Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)
TITLE: Sharing the Light
By Carmen Redding
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When was the last time I noticed it was there? Unused it beckons, ribbons of gold etched on red wax, too special to be lighted and consumed and too precious to be wasted and ignored? My hand trembles as I reach for it. As my fingers make contact with its base, a crackling noise reminds me that in order to enjoy this gift, I must breach the space between my fear and apprehension and its beauty and potential. Can I trust myself to be the one to unveil it? Once the seal is opened there is no turning back.
In order to break the seal, I must remove a square tag. On the tag I see the word: "luminessence." It is written in italics and purposely misspelled to lure the user into the pleasant expectation of a gentle glow and sweet aroma. In order to remove this tag, I must undo the knot on a smooth, red, satin ribbon at the top of the candle. When I do, the tag will fall away so that the seal can be broken and the cellophane removed.
I must work quickly. First, the ribbon, then the tag, and finally I slide the taper out of its covering to find...warnings and cautions. Only one applies to me: "Keep away from things that catch on fire." Before I place the candle on the cluttered desk, I make a space. I push back the clutter, trying to ignore the unpaid bills, the junk mail, an unfinished letter, a church book order, my son's baseball schedule, The New York Times, an unfinished book. The candle is now on the desk.
I am ready! Retrieving a match from the desk drawer, I wait. I hear the sound of my heart beating, the rumble of the heat pump filling the room with warmth, the chattering of the birds in the trees just outside my window. The world is still in that brief interlude between night and morning. The time is right. This is my moment. In one quick movement I strike the match, I see the light, I stretch my hand and waves of red and yellow light ignite the wick. It is done. The light and the fragrance exceed my expectations and I smile.
Then I reach for my manuscript and slip it carefully into a padded envelope, ready to share the gift that was given to me by God so long ago. So many years of hesitation...but no more. I will undo the shackles of my self-doubt and insecurity. I will allow the self-fulfilling prophecies of failure fall away. I will make room in my life for unexpected joy. I will unwrap the gift; I will light the flame. As long as there are thoughts to think and words to write, I will share its light.
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