Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Fragrance (10/24/05)
TITLE: The Depth of Despair
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They had been happy for as long as he could remember. His two children had brought a constant state of joy to him and his wife, Leah. Had.
He took a long drink from his beer bottle. Now things were different and they would never be a happy family again. His children would grow up in a bitter and angry world and he was powerless to do anything about it. They would slowly begin to forget the dad they had once both adored, that figure to be replaced by the worthless creep his wife thought him to be.
Jake rubbed his weary eyes, long deprived of sleep. He was exhausted, but most nights when he lay in the dark, sleep would not come. When it rarely did, it haunted him of dark images that he desperately wanted to forget. So he simply lay there, alone, waiting for the sun to rise for the start of a new day. A hopeless day, he thought with a grimace. Yet there was no one to blame but himself. Their lives had been ruined and it was his fault.
That day, weeks ago, his boss had informed him that due to a budget cut, they could no longer afford to keep him in the company. He had been laid off, right before Christmas.
That was the day his world had shattered. Those few words had plunged him into the pit of despair which he dreaded having to share with his wife and children who depended on him to provide for them.
So he had walked through the dark alleys of their town, aimlessly wandering as his fears shrouded him. She had appeared out of nowhere, tempting him with her presence.
Jake swallowed, remembering the smell that had crept into his nose and down his throat. Some fragrance that seemed to surround her was so achingly sweet and powerful that he could barely breathe. She had given him tender comforting as her entire being had clouded his mind until he couldn’t think straight. It wasn’t until too late that he realized what he had done.
Leah had been furious with him when she’d found out. She’d left him, taken the kids, and filed for divorce. Now their house was for sale and he was living out of a cheap hotel room. Alone.
Where did I go wrong? He took another long drink. What if I’d spent more time with Leah? Why did I have to ruin the kids’ lives?
The guilt began to gnaw at him. It was all his fault that their family had been torn apart at the seams. Before, they had gone to church every Sunday and to almost every church function. Now they didn’t go at all.
Leah and the kids had moved in with her parents, while Jake stayed here in the town where they had spent the last eleven years of their lives. It was a large enough town that he could avoid those who knew him, but not at church. He couldn’t bear to see the faces of their sympathetic friends so he simply didn’t go.
Lately, his relationship with Christ had deteriorated. Things had been busy at work before they laid him off, but after….. Now that his life was a mess, there was no point. Leah had refused to even try to restore their marriage and she certainly made it clear to Jake that she didn’t want their children exposed to him. She had made her mind up and there was nothing he could do about it.
Then out of the blue, his pastor’s words began to run through his mind. “It’s never too late to turn to the Lord. There is nothing you can do that is beyond His grace and mercy.”
What about ruining the lives of your wife and children? Leah won’t forgive me. God shouldn’t either.
“Nothing is impossible with God.”
Fixing a man’s broken life is. I’m past reaching.
“If you will repent your sins, He is quick to forgive.”
I did and Leah wouldn’t even listen.
Then in the silence, Jake heard a small voice. He couldn’t distinguish whether it was inside his head or in his heart, but immediately, he knew it was God.
I am not Leah.
A lone tear dripped down his face and he realized that maybe, things might work out after all.
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