Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Cousin(s) (05/22/08)
TITLE: Lucy in the Sky
By Marilee Alvey
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At two years old, Lucy could only toddle in a circle, walking on pointed toes turning inward. At the Chicago Shriner’s Hospital, the doctors cut her Achilles tendons and fashioned an accordion pleat down the back of her heels. Though I was only nine at the time, I remember playing with the brown paper strip displaying the concept gingerly, gazing at the tiny display on which our hopes rested. Two years old and casts on both legs. That’s a tough assignment…for the child and the parents. It was only the beginning.
Lucy’s brothers and sisters continued to grew like yeast rolls put out to rise on a summer day. Cheerleading, proms, sports, awards all came their way, but not so with my cousin, Lucy. One summer we went camping and, due to her uneven gait, Lucy fell into the campfire. The resultant burns on her face and arms were painful and difficult to treat, especially in one who didn’t have the mental capacity to fully understand.
Several years later, Lucy had mastered learning to ride a bicycle. It was a great victory and so liberating for her. She often enjoyed going for a ride on her bike, alone. Her brother and sisters had now left home, and, now, in a small way, if only for a little while, she could, too. For Lucy, however, each silver lining had a cloud not far behind it. One day she was riding her bicycle…and got hit by a bus. She broke some bones and recovered, but never rode her bike again. A few years after her bicycle accident, she had a bad fall down some concrete steps. Epilepsy was now added to her grocery list of challenges.
Lucy now lives in a group home. She used to have a sweet tooth and enjoyed chocolate, but now she has diabetes so her diet has had to be strictly monitored. She walks poorly, with a cane. She has tremors because she now suffers from Parkinson’s, as well.
Does time fly….or crawl? Can a lifetime on Earth seem like we’re already walking in Eternity? The Bible tells us that, as believers, we already are. I think that, to Lucy, it must seem she is…but she resides in a gated community where others flourish in plain sight while she is restricted.
As Christians, we are told that our trials build character. However, the rest of the story lies in the next world, not our current “lab school” where we receive our daily training. The Holy Spirit whispers to me that Lucy will be a spiritual giant in the next life. I pray that he confides the same to her. Pure rapture will bubble out of my throat when I first see her running toward me, healthy, strong and whole. Just imagining this reunion is electifying.
Lucy was never sent as a bad seed, a DNA reject, some technical failure. Those dandelion seeds of hope that failed to grow were never meant to bloom here. The hope for Lucy, as for all of us, lies in the future. Most of us seek it here on Earth, but Lucy daily reminds us of where our hope truly lies. She is the seed of Promise that God has vowed will bloom, radiantly, in the light of Forever.
For now, I sit quietly beside her on the couch. She gently pats my hand.
“I love you, cousin,” she quietly says, pauses, then repeats her blessing, again and again.
“I love you, too, Lucy,” I answer, willing myself to be weighed down, for only a moment, by unbearable limitations she has faced for fifty years before I depart for sunshine and the door.
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