Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)
TITLE: Dimitri's Message
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How could he show God’s love to his people who’d known only war? He would start with his observant toddler. In an overgrown garden in an unkempt yard, he made one white rose bloom in the midst of all the death and darkness.
That afternoon a flash of white caught Natasha’s eye as Irina tried to rush her inside after their walk home from the market. Natasha broke free from her mama’s full hands and ran over to the rose bush. She stood in front of the perfect flower and asked, “What dat?”
For just a moment there was the slightest hint of a smile on Irina’s face. Natasha didn’t understand why Mama was always so sad, why Papa couldn’t come home from Heaven, or why everyone else seemed so mad. How could an innocent two-year-old understand death or war?
“That’s a rose, one of Papa’s roses,” Irina told Natasha. She picked up her daughter so she could get a closer look at the beautiful flower. She hugged her tight. Natasha was all she had left. Dimitri had died three days before, in the fighting. Irina had lost her father, her uncles, her brothers, and now her husband. Even her young daughter wasn’t safe from the war. The women fought, too. It was all they knew. Someday they’d come for her Natasha, too. Or maybe not...
While Irina held Natasha by the untended rose bush, Dimitri’s bush which had always had born blood red flowers, that one beautiful white flower seemed to open even wider.
That afternoon Natasha helped Irina weed all around the rose bush. And the next day, and all that summer, there were more buds and more blooms, all white. Irina and Natasha often sat and read by the rose bush. It became their special place. They felt just a little bit closer to Dimitri there, by his roses. -- Dimitri’s message had been received.
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