Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)
TITLE: Little Does He Know
By Sally Hanan
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Normally I would be the dog, pulling, straining toward the next unturned stone on my walk, but today I need peace, and this is the only place I can sense its presence. I hate being in this valley, hoping these unsteady legs will keep going and walk me out of this helpless state.
My dog groans and squats beside me. He knows he cannot go anywhere without me: his leash has made him my prisoner, and where I go, he goes.
I Ö I am no manís prisoner, but I am one Manís friend, tied with a leash of love. Where He goes, I go? When He stops, do I stop?
As mere spectator of this eminent oceanic cast in action, my eyes search the back drop of the stage to spot a new wave hovering for its cue. It rises in slow motion, sucking up power and height inch by inch Ö until it crashes on the shore, dissipating in sudsy weakness by my feet.
Many times I do not listen to Godís gentle prompt that a new wave is beginning. My eyes are focused, not on the developing ridges and troughs, but on my pressing surroundings. I stand, startled, at the sudden crash of foam at my feet, clueless as to how it got there, frazzled by its intrusion so near, so close. Why have I not been looking in advance? I would have seen where His gaze fell.
My seat must be one of the cheap seats in the theater: cold air slaps my skin, shriveling me into my jacket. A blast of wind elbows me, shouts rudely and pushes my hair into my mouth. Salt - caught up in the droplets of the waves - flies airborne to my mouth. There is no caress here.
My body, should I place this temple daily in His sweet presence alone, would be warm and nurtured, my life open to His touch, no matter who makes me want to curl up and hide. I would hear the gentle whisper as I shelter in the cleft of my Rock. What do I catch from the circumstances of my life and allow the wind to carry to me? What do I allow myself to taste from the breath of life around me?
Beyond the waves is the horizon, and beyond the horizon is the Promised Land.
My vision is limited.
Godís is not.
In this raw state of reception, I make a choice. This moment will not become a memory in a mental storage casket.
This heart that has hardened and been kicked around like the stones on the beach, I give to Him to grind as He pleases. No matter how many waves crash on these shores, I will choose to rest in His palm.
The final curtain falls.
I take pity on the dog and get up, brushing the sand off my jeans. He bounds ahead in relief, as if we are heading for the mountaintop. Little does he know Ė it is in the valley where we find the strength to climb.
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