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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Guard Your Heart (06/08/12)

TITLE: Chayah 'Life'
By Maria Kana Santos


It’s dismally cold. And it's summer.

The worst of wintry days were just yesterday! Miserably cold.

I’m getting old! Alone. Six months since I made my mid-year plans.

And then, liberty!

I can’t help feel the brunt. Am I missing out? I just can't point a finger at what it is.

Eighteen! My mind conspires in picking up a fight. Or for a chase. It races like horses’ hooves. With every fleeting moment, life passes me by. Life, if I have one, can’t mount up.

Life wastes me by. If I have a tinge to bewilder me to a much higher level of existence. One life? It's now or never.

And I choose life to the fullest. To the best I know it. Dreams don’t just die down. One can actually make them come alive. I'm eighteen, and I can fully understand the parameters of my very existence. I have ponderings about future. And they do not just dissipate into nothingness. I will choose the ending I want it to be.

I’ve heard the whispers behind my head. And I believe them-- The persistent buzzing in my head.

My plans must take place. No one can stop me.

I’m in the premise of making changes for myself. Momma and Dad’s queer ideas about how I, with Dad’s-decision-in-everything should run my life. Their crazy notions might have some truths. I admit, they bear a lot of good about what my parents tell me to 'protect my heart.'

If that’s the case, I’d be fifty and would still be under my father’s nose.

“I want to give you away properly. To God’s-will for a husband one day.” Dad often injected this idea in our heads about staying home.

I couldn’t get around that old-fashioned family values. Momma’s compliance to the jot-and-tittle gives me goose bumps too.

Setting that aside, I’m beginning to feel some disgust with that limping idea about what I’ve allowed to embrace and believe.

My plans. My future. It’s cosy thinking about it. They’re mine--deeper in my familiar comfort zone.

Writing has lost its charisma. Facebook blogging has lost its charm. My passion for writing has died. But I haven't phased out my conventional diary.

I know who my true friends are. But they live far. I know they love me, pray for me. But they don’t appeal to me as much as they used to. They’re stuck in their old-fashioned notions. Their narrow ways are just beyond me. I'm too old for that now.

I’m leaving home. No life here.

Dad tells me, “The Bible says, ‘Guard your heart, ‘For out of it are the issues of life.’”

I try to make sense out of this one: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing before You, O, YHVH, rock and my redeemer.”

How do I start changing myself? Do I need to? Or do my parents’ views?

I imagine how pleased Dad and Momma would be to see me improved somehow, someday.

But on whose standards?

The fundamentalists'? I heard them call themselves that. Everyone voices out his own ideas about God. That THE church is some kind of 'Jesus-chosen'. Has God replaced His chosen people for the Church? Did He? This whole conundrum is just beginning to make me sick and tired of it.

Church is just a Sunday get-together of bunch of actors playing some kind of role-modelling.

I can predict life here.

Saturday. I jumped up with a start and flurried to find my dress. Adel swept our room again, and hung my dress in the closet. I want them just where I left them last night. And why couldn’t Samantha stop poking in my scanty wardrobe!

“Late again, Sis,” Tim smirked and teased.

“If I spent half as much time looking for my things, I wouldn’t have half as much time coming down late!”

I would have preferred a stern, open rebuke than a sigh from Momma. A chance at answering back would have been more freeing.

Momma was sitting by the window in her rocking chair, reading to the children. It’s Sabbath. Left alone, those were her usual quiet-rest days.

But my life’s tucked in a mortal shell.

“Momma, I wonder what you find when you’re up early for study and prayer?”

“O, things that matter to God which I’m beginning to understand.”

“I’m not sure anymore what’s life for me.”

“Jesus is Life. He is the living, breathing Word of the Most High.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 06/17/12
This is such a good story. I enjoyed this so much. Clever use of the topic. Thanks. God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/21/12
Wow this piece really resonated with me. I could feel my youngest who is getting ready to graduate from high school in just two days say many of these things. You did a spectacular job of journeying into the mind of an 18 yo. Congratulations.
Maria Kana Santos06/21/12
Thank you so much! I'm blessed by your comments. I identify with my youngster-character in this true to life story--only through her mind that I'm able to express in writing. The Lord's blessings to you, fellow-writers. Maryknoll