Hire
Writers
Editors
Home Tour About Read What's New Help Forums Join
My Account Login
Shop
Save
Support
E
Book
Store
Learn
About
Jesus
  

Win A Publishing Package HERE            

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge

BACK TO
CHALLENGE
MAIN

INSTRUCTIONS

how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level

ENTRIES

submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners



Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.





TRUST JESUS TODAY

TRY THE TEST



Share
how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Lifeguard (11/09/06)

TITLE: An Orange Lifejacket
By Beth Muehlhausen
11/13/06


 LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
 SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
 ADD TO MY FAVORITES

An Orange Lifejacket


Panic slices me with frigid precision; I can’t breathe!

“Lord, I feel faint. I’m going under!”

My fate seems inevitable; soon I will drown beneath the torrent’s surly weight. I claw like a palsied rag doll swept downstream in a frothy display of relinquishment.

Iciness seems to press from every side, crushing me. I gasp for breath, overwhelmed both by my circumstance and the paralyzing fear it evokes.

Silenced and literally drowned by despair, I face a raging current of professional opinions and statistics that bludgeon my stricken heart with flood-stage force.

I could lose my voice. I could suffer a relapse. I could die!

Then unexpectedly, I envision myself wrapped in a puffy orange lifejacket – the kind I wore as a child at my dad’s lake cottage. Why has this image appeared? Why can I float and breathe without fear?

I slowly paddle upstream with awkward, laborious strokes. Even though every muscle aches and I doubt my strength, eventually I touch an overhanging tree branch.

Then I hear the sound of a garbled voice. I open my eyes in surprise to find I am not clutching a branch but rather the stainless steel railing along the edge of my hospital bed!

Everything hurts; I can hardly move, or even breathe. Intravenous needles feed my arms and hold me captive. The shadowy walls of my hospital room swirl in the night’s darkness. Am I dreaming? Or was I dreaming, or perhaps hallucinating? A nurse stands by my side, asking me questions.

“Have you been asleep?”

“Yes, I was sleeping. But I had such a strange dream!”

Thick bandages remind me of the previous day. Cancer – the doctor found cancer. I remember faking a stoic smile while internally weeping a monsoon of soulful tears. Those tears pooled in my heart until, in the midst of groggy, drug-induced sleep, I found myself drowning.

“How are your pain levels – zero being none and ten being intolerable?”

“I think I’m at a seven. But please, can I tell you about the dream?”

The nurse seems hardly human. Her angelic face - surrounded by a tall white collar and white crown-like hat - is framed by light streaming into the room from the hallway. She answers by pulling up a chair.

I begin to speak with a faltering voice that requires all my concentration and energy. “Everyone left for the night. I felt really lonely and scared, but then the sleeping pills knocked me out. I dreamed I was drowning in the rapids of some icy mountain river! The images seemed so real until an orange lifejacket turned up.”

The nurse leans onto the steel railing, her face aglow with interest. “An orange lifejacket? What happened then?”

“Well, I started bobbing on the surface of the water, and then I could breathe again. And I thought – no, I knew - I was going to live! Then I touched what I thought was a tree branch along the shore.”

“The orange lifejacket showed up just in the nick of time?”

“Thankfully, yes.”

“So although you were exhausted you were safe again?

“Yes, that’s right. Only the tree branch turned out to be this hospital bed rail.”

I feebly pat the railing and she grabs my hand and holds it in her own.

“Well,” she says as her slate-blue eyes penetrate mine, “It is obvious to me this dream is prophetic. You went through a life-threatening experience, sort of like a near drowning. But a heavenly lifeguard rescued you! I’m technically not supposed to ask things like this, but something tells me to do it anyway.” A peaceful expression breaks across her face; she stares through my eyes and into my soul. “Do you know Jesus?”

I wonder if I hear her correctly.

“Yes, I do.”

“Ah - He’s your orange lifejacket.” She squeezes my hand. “He is here, right now, even though you feel helpless. He is guarding your life!” Tears of discovery and gratitude trickle down her cheeks. “Now I’d better get busy. I need to take a blood sample and get your pain medication.”

She dabs her face with a tissue from my bed tray and finishes her work, then turns toward the door and whispers over her shoulder: “I’ve got a prescription for you, dear girl. Don’t ever take off that orange lifejacket.” With a wink, she is gone.

Ten years later, I’m still following her advice.


The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.


This article has been read 977 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 11/17/06
Although some may think the "dream sequence" is overdone, I think you had a really unique take on it, and it worked. I like the idea of Jesus being an orange life jacket. Great job.
Angela Logsdon11/17/06
We all need to cling to that life jacket!
Joanne Sher 11/18/06
Definitely a VERY unique take on the topic - I love the dream sequence, as well as the nurse's "availability" to interpret it. This was very compelling from beginning to end.
Jan Ackerson 11/20/06
Loved the last sentence--I wasn't expecting it. Wonderful!
Laurie Glass11/20/06
I like this. Easy to follow with great descriptions and it's believeable. Great job. :)
Donna Haug11/20/06
A couple of your descriptive phrases during the dream were a little too wordy for me to follow easily. But I liked the realization that she was coming out of some sort of unconscious situation. Sounded like a sweet nurse.
Maxx .11/22/06
I stumbled over the beginning just a touch ... but who am I to critique someone about extra words! lol! I'm the champion of doing that! I really liked the ending and the message of teh piece. Well done!
Julianne Jones11/23/06
I loved it all. Well done.