Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Year(s) (01/20/11)
TITLE: THE TEARING DOWN OF WALLS
By Lisa Fowler
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Mine, are memories of stress and tension. She, a single parent long before becoming a single parent was popular. Me, introverted, and timid but longing to please.
She was absent throughout most of my teens. Oh, she wasn’t “away, away,” but working, trying to make end meet end; struggling to put food on the table, and braces on an ugly kids’ teeth. A grandmother that could do no less than walk on water, gracefully took the slack. Facing puberty, and loving time spent alone, I grew more introverted and withdrawn with every hour that ticked from the clock.
With friends from a high school of thousands numbering but three, energies flowed into music; into the instrument she said I would never learn to play. School, but for the music, a waste of time and energy. The latter years of my high school sacrificed to “the prettier, more popular, more financially blessed” girls.
Into young adulthood, my crusty shell begged to be chipped away. The ugly kid that somehow couldn’t see over the glasses on the end of her very long nose, was now in the body of an adult. Alas, the caterpillar never bound to blossom into the promised beautiful butterfly.
Married with a daughter of my own, now abruptly, a third generation single mother. Grandmother, absent. Tucked deeply and securely into the arms of a loving Jesus. My mentor, hardened from the blows of her life, now a grandmother herself. Sadly, still lacking skills of tenderness and warmth; skills her mother taught, but she, clouded by the walls of animosity, unwilling to learn. Life leaves little time for the tearing down of walls.
Now into late adulthood, my child grown and on her own, my attentions turn sharply to the lady that gave me life. She, still covered with the hardened scales and tentacles that have served as her protection, in old age, strokes and caresses the long arm of control and power that has served her well through the years. She clings, with every sunrise, tighter to the baggage of resentment and heartache that the blows of life have packed for her. There is no hint of softening; no glimmer of the light of compassion in her eyes. She is hardened by feelings of moral superiority that she thrusts upon the world. She, in the tiny manipulative world of her mind, is never in doubt, and never incorrect.
Ever aware of the level ground at the foot of the cross, and that mercy is free but for the asking, I linger. I watch for signs; for the labor pains of birth of a softening of bitterness. There will be no birth today.
As a loving child, I will wait. Patiently. Hopeful. Eager to be thrown but a tiny morsel of the kindness and softness I observe from the examples of mothers and daughters around me. Praying, as I have through all of my daughters life, that I may show to her the gentle, loving warmth, and tenderness that has been absent throughout mine. There will be no morsel thrown on this day.
I do not pray: “let me not do as she has, but rather, let me show love as You have shown to me.” As a loving Father would, He complies.
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