Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Eek! (02/25/10)
TITLE: I Feel So Safe
By Kathleen Tollifson
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Alisa and her brother raced the short distance from the school bus stop to their kitchen door in record time. Bursting through the door, falling over each other, they both shouted “Mom!” Rather than their mother’s musical laughter they were greeted with a silent house. “Mom?” Alisa gave another call. They looked at each other quizzically; now they could hear the low hum of conversation in another room.
“Yes ma’am, it sounds like they just got here. I will call you if I have any problems. Bye.” The babysitter appeared in the kitchen doorway with a phone in her hand. “Hey guys, your Mom’s friend was rushed to the hospital. I’m staying with you until she gets home. It’s your lucky day!” With that she turned toward the living room and began dialing the phone.
“Our lucky day? I don’t think so. No one pays us to talk on the phone.” Alisa rolled her eyes. “Let’s get a snack, she wouldn’t notice if we starved.” The hum of conversation from the living room had resumed.
Rummaging through the pantry, her mouth full of chips, Alisa handed the bag to her brother. In that instant there was an ear-shattering crash. The house and ground shook. Alisa, with eyes like saucers, looked at her brother. They could hear shouting, and a minute later the wail of sirens in the distance.
“Oh my gosh, something’s happened. Come on, let’s go see!” The babysitter still had the phone in her hand as she threw the door open and gestured for them to follow. The noise coming from down the street was getting louder as people rushed to the scene.
“Come on, hurry!” In her excitement, the babysitter had almost forgotten her charges. “Don’t you want to see what happened?”
Alisa realized that she didn’t think she did. Fear and dread were making her stomach feel sick. Running behind the sitter, she could see the crowd gathering around a huge twisted metal object in the street. She smelled smoke. Panic started to crawl like icy fingers up her back and down her legs. She slowed to a walk, dreading what they would find.
The babysitter glanced back again and saw that she was falling behind. She gestured impatiently for Alisa to catch up, but the words she yelled were drowned out by the noise. Alisa’s couldn’t see her brother anywhere. She realized she was crying, and looked around for somewhere to escape the nightmare, somewhere she might feel safe. The ambulances and fire trucks had arrived and people were running frantically in every direction. In the commotion she had heard someone shout about a plane and realized that a small plane had crashed in her neighborhood.
As she got closer she saw that the crash was just a couple houses from her Mom’s friend’s house. “Good thing she wasn’t here,” she thought. A plan started to hatch, and she headed up the drive into the carport. Out of the corner of her eye she saw an odd bit of bright red in a bush by the carport. Before she realized it was a bad idea, she turned to see what was so colorful. Terror flooded her mind as she looked at the bloody severed hand that had landed in the bush.
“Mom found me hours later cowering in the carport, frozen with fear.” Alisa was staring unfocused at the little girl who had been traumatized thirty years earlier. “I guess that’s why I’ve had such a problem with fear. I never really got to deal with those feelings.”
“Alisa, as you look at that scene, can you see Jesus there somewhere?” The whole group was feeling the little girl’s fear, and compassion was filling the room. “Try to separate from your feelings for a minute and see if Jesus was there.” The group facilitator was gentle yet firm.
Alisa’s teary face was smiling. “Yes, He is there.”
“What is He doing?”
“He is picking me up and holding me tightly to His chest.” She melted into soft tears of relief. “I never felt so safe!”
“Trauma is hard for anyone to deal with, especially a child. You were feeling scared, unprotected, and alone. No wonder it has affected you all these years. Isn’t it comforting to know that you weren’t alone after all?”
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