Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Bold (emotionally) (08/30/07)
TITLE: The Vessel of Food
By Chong Shipei
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Faces after faces of living skeletons in filthy rags staggered aimlessly towards nowhere in particular. A long haired living skeleton threw a tiny half-alive skeleton away from itself.
“Don’t leave me, mama!” The young half-dead whimpered, not with its voice, but its eyes.
The long haired skeleton walked on, joining the faces after faces of skeletons in filthy rags in their journey to nowhere. The young half-dead tried to force its tiny legs to stand, but it crumpled to the ground. Its skeleton legs were incapable of supporting it.
“Don’t leave me, mama. Don’t leave me!” It screamed, wordlessly.
“Shu Zhen, are you with us?” The voice of her church friend, Mei Zhen brought the 22 year old young woman back to the real world.
“Er… yes,” Shu Zhen stammered.
“Sigh, you are daydreaming, again, aren’t you?” Xiao Hui, another of her friends from church, sighed.
“Well, er, not really…” Shu Zhen replied. Her friends took no notice of her.
“The food here really sucked,” Mei Zhen commented. Her not-so-thin hand, with the use of a knife, cut out another large portion of meat from one of the several dishes before her.
“I don’t think we can finish… the food,” Shu Zhen said. “Besides, we are quite fortunate to have something to eat.”
“Fortunate? The food is not free. We paid for them, you know. With our money. Our hard-earned money.” Xiao Hui stated her opinion, aggressively. She paused for a moment to help herself to some sliced pieces of beef on her plate. “The government, with the 2% tax increase, really robs us of our livelihood. We will starve to death, I tell you, starve to death!”
Shu Zhen shuddered. She thought of the skeletons she saw in her vision. “What about the Ethiopians who are currently suffering from a famine? Aren’t we more fortunate than them?”
“We can’t really compare ourselves with them. They are used to it.” Xiao Mei replied.
“Well, still, maybe we can do something to help them,” Shu Zhen suggested, timidly.
“Don’t be silly, Shu Zhen. There is nothing we can do to help them. Only those God has called to be missionaries are given the abilities to help these destitute people.” Mei Zhen said.
Why are you so sure that God is not calling us to be the missionaries, Shu Zhen wondered aloud to herself. She was too fearful to express her insignificant voice.
The cramped seat in the plane afforded her plenty of time to reflect on the words of her parents.
“You are kind to the world, but cruel to your own parents!” Her mother had expressed in disappointment.
“We brought you up, gave you a good education, and now you… sigh… it is your choice.” Her father sighed.
Shu Zhen thought about her bungalow that she had resided in since she was a child. She thought of the eight maids that her busy parents had hired to look to her needs. She thought of the never-ending-supply of food that her house had never failed to provide her. She thought of the income that was the envy of her friends, which she received as a manager of her father’s company.
Fear crept into her heart and mocked her. You are a sheltered pot. You won’t be able to deal with the hardships there. What a foolish decision this is. Fear’s voice was loud. Shu Zhen was too timid to combat Fear.
The grass is not green, but yellow. The young half-dead was lying alone, counting the seconds before blackness engulfed it. Its eyes would soon fail it like the way its legs and voice did. In the midst of darkness, it saw a figure of light walking closer and closer towards it.
“I am Jesus.” The figure of light whispered to the child. The child smiled when he saw the bread in the hands of the figure of light. The blackness would not engulf him, after all. The child lied comfortably in the laps of Jesus. “I will be your mama.” The voice of Shu Zhen said, lovingly.
Boldness delivered a crushing blow to Fear, and Fear was defeated. Shu Zhen held tightly to the vision in her mind, and found to her surprise she was not afraid anymore.
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