Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Wow! (03/11/10)
TITLE: A Tempered Hope
By Lisha Hunnicutt
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I fight my screaming muscles and sit up. I survey the landscape around me. The rocky hillside gives way to a path. I follow its lead to an abrupt end at the edge of a deep chasm. I see the path pick up on the opposite side. A rotted post and dangling rope give evidence to the bridge that was once suspended there.
Something sparkles in the sunlight. I shield my eyes and squint to focus on the shining object on the other side. It slowly comes into view. I gasp, "My dreams!" Tears stream down my face as I ponder the impossibility of grasping them. The canyon is too wide to jump, its edges too steep to climb, and I have no wings to fly.
"I give up!" I scream. "Pain, you win! Take me! Devour me until I am no more. I'm done living this existence. Let me die." My forehead rests on my arms as my tears dot the dust. The me that was once alive and vibrant is gone. I feel myself slipping away until I am just a shell waiting to breathe my last breath.
A small breeze brushes against me. I shiver, but make no effort to look up. It comes again stirring dust into the air. I cough and sputter but remain frozen in place. I care not what is happening around me. I remain there waiting to die. A third time the breeze brushes against me and I hear my name whispered in my ear. I lift my head and look around pushing aside the hair that blows across my tear-streaked face. It is then that I notice the tufts of grass around me. They stand still and straight.
I crinkle my eyebrows together, trying to make sense of things. I hear my name again and turn my head in search of the speaker. There stands a man dressed in shimmering white. His face is full of strength and his eyes radiate compassion. He smiles at me and beckons me. "Come," he says.
I stand and rub my eyes, unsure of what is happening. He is still there, hand outstretched. My wobbly legs take one tentative step after another following his lead. As we curve around the hillside, I catch my breath. A beautiful wooded forest is before us. The sound of rushing water is ahead, and I strain my eyes in search of its source. We walk through the trees to the sweet sounds of songbirds. Color surrounds us on all sides; greens in every shade imaginable. A butterfly in iridescent blue floats by, and a young fawn crosses our path. I am overcome by the beauty of this place and suddenly feel very unworthy to be here. I look down at my tattered, dusty clothes and wonder if I should go on.
The man turns and looks at me, his eyes speaking volumes. The greenery has thickened and I see glimpses of a stone wall behind creeping vines. We encounter a great metal door that opens with just one touch of his hand. Behind the door is an enormous room full of large shelves which seem to go on forever. The shelves are full of glass bottles, each containing a clear liquid in varying amounts. Questions race through my mind, but I leave them unspoken.
He leads me to a shelf and takes down a large bottle. I see my name written across the lid. He speaks, "These are your tears my child. I've kept a record of each one."
I stare in awe, unable to speak. "I see your pain," he says. New tears spring to my eyes and I watch in amazement as a drop appears in the middle of the bottle followed by ever expanding rings like those of a rock thrown into a pond. Another drop follows the first, and then another as tears stream in uncontrollable rivers down my cheeks.
He reaches out his hand and wipes them from my eyes. It is then that I notice the scar. "It is for these tears, I died," he said. He pulls me into his embrace filling me with an overwhelming love, and I know that all will be well.
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8 (New Living Translation)
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