Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)
TITLE: Frosted Glass And A Matchstick Cross
By Janice Fitzpatrick
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Like a retired bat, a chill in the air kept gnawing at their limbs and faces. Anne grimaced. Shadowy figures from the ground hog were no where in sight.
Just earlier she sluggishly crawled out of her divan of warmth to get ready for church. Peering out the picture window she grumbled, “Either snow or melt.”
Lately it seemed to be a chore to prepare lessons for the Sunday school class Anne taught, besides getting their children ready.
All I want is to stay in the comforts of my blankets and hibernate with the bears. Her heart silently complained.
Gone were the days when she was eager to rise in the early dawn, to spend time in prayer. Now the task seemed exhausting. What’s wrong with me? I feel so numb and unattached. She felt the furrows in her forehead tighten.
“I want to stay home,” Jodi, their five year old, stood defiantly then shrank to the couch.
At least someone’s being honest. Anne thought wryly.
Although she had her own feelings of reluctance she had learned to hide them. The pint sized girl, on the other hand, was still genuine. “Did Jesus ever have to wear a coat?” “They don’t have snow in Israel dorko,” retorted ten year old Aaron.
“Enough, let’s go.” Anne gave “the look” to both of them. “Jodi, you have to the count of three to get your coat on and walk out that door or…” She took a deep breath and let it out gradually, “you won’t be able to come to class with me today.”
The words spilled out suddenly like dark masses of thickness from a new found oil well.
All eyes were on mom. No one ever was allowed to go with her before. Quietly she grabbed a bag full of wood and the black headed splinters and headed outside.
The little girl’s eyes widened as she sprang to her feet and grabbed her coat. “I get to go with mommy,” she chanted as she followed behind.
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The smell of sulfur and pine began to empty out into the room while a stream of sunlight filtered through the blinds. Jodi was easily distracted as she played with them, peering out the window. “Oh, look mommy.”
“Sorry honey, I can’t stop right now. I have a lot to do.” Anne began laying out the timber shapes and bowls of matches on the tables, and the chipped paradigm she had made as a child. It once had been covered with honey colored fire sticks but now many of them had become unattached, exposing the bareness of the wooden cross.
She suddenly felt a hand on her arm. “Poor mommy,” Jodi’s tiny voice echoed sympathy. “You’re so busy you don’t have time to see what God made.”
Anne stood in silent shock as her cherub faced daughter gently led her to the window.
“There mommy, do you see it?”
Anne adjusted the blind and nodded without expression. She hoped it would satisfy her daughter’s inquiry.
All I see is snow banks that look like someone dumped used coffee filters on them. She thought glumly to herself.
Jodi impatiently pushed her mother’s chin upwards. “No up here, look.” Slowly a set of weary eyes caught sight of the frosted glass.
Rays of sunlight poured through the spaces as her gaze followed the pattern. Icy fragments swirled above her head, crystal like spirals rising, spreading left, right, and then descending. Anne caught her breath.
“This looks like your cross mommy,” an enthusiastic voice chirped, “I guess it’s how you see it,” Anne agreed.
“Lord, please renew me and keep me close.” She silently prayed, "Help me to see beauty as you do.”
Suddenly the patches of snow didn’t seem so earth toned.
Amidst a classroom of crafters, mom and daughter sat gluing matchsticks into place, the fragile bits of wood clinging to the cross.
Just outside, enormous ivory flakes began to fall. Soon everything would be covered.
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