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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: The Message
By Shelley Ledfors


It snowed on her birthday. Not a lot. But even a light dusting is a rare event, here. A mere inch of the fluff--laughable in many locales--is cause for either celebration or commiseration in this area, depending on one’s perspective. Mom fit firmly into the celebratory category so the unexpected blanket of white seemed an appropriate gift.

On my way to the kitchen my gaze fell upon something else which always brought her joy…roses. The vase of lovely yellow blooms which graced the dining table had been sent by a family member as a remembrance in appreciation for all of Mom’s prayers through the years.

I busied myself with the tasks of the morning. Fill the wood stove…brew the coffee…empty the dishwasher…take care of the pets…make the toast. All done automatically--my mind far from these chores. As my husband, son and dad made their appearances I abandoned preparations for attending church. It quickly became clear that none of us was ready…it was just too soon. That Sunday in particular.

We had talked about it ahead of time…we knew that her birthday would be difficult. We had so hoped to celebrate at least one more with her. Oh, don’t get me wrong…we know well how blessed we have been. Her sojourn here was, by any standard, a “good, long life”. …But that doesn’t mean we miss her any less.

A thousand thoughts tumbled through my mind, careening here and there with little direction. Much in the manner of the puppies in the living room trying to play with one another on still-unwieldy limbs…starting, stopping, falling over, trying desperately to run forward but backing up instead…then going through it all again.

One theme which surfaces regularly into my jumble of thoughts is not new. I have pondered these questions before, on similar occasions…

Why is it that we get so caught up in the trivialities of life--desperately pursuing things of little value until a loss or crisis shows us once again what’s really important?

What makes our vision of the truly valuable--the eternal--so limited?

How can we expand it?

Morning chores completed, I wandered to the window to watch the snow fall. Dad sat quietly in the chair next to the window near the comforting warmth of the wood stove, his forehead resting on one hand…his eyes closed. I thought he was asleep.

“She gave me a message.”

“Did she, Dad?”

“This morning…about six o’clock. It was like she stood at the foot of my bed and talked to me. She told me, ‘I’ve been down a long and difficult road these past few years. Finally this week I came to a door. I knocked on the door. Jesus answered…’

It took several moments for each of us to regain enough composure to allow Dad to continue.

’…He asked me if I wanted to come through that door. I told him that I did. Everything changed the moment I stepped through that door. I can walk without help again. I can talk without struggling to find the right word again. The limits I had lived with since the stroke and the broken hip are all gone. I am whole.’”

It’s something we all believed…but Dad’s vision that snowy January Sunday took us beyond a simple belief…it gave us one of those rare glimpses straight into eternity.

My thoughts returned to my former ponderings. We’re human. And because we are, we do see through the glass darkly. Those moments when we gain a sense of our true alliance with the eternal are brief. Once the immediacy of a loss or crisis has passed we do get caught up once again in the world around us…even though we know that we are not really of this world. There are many ways we can deepen our connection with what’s really important…church attendance, prayer, Bible study. But I think another way should be to share our experiences. Perhaps…just perhaps, if we tell our stories--like Dad’s dream--and determine keep such things in mind this might become another means to help us expand our focus on the eternal, while obliged to reside in the temporal.

…Maybe we can even learn to spend more of our time pursuing true treasure instead its pale imitations.

“One of these days, when you can, I want you to write this. People need to know.”

“I will, Dad,” I promised.

…And so I have.


"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” Matthew 6:19-20a NIV

In loving memory--until we meet again...

Bessie Leetch
January 27, 1917 - January 24, 2008

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This article has been read 684 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 02/02/08
Thank you for sharing such a lovely story. The point can't be driven home enough--we need to focus on what really matters in life--relationships between family, relationships with God. Thanks again.
Joanne Sher 02/02/08
Lovely - message, descriptions, and all of it. A wonderful reminder delicately written.
Joy Faire Stewart02/04/08
Beautiful writing style. And I can see it as a devotional, great message.
Jan Ackerson 02/05/08
…Maybe we can even learn to spend more of our time pursuing true treasure instead its pale imitations.

Perfect. And a lovely, lovely tribute. Very moving.

Laury Hubrich 02/06/08
Wow! What a great tribute to your mom. I feel privileged to be able to share this intimate moment with you. Great writing!
Leigh MacKelvey02/06/08
the best writing comes from the heart. This was a fine example of the best writing!
Sara Harricharan 02/06/08
This is simply beautiful-a wonderful tribute to your mother! I like how you started out with the snow, it gave a special, kind of 'magical' feel to it-complete with goosebumps. Wonderful writing! ^_^
Holly Westefeld02/06/08
Shelley, thank you for sharing your heart with us. My prayers are with you, your dad, and all of the family.
Loren T. Lowery02/06/08
First my condolences to you and your family for your loss of such a lovely soul.

Your writing has certainly blessed this reader with your dad's story; and it does help to keep the vision before us. It brings to mind another verse 2 Corinthians 4:18 "So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is not seen. FOr what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

By the way, I love the allegory of the playful dogs - great insight!
Debbie Wistrom02/06/08
Not much tears my eyes, but this one sure did. I appreaciate you sharing. Blessings to you and your family.
Celeste Ammirata02/07/08
What a tender, moving testimony. May God be with you as you and your family go on, until you meet up with her again.
Glynis Becker02/12/08
So powerfully written. I agree with your premise and the need for us to keep this world in its proper perspective. Wonderful work!