Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hide and Seek (08/07/08)
TITLE: Everyman Speaks
By Gillian Dobson
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It all happened so long ago.
But I remember it all. The garden - so beautiful, misty in the early mornings, and quiet, that peculiar stillness just before the sunglow turns the sky from velvet black to grey, then silver and blue. I remember standing beneath the sheltering canopy of vines at the waterfall as the timid fauns made their way to the waterís edge. Delicate and skittish, red coats spotted with cream and their eyes wide and luminescent, tiptoeing silently through the early light to drink at the pool beneath the falls. It was a perfect time. And He was there too. Walking with us in the evening light. Sharing, laughing, enjoying His garden, His creation.
But thatís all gone now, and I find it hard to remember what made me do it. Why did I listen to her? Why did I eat that fruit? It didnít even taste that good, and I knew I wasnít supposed to eat it. I could have had any other fruit, but no, I had to get curious and try that one. The only one we werenít supposed to eat. Heíd warned us often enough about that.
Curiosity killed the cat. More like stupidity, the folly of a single moment. And then knowledge came, and fear. It all changed in an instant. It didnít look the same any more. We could suddenly see things weíd never seen before, understand things never before comprehended. New discoveries. Puzzling, frightening but strangely wonderful. Trying to make sense of it all. Then His footsteps. And us hiding. Deep within the undergrowth. Leaves cover us. Hoping He wonít find us. Hoping He wouldnít discover what we had done. But He knew.
Then a new life for us, outside the garden, no longer welcome there. No longer His precious friends, no longer the guardians of His creation. Simply reduced to being Everyman and Everywoman. I remember the silence as we walked away, our hearts aching for that beauty we would never again share, our minds full of fear and anxiety about the future Ė new emotions we had not felt before, our heads down as we picked our way over the dry, rocky ground.
Years have passed. Years filled with toil, slavery, times of war, times of peace, times of exile from the land we had settled in. Many times I cried out, ďLord, where are you? Do not hide your face from me? Have mercy on me?Ē Would we ever get back to the garden? Would we ever talk with Him again, walk with Him, laugh with Him? Children were born, they lived, they died, and more were born. Round and round the cycle went, and all the time I looked for Him. My bones groan with weariness, my muscles ache, my eyes have grown dim. But still I seek Him.
We trudged into the city three days ago, still searching, hoping to find Him here, hoping to tell Him how sorry we are, to ask for His forgiveness. Itís been so crowded here. The streets bustling with people, the temple courts full of men, women, sheep, goats, birds in cages. Passover. Atonement time.
But theyíve been strange days. First the crucifixions and us standing among the roaring crowds as they bayed for the blood of some poor holy man. I wonder what he did wrong? Then the terrifying earthquake. Black darkness descending, and the ground buckling and shuddering beneath our feet, shaking the foundations of the temple. We fled into a little garden, found sanctuary in a grove of olive trees and sheltered there for the night.
This morning itís strangely quiet again. Feels almost like that early morning stillness I remember from so long ago in the garden. Itís as if He is here in some new and wonderful way. I feel His presence so strongly that Iíve been searching for Him among the trees, and made a strange discovery. In the misty morning light I stumbled on some tombs, large stones covering all the entrances except one where the stone seems to have rolled aside. Was it moved by the earthquake? Curiosity rises. I peer in. Canít see much in this light. I step inside, step forward to see, but am disappointed. No corpse, no skeleton. Only an old grave cloth, limp and empty on the cold stone floor. I step back, turn away from the empty tomb, continue with my search. I wonder if Iíll ever find Him again.
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