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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Don’t Look Back (04/19/12)

TITLE: Clutter
By Angela Coleman


Today Mable Adderly had an appointment. With her attic.

For what seemed an eternity, she had promised herself that she would tackle the gargantuan task of cleaning out all the unnecessary clutter in it, but something always came up...or, at least, she pretended it did. She just could not face dealing with the disorganized piles of stuff there. Most of all, she dreaded the job of facing what the things inside reminded her of. She had stuffed, over the years, everything she wanted to forget, delay or hide there.

If she could have, she would have left it alone, despite the fact that a not-so-pleasant aroma was starting to ooze out. Then she happened to look at one of those reality television shows on hoarding one night and it scared her that she might have the makings of one of "those people." To prove to herself that this was not the case, she made the decision to spend the weekend going through the dreaded attic.

Pulling down the ladder, she gingerly climbed her way up into the space. The musty smell made her wince.

"Whew!" she grimaced, as she reached the top. Pulling on a string that turned on the light, she was shocked to see the chaos she had accumulated. Endless numbers of boxes, hangers with old clothes that had gone out of fashion decades ago, stacks of mildewed books and more. It took some effort to find an area she could move through, so she carefully pushed some of the things aside until she made her way over to a spot where she could kneel.

She was beside a large cardboard box, which took a bit of time to open. Inside was her old Freestone Valley Christian High School cheerleader uniform. She took it out and unfolded it. Had her waist really been that small back then? The memories associated with that outfit immediately overtook her. Her life had been so full of promise at that time. She was so young and optimistic, so full of faith. She was going to change the world.

Then, of course, things got dramatically off track.

In s moment of recklessness, she and Justin, her boyfriend at the time, had given into passion and a pregnancy had resulted. She had been forced to leave school once her condition was known. Despite her parents’ insistence that she give her baby girl up for adoption, she decided to keep her. All their dreams of her attending college were dashed, as she had to get a job to take care of little Brianna, as Justin was uninvolved. It seemed like the disappointment her folks had felt had never left and even now, years later, she could still sense it.

Looking over at a rack, she saw her wedding gown. She pulled the protective plastic covering off and ran her fingers over the intricately beaded front of the dress. When she had married Ben, she’d thought it would be a new start.

“Forever begins today,” he had whispered in her ear after they’d exchanged vows.

That promise fell short as her husband became overwhelmed with the task of caring for a wife and stepchild and, within two years, their relationship was over. Within twenty years, Brianna had grown up, moved out and rarely even called her.

As Mable went through other boxes and collections of reminders of her past, tears she had long avoided crying flowed freely.

Disappointments. Failures. Loss. None of which she had wanted to face. Yet, here it was now, all set before her.

Suddenly, she had a revelation.

The clutter was not just what had accumulated in that attic, but what she had allowed to accumulate in her spirit. God wanted to set her free from those things that were over and move her life ahead.

Forgetting those things that were behind and pressing forward to the mark of the high calling.

“Yes, Lord, “ she said, quietly, “You’re right. It’s time to finally clean up this mess.”

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This article has been read 275 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 04/28/12
This made my heart ache and smile at once. The memories that were lingering in her "attic" and her heart were finally dusted off, cleared away and decluttered!

Beautiful job with this...thank you. God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/01/12
This brought tears to my eyes. I thought it was quite clever to compare the mess in one's house to the mess in one's heart. Your descriptions were spectacular. I could picture the mess and almost smell the smells. You did a fantastic job of writing on topic in a fresh and unique POV. My heart hurt for Mabel, maybe because I can see part of me in her. Your message is a reminder that I will take to heart. Also I just have to love a story that uses the word gargantuan! :)
Lois Farrow05/01/12
Beautifully written, and a great message.
Ellen Carr 05/04/12
Beautifully written, engaging and moving. Congratulations on your 2nd place