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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: River (08/31/06)

TITLE: No Return
By jean Clarkson


No Return

I stand on the hard sand, staring at the dark waters, I shudder in the chill wind whipping my hair into my face. Fear and loneliness hold me rigid on the shore.
Every day, the pain engulfs me when I wake. I turn to touch him, but he is not there. The pain stabs through me and I face the river of my grief again.
I cry out, God, you who took him from me, You who lifted him from pain. How can I bear the loss?
You say, “Plunge in. The only way around is through the pain. Trust me.”
Can I do this?
Slowly I sit up. My feet grope for my slippers and I move unthinking through the day’s routine. At work, I bury myself in details. I clean a patient’s teeth, write notes, and force a smile.
Does no one know the world cracked apart the day he died?
“Trust me,” You say again. “I give you power. Fight against the current of the grief that threatens to submerge you. You will come out strong on the other side.”
I shiver on the shore, but I am drawn by Your compassion. I abandon myself to You. With one deep breath, I plunge into the waters.
I can feel You with me. Buoyant now, I rest in you. The waters do not overwhelm me. I can move through this dark time because of You.
Lord, I believe. Help Thou my unbelief.
I trust in You.

- end

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Member Comments
Member Date
Donna Haug09/07/06
What a powerful view of grief. So heartfelt. I would suggest leaving spaces between your paragraphs just to make it easier to read. One more note: when you make a direct quote, don't forget your quotation marks. ie. I cry out, "God, you who took him from me..." It felt like you knew what you were talking about. What a comfort to know that God's presence carries us through those dark waters.
geoff anderson09/07/06
An image that works well, the river of grief that has to be crossed.
I liked how the piece is peppered with prayers and God's guidance.
This could be an uplifting help to people experiencing grief.
One detail. I would have wished that the going to work and getting on with the daily grind had come AFTER she'd taken the plunge into the river of grief, because it is precisely getting on with the daily mundanity of living that is needed when crossing that river.
The way it's written just might give the impression (which I don't think you intended, because you mention the 'dark time' ahead) that once you've taken the plunge and accepted the pain of grieving that it somehow becomes easy. Isn't God saying that he's with you in the pain, and that it will end at some point, not that he removes the pain now? As I say, I'm sure it's what you're saying - the pain will still be there but because of God it won't overwhelm you - but I would have liked that made clearer. I worry about Christians who say that grief is a sign of weak faith. In my book, grief is a sign of love.
Whatever, you have written beautifully on the theme and created a sensitive piece about the challenge of grief and our dependency on God's mercy. Thanks for that.
Marilyn Schnepp 09/08/06
Short, sweet and immensely touching. Such wisdom and encouraging hope in so few words. It touched my heartstrings...I loved it.