Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)
TITLE: Heaven is Where the Home Is
By Bryan Coomes
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The entry gate was gently tossed about in the breeze, its slight creaking like the sound of a poorly tuned violin. As I approached, a sudden gust caused the gate to swing wide open as if welcoming me home. Stopping a second before proceeding through, I peered at the cobbled walkway that Dad had purposefully and tirelessly fashioned those many years ago. I remember watching him carefully place each piece only to pick it up, brush it off, and rotate it ever so slightly until he finally smiled and then replaced it, more often than not, as it had originally been set. Those stones were uneven now, some raised, others cracked, and still others missing pieces and generally looking quite weather worn. Dried and dying remnants of weeds that had sprung up amongst the cracks and crevices littered the once inviting pathway.
My eyes followed the path to the front porch that held such fond memories of my childhood. Mom and Dad used to sit quietly together each evening on the porch swing, Dadís arm around her as she snuggled up to him, both enjoying each otherís company and delighting in just watching us kids frolicking about the yard. I had spent many an hour daydreaming while gently rocking on that swing which was now missing a board from the seat and dangled by only one of its mounting chains. The posts and spindles that once were a bright gleaming white had turned ashen in color and more than a handful of spindles were either broken or missing while the far corner post was shortened and supported by a cinder block. Upon reaching the front porch I paused to turn and gaze about the once lush lot only to find the toll that the apparent years of neglect had taken.
Turning back to face the house I was drawn to the familiar soft glow twinkling through the sheer and lace draperies that adorned the large bay window in the living room as well as the glass inlaid entry door. That beacon shone forth as the first sight of comfort since my arrival; the light bringing a soothing to my soul. I slowly opened the storm door that was devoid of screen or glass and banged firmly on the entry door that unexpectedly fell open at my knock. Stepping into the foyer my eyes were immediately pulled down the center hall to where the source of the light emanated from around a corner, adjacent to the kitchen. As quickly as the soothing calm had come, I found that it had vanished without a trace.
The wood floors creaked underfoot with each step as I was compelled like a moth to a flame to move toward the light. My breathing deepened as I took in the air that once would have wafted with any manner of delightful aromas but now was rife with naught but dank mustiness. Psalm 23 began pouring from my lips, combating the anxiety that heightened with each step as I passed through cobwebs, noticed several critters scurrying about, and drew nearer to the turn at the end of the hall that would reveal the source of the slowly pulsating light. Pausing one final moment, I concluded the Psalm, ďand I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever,Ē and then turned the corner.
The angel was hovering in the spot where my parentís bodies had been found. This was the first time I had returned to the house since they were murdered over twenty-five years ago. The angelís smile put me at ease and his words were a balm to my soul. ďFear not, for your parents dwell in the house of the LORD.Ē
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