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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Elephant in the Room (12/05/13)

TITLE: Stumbling Through Elephants
By Judith Gayle Smith


Stench nauseatingly wisps its unwelcome, sinuous depressing threads, permeating an atmosphere that would normally be dripping with sweetness and light. I, who cannot stop retching, am vainly stretching - searching for any light to illumine the dying rotting bloated victim that must be found and decently buried.

I am captivated by Romans 7:24 KJV:

“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

Shaking and gagging, taking shallow sobbing breaths, I stumble through unimaginable liquefying maggot-ridden horror. I weep as I creep through this unholy deep . . .

I cannot abide to remain in this hell hole, so aptly named. Except that it does not remain in Hell – its stink permeates and floats about me like gnats swarming an unrecognizable road kill.

It obnoxiously, almost cheerfully heralds my entrance into all avenues of polite and impolite society. Oddly, I am the only one aware of this. Like wearing clothes inside-out, and no friendly someone commenting until the workday has ended.

Please tell me how to unload this – sin. Please acknowledge that you see that which I have hidden within for years. Surely you see it. You must see my true potential, blindly rushing to my swampy grave. Putrefying.

Oddly, my sin once fit me so exquisitely. How it feathered over me so entrancingly, lovely and graciously enveloping me in its fuzzy warmth like an affectionate clinging Persian cat in full purr . . .

It made me stand out in all crowds – this sin of self. Exuding exquisite confidence, wearing clothes that mother said were inappropriate.

Dear mother said a lot of things that, to me, were inappropriate. Shall I paste all my angst, my histrionics, my “acting out” on dear sweet mom? Blaming her for my sins is running from blatant responsibility. But so easily believed by so many . . .

Dressed alluringly – my husband said I looked like I was advertising for what I didn’t have at home. Unholy giggles convulse me at this – I didn’t have “it” at home. I thrived, thrilled at the appreciative lingering eyes caressing my aching heart within my provocative frame.

Tell me you see it – this putrid monolith accompanying me. Little red flags poke up through the disgusting ooze, plaguing me with little girl memories of an omniscient, omnipresent holy Father. I could blame Him. If He hadn’t set up that cursed Ten Commandments I would not be caught sinning against Him.

Adultery. A nasty word for seeking for love in all the right/wrong places. I didn’t know that my flaunting my “style” opened the door for thoughts that would damn many a man to keep me company in Hell. I didn’t even need to fornicate. You just can’t win.

Do you see it yet? The sin that defines and shapes me? The self-pride that refuses to humble my spirit so that I can cry out to God? Why can I slosh through this muck and you not be splattered with the rot? This is infuriating. Making me very angry. You do not want to see me angry. Not pretty at all.

I am not pretty now. I look in the mirror and see the swarming morass of my sins. You must see it too. How can you help me to struggle with it, shrug it off, if you agree with it? I don’t need mollycoddling – I need deliverance from this living livid nightmare. I desperately need you to see what now horrifies, shames me to the brink of madness.

Please do not agree with my sins, telling me I had every reason to escape a physically loveless marriage. Annulment? I was told this by a loving nun, attempting to comfort me when I was the most grieved. She could not or perhaps refused to see my sin.

My question is, if I wasn’t truly “married”, did I actually sin against my husband by allowing other men to enjoy what he couldn’t? And if not adultery, was it acceptable behavior to fornicate?

I see the sin. I live in it, swim in it. I am drowning in sin – “Oh wretched woman that I am, who shall save me from this body of sin?”

Jesus allows me to see my sin for the hideous disease it truly is. God has given me His unbelievable gift of repentance through Jesus, His Son. You might not wish to see the reality of my sin, but Jesus does – and forgives me.

Thank you Lord . . .

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This article has been read 429 times
Member Comments
Member Date
lynn gipson 12/14/13
Oh my. I had to read this one twice. I got it! It is exquisitely written about my own past as well, I will not lie. And yes, Jesus sees my sin and forgives me.

Your use of descriptive words slays me. Excellent!
Noel Mitaxa 12/14/13
Graphic and totally credible depiction of the other side of sin's allure, told with a powerful sense of authenticity. How clearly do we need to stay focused on all that God is calling us to do for him and for others, to keep from succumbing to satan's accusations of memories that cannot be changed - but which can be forgiven through God's grace.
This should rate highly.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/14/13
This is a powerful piece. I applaud your courage in your transparency. It is like many to cover up sin. The thing is we need not to make it more appealing because Jesus came and died just for that reason. He can make us clean once more.

For me it bordered on the purple prose side. I understand why you did it, but I may have held back just a tad on some of the bigger words and told it in more common language. That is just my opinion though and others may see it as being quite helpful to your message,

Your message is a powerful one and one we all need reminding of. In our desire to help others feel better, we need to be careful to not cover up too much of the stench of sin, but hand it over to Jesus, beg for forgiveness and go out into the world as a new person. Great job overall. Very provocative and thought-provoking--the earmarks of good writing.
Sheldon Bass 12/16/13
Wow, hugely potent portrayal of the human condition that the Apostle Paul referred to in Roman's 7. I love the fact that Paul and you answer the question, "Who will rescue me from this body of death?" Paul answered, "Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." He is the answer to our hearts dirty condition!

This is quite the descriptive piece, almost too much, but not quite. It forces the MC's sense upon the reader, pulling us right into the fray. Good job!
Ruth Ann Moore12/16/13
I am so glad I read this twice. Certainly a piece that one can identify with more and more if we were to truly look at ourselves. I love the hope given to the reader at the end, as true forgiveness is found in Jesus Christ; a gift to undeserving man.
Anne Warden 12/17/13
We all have sins that threaten to pull us under.

Thanks be to God, He sent His Son to pull us out of the mire and make us white as snow.

A very well-written piece, Judi. Thank you for the reminder to continue striving for the perfection Messiah offers us.
Judith Gayle Smith12/19/13
All your comments bless and encourage this old gal - thank you. I love you all . . .
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/20/13
Congratulations on your first place win in your level and for ranking 15 overall! (The highest rankings can be found on the message Boards.)Happy Dance!!
Bea Edwards 01/07/14
Epic descriptions of the sin that so easily besets us.

This one in particular I struggled with too, not realizing the damage my provocative (sleezy to be truthful) style created.

It breaks my heart that I can't explain it to the young women in my life without seeming judgmental.

My 5 year old granddaughter is already mimicking the 'stars' of this age.

Let us all pray that the spirit of enticement be broken from our youth and a spirit of innocence again become the norm!
Bea Edwards 01/07/14
By the way-- congratulations on your win and thank you for the risk you took sharing this with us.
Dusty Fontaine 01/16/14
It seems nobody wants to talk about the dead elephant in the room. You did, and I am very moved by it.

Your description of sin, reveals the reason our Father can not even look upon us (Isaiah 59:2,) until Christ Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9.)

This is a wonderful piece and deserved to win this challenge. Well done! Congrats!