Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)
TITLE: The yellow suitcase
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As my suitcase slowly edged towards me I shook my head in obvious discontent to the man in overalls who peered through the flaps. He ignored me as he loaded more suitcases onto the conveyor belt. Defiantly I strode out the airport, loaded my suitcase into the car and sped onto the freeway. Annoyance had flared into a full-blown temper tantrum.
Sirens blared as an ambulance raced past my car. I dropped my head…can you believe it, I thought, now I am going to get held up in traffic on top of everything. My selfishness made me shudder. In shame, I hoped that if an accident had occurred on the freeway that everyone involved wasn’t too seriously injured. Nothing could have prepared me for the carnage that lay ahead.
A furniture removal van had lost control and overturned across the lanes of traffic. Several cars had impacted the van at full speed…the result…unimaginable. Twisted metal held bodies in death’s embrace. Shattered glass coloured the tarmac in haunting brilliance, as a crimson stream began to flow between the shards of the wreck.
Furniture from the van lay strewn across the road, most of it broken pieces of someone else’s life. I wondered how many lives would be broken by the horror that was being seared into all our memories.
Hundreds of cars had come to a standstill. Traffic went on for miles behind me. I got out my car and started walking towards the wreckage. Paramedics were working frantically with the victims of the horrible hand that fate had dealt. An almost silent moan rose above the sirens, the screams, and the tearing metal from the Jaws of Life that freed prisoners. No-one else seemed to hear the subtle cry, the cry that drew me many metres away from the activity.
A little girl, who could not have been more than four years old, sat on a yellow suitcase on the side of the road. She appeared to be unhurt, there were no signs of injury on her thin body. The pain beneath her skin, however, was vividly expressed on her tear-streaked cheeks. As her eyes, wide with terror, turned to look at me, I felt the punch of reality in my face…
…If my luggage had arrived on time I would have been in the accident.
Nearly an hour later, a social worker wrestled the broken child from my arms. As I watched them walk away, the recently comforted child crying all over again, I found myself sobbing on the side of the road. Sitting on the same yellow suitcase, I stared for hours as the freeway was restored as if nothing had ever happened.
Clarity came that day. The conveyor belt of my life moves at the pace God chooses. Sometimes I need to wait, sometimes I am pushed ahead. Yet always, like clockwork, He works the hands of time for His purpose. I no longer judge delays as an irritating intrusion to my day. Instead, as I find myself being held back for a reason, I thank Him for His greater plan.
Every tear that falls, He catches.
Every heart that breaks, He holds.
Each death that returns a soul to Him,
He raises up to life.
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