Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: End (02/13/06)
TITLE: The Letter (ii)
By Stephanie Bullard
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You know I never asked for this life. I never wanted it. To spend my days taking the lives of other people, and my nights lying on the cold, heartless ground, terrified that someone is out there, trying to take mine. I have watched friend after friend lie gasping for pain after taking a shot to the leg, the arm, the abdomen, the face. I have seen some so totally disfigured that only their Savior would recognize them. I have held some of them in my arms as they gave up the fight and have taken their last, hurriedly scribbled notes to send to their families. I have grown so accustom to the sounds of guns, the smell of sulfur, and fear and death that they no longer shock my senses, and indeed if I go too long without the report of gunfire, I grow uneasy. That is the worst. To lie concealed in the shadows, clinging to a gun as a young child clings to its mother in a storm and wonder what terrors hide in the silence. I have cried out to God time and again. Does He not see the horrors that grip us in their malevolent fists without reprieve? Does He not care? I have cursed Him, questioned Him, pleaded with Him, and always His answer is the same: “My grace is sufficient.” And though I have witnessed atrocities to which no man should ever be subjected, I have found that His strength does indeed uphold me. It is by His hand that I press on.
You know that I never wanted this life. Which is why I felt it so very important that I write you this letter. Please know that I have never felt a greater sense of pride or deep-flowing worth than I do when I stand beside my fellow country-men and boldly announce that we will not give in without a fight! I have made friendships that will hold solid through whatever this life can conjure and that cannot be severed even by death. I have learned what “united” truly means, and I have come to see that the only way a man can make it through this dark world is by falling on his knees before the God Almighty and crying out in humility, “Not my will, but thine!”
And as I lie here, penning this, my eyes growing dim and my hand sluggish, I want you to know that in the end, my regrets are only these few: that I will never see your faces on this earth again, that I will miss Arlene’s wedding next summer, that I cannot hold my nephew in my arms and see his sweet smile once more.
I never wanted this life. But I have been more proud to have been a part of it than I can possibly explain. And know this: I may never see you again, but very soon, I am going Home.
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