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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Twilight Years of Life (07/02/09)

TITLE: Ambivalent Yearning
By Kimberly Russell


We've been in this place so many times before and I'm sure they can't help but wonder, “Will it ever end?” An unspoken thought that speaks volumes—for them as well as myself.

I see the looks that pass back and forth between them—do they think I don't notice the fleeting glances? Even worse are the empty words. Hollow attempts at cheerfulness ricochet off the walls, practically screaming for the silence of truth.

If only I could verbalize the frustration that swirls through my mind. Thoughts that never stop but race to and fro. Unfortunately, the only thing I can do is lie here and think. Relief comes when I finally sink into blissful, mind numbing sleep. While serving as a temporary escape, eventually I awaken and return to the nightmare of my reality.

They come and stand at the foot of my bed, looking yet trying not to. It's almost as if they're afraid I will slip away without their watchful gaze. Oh, I know they mostly come out of obligation. I wish there was a way to let them know I don't expect sentry duty day in and day out. It must be as hard for them as it is for me. At least I know “the end of the story”. They don't even have that comfort. That's one of the things that often plagues me: the fact that most of them don't know Him who made the stars and holds the world in the palm of His hand. Emotion erupts despite my current condition and a tear slides down my cheek. I don't even have the strength to remove it. As one of them reaches out to gently wipe it away, our eyes meet and hold in a gentle stare. If only she knew what was on my mind. Would it move her? Or would the stinging 'religious nut' comment come as so often in the past?

Of course, one of the positives about this is that I have plenty of time to pray. All those wasted years when I never took the time seem rather foolish now. This circumstance certainly got my attention! That's something I'll have to be sure and discuss with Him when I get there. In the meantime, we talk—a lot. As bizarre as it sounds, I've come to feel quite privileged...

One of my favorite dialogs is to thank Him for the many blessings bestowed upon me. My heart swells with appreciation for all I've been given: family, friends, love, laughter, success, good fortune—the list is endless. My gratitude knows no bounds and it swells over me like a gently rolling sea.

I smile inwardly (if only they could see that, maybe they wouldn't be so sad) as I think about the children, grandchildren and now, even great-grandchildren. Who would ever have thought such a thing could happen to an ordinary person such as I? What did I ever do to deserve such blessing and high favor? The answer is that I am a child of the King, adopted by Him as His own special treasure. Quite ordinary maybe, yet at the same time, precious in His sight.

Of course, occasional troubling thoughts creep in as well: have I done enough with what He has given me? Will He be pleased at how I spent my days? Did I do my part to advance the kingdom?

I also worry about my loved ones. He knows each one by name even when they don't profess to know Him. Yet what if they never find the Lord? Sadly, I know I have no choice but to leave them in His care and trust that eventually, they will open their eyes to His saving grace and mercy.

So many things plague me as the minutes tick by, interminable hours that add up to endless days. Eventually, however, I begin to notice a subtle change. Thoughts that previously occupied my mind begin to retreat, replaced by a strange sensation that I can't identify. In the distance, I see a tiny spark of brilliant white. Anticipation begins to build within me even though I have no idea why. What began as a flicker has slowly grown into a flame, and like a moth, I find myself mesmerized. Drawn in some inexplicable way, I begin to move toward the light...

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 07/11/09
Very vivid descriptions and interior monologue. Great title too - very fitting for this piece! I found the end a touch stereotypical, but you certainly got your message across. Nicely done.
Shelley Ledfors 07/13/09
Nicely done internal monologue. I especially liked the part where the MC was smiling internally, and thought the others might not seem so sad, if they could only know that. Some good thoughts here.
Patricia Herchenroether07/13/09
Right on topic and very thoughtful. I enjoyed reading this.
Jackie Wilson07/14/09
Thought provoking look at the final days/hours of life.
Enjoyed reading it.