful had come out of it, out of the project. It was a symbol of hope. It showed that no matter what he would go through he was never alone. God would always remain faithful. Sometimes it was only through the hard times that he could learn God's faithfulness, that he had to trust in him. He picked up his project and once again began to cry for it was still stained with small specks of blood. His saviour had died for him. The cross, what had been the ultimate symbol of suffering, God had used it for good. It was only through the power of the cross that he could know God. It did show who he was. Faith was his life. Faith, trusting in God, persevering and knowing that he is faithful that he would never be alone. The cross also meant so much more, it was his commitment to Christ, his saviour, the one who cared for him and loved him enough to die for him. The cross was his commitment that he would take up his own cross and follow Jesus, to live for Christ, whatever that meant. He knew that God was in control. On the surface nothing had changed, the situation was still the same, but he was no longer alone. A single flower around the cross, a symbol of hope that God could use any situation for great things for his glory. It was his project, his commitment to take up his cross and follow Christ.
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