Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Guard Your Heart( 06/08/12)
By Lori Othouse
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He was a good guy. A Christian guy. Worked hard and had good intentions. But, the one thing he neglected to do was guard his heart. Protect it from the influences and distractions of the world. Christ was there, but over time, He was pushed back to make room for other things. The lure of a comfortable and exciting life replaced the dreams he had grown up with. He chose to leave his hometown, and hometown girl, in pursuit of the money, career and women that he thought were more desirable.
She tried to understand. Tried to be what he wanted, but she was too much a part of what he wanted to leave. When she looked at him, she saw herself and her dreams – their dreams, she thought – and it was all she ever wanted. Her tearful pleas seemed to fall on deaf ears and empty eyes. His vision was elsewhere and she couldn’t turn it back. She gave him one last kiss on the cheek before he pulled himself away…
As he turned to leave, there was a rumbling. A great shaking in the atmosphere. With each step he took it grew louder, though he could hear nothing. Far away, and unknown to all on Earth, the annals of Heaven were being forced open. Bindings cracked and pages fluttered as a mysterious kind of light danced about them. They were being rewritten.
Step by step, page by page, stories were being untold. Stories of a young couple ministering to orphans in Central America. Stories of a family changing their neighborhood for the better. Of a dad inspiring his son to teach. Of a mom’s prayer group that helped prevent divorce in one family and suicide in another. Of generations to come that would change nations. Birthday parties, anniversaries, holidays, graduations…one by one, the lines and letters were erased.
Vows never taken.
Children never born.
Pictures fading to black.
In their place, new stories were being penned – tales of lonely nights, dissatisfaction, wrong relationships, regret. The massive volumes seemed to groan with despair as the new words were written. It was hard to know which was worse – that which would never be or that which would.
Unaware, the young man continued. As his eyes turned more toward the world he wanted, the pages of eternity turned as well, forever changing both of their lives. His heart, unguarded, couldn’t comprehend it. And hers, now broken, would spend a lifetime trying to heal.
The last bit of sunlight disappeared, turning the sky to gray, then black. Her tears fell freely as the waves washed away the last of his footprints from the sand. She watched as he walked away…and all that might have been went with him.
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