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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outgoing (05/05/11)

TITLE: The Charade
By Ann Martin


Everyone was drawn to her outgoing, sparkling personality. Many envied her perfect life. She had a husband who seemed to adore her, a nice house, money and lots of friends. People in the church loved to be invited to her parties. She was such fun and was loved by many. But, the truth was, if you really looked at her, you would see that her smile did not reach her eyes. Eyes that once sparkled with joy and laughter were now dull and lifeless. The truth was that things in her life were far from perfect. Getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of another to get through the day was a challenge. Her heart was broken and her life was crumbling around her.

Her husband was rarely home. He left for work early in the morning without a backwards glance. No hug and certainly no kiss goodbye. Gone were the days when he would wrap his arms around her and tell her how much he would miss her. Dinnertime with just the two of them was a quiet affair. Perfunctory answers to polite questions. Together, yet so alone.

Tears of grief and despair were her daily companions. Anxiety and fear wrapped its icy tentacles around her heart as her life unraveled. When others were around them, her husband would act very loving. In fact, he would put his arm around her in church and would gently stroke her hand. Those same hands would later be rough with her. Her wounds were not visible to others. She wondered how long she could keep up the charade. At times she felt as if she would collapse with grief. What would people in the church think if they knew what her life was really like? She imagined their shock if she told them what really went on behind closed doors…the yelling, name-calling, the hitting and the silence. Her husband had a life outside of their marriage. When he was home, he spent his time in front of the computer trapped in its vicelike grip of empty promises.

She could not go on like this, pretending everything was right in her world. Leading, singing, speaking to women in the church when her heart was breaking into a million pieces was beginning to seem like such a charade. When she threatened to talk to the pastor her husband mocked her and told her nobody would believe her story of betrayal. She did not know where to turn. Late that night she opened the drawer in her bedside table and took out the bottle of pills. How easy it would be to just go to sleep.

She wondered how things had gone so wrong in her marriage? Where was God in the midst of this pain? A song from her childhood written by Maria Straub, came into her mind, “God sees the little sparrow fall, it meets His tender view; If God so loves the little birds, I know He loves me too”. An image came into her mind of God cradling a little sparrow with a broken wing in His hand.

She heard the phone ring and as she ignored the repeated rings, she took the lid off the bottle. She was tired of this charade. Tired of being the life of the party, counselor, and caring friend to all. She hesitated as she poured the pills into her hand.

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This article has been read 257 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Belinda Borradaile05/13/11
This is so emotive. How many sometimes feel this way??
I like that you ended it so sadly -gives a bite of reality of the world we live in-where we don't always notice those hurting around us! However- I REALLY don't like that it ended this way- only as it leaves me wishing I could sit with this lady and hold her hand to tell her she had other options! I THINK- thats what you maybe be trying to evoke in the reader:)
Debra Burchett05/13/11
I really like this article, It hits home for a lot of us. The ending kinda left me hanging. I can't help feeling there was a rescue in her future. thanks for the courage to write this.
Bonnie Bowden 05/15/11
Thank you for sharing how many people walk around wearing a mask that they hide behind.

Unfortunately, the pills aren't the answer or solution either. Many people who end up in the ER have tried to attempt suicide. When they wake up, their problems remain.

Please reach out to a Christian doctor or therapist if depression is overwhelming. Sometimes we can't feel Christ's love shining from the darkness.
Adele Butler05/15/11
Very powerful story. I have heard of women inside the church who are suffering silently from abuse. Their scars are not visible. It seems to me that even though God intervened first with the song to remind her of His love, protection and mercy and the phone ringing, this woman is going to go through with taking her life. What a shame. God is greater than any problem or pain. All we have to do is reach out and cling to Him and He will bring us through those dark moments and into His marvelous light.