Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)
By Dianna Schnabel
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She continued to ignore the priest’s ramblings about the riches of heaven as she thought about all she had lost this past year. It wasn’t enough that Richard had died of a heart attack at thirty-seven. Now she had to sit through her son’s funeral and pretend to be grateful he was in “a better place.”
Amy didn’t even know if she believed in heaven anymore. If God really existed He had clearly abandoned her family. The day of Tommy’s boating accident God had ripped out her heart and replaced it with an emptiness that threatened to consume her like a black hole. She didn’t think she would ever forgive Him for that.
The interminable service finally ended with a breezy rendition of “Mansion over the Hilltop.” Amy spent the next hour with a false smile pasted on her face as people hugged her sympathetically and assured her of God’s sovereignty.
After the funeral Amy drove home, the black hole of her heart widening as she pulled into the familiar cobblestone driveway. She laid her head down on the steering wheel and wondered how she was going to make it through the next few months. The lovely turn-of-the-century brick house that she and Rick had restored would now have to be sold. Her income as a Kindergarten teacher wasn’t enough to make ends meet.
** ** ** ** ** **
Amy sat in the waiting room at Children’s Hospital, twisting an unused Kleenex between her fingers. Her life had finally taken on a comfortable pace after the deaths of Rick and Tommy. She had sold the house and moved into a small apartment near the school where she taught. And although she spent most of her free time alone, she had grown used to the silence and loneliness that permeated her life.
But now here she was, sitting on the orange plastic chairs of her nightmares, waiting for word on one of her students. Sally was the only one who had penetrated the icy shell of Amy’s heart since Tommy’s death. With her blonde curls and shining blue eyes, Sally reminded Amy of how Tommy had looked as a toddler. Her joyful spirit was contagious, reaching out to Amy like soft whispers of hope. Amy’s eyes stung as she thought about that precious child laying in a sterile hospital bed, surrounded by a white desert of sheets and tiles.
Amy heard the clicking footsteps in the hallway that heralded Dr. Malina’s approach. She straightened up, bracing herself like a veteran soldier about to enter a battlefield.
Dr. Malina’s silver spectacles set off the silver strands in her French braid. “Mrs. Jameson,” she began, “Sally’s parents have asked me to give you an update. As you know, Sally suffers from a rare heart condition. Right now her heart is too stressed to continue supporting her, and there isn’t much we can do to help.”
“I see,” answered Amy, tears again pricking painfully at her eyelids. “May I go back and see her now?”
Amy picked up her purse and followed Dr. Malina to the PICU room where Sally lay hooked up to equipment as if she were a power strip. She gave Sally a half-hearted smile and took her tiny hand. “Hello, Sally. We miss you at school.”
Sally’s smile lit up the room as always. “Mrs. Jameson, you’ll never guess! I had a talk with Jesus and He said He’s coming to get me real soon.”
Amy’s façade broke for the first time in two years. The smile fell from her lips and tears began to run down her face like flood-swollen creeks.
Sally frowned at Amy. “Don’t be sad, Mrs. Jameson. I know Mr. Jameson and your little boy are up in heaven too, and now I can tell them hello for you. Besides, Jesus loves us more than anything in the whole wide world. He’ll take care of me while I’m up there.”
Amy’s tears grew into full-fledged sobs as Sally’s profession of faith cracked a final blow to her ice-encased heart, releasing all of her anger and making room for the Savior to enter in.
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