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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hot and Cold (04/09/09)

TITLE: Dictus Dictus per Sepulchrum
By Sonya Leigh
04/15/09


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We were sweethearts, you and I, in the hallways of our crowded high school and in the care of our youth group meetings. Shy smiles gave way to chiseled gazes. It was not long before I found a place in your arms, upon the cool blades of grass in September.


And then it happened. The car accident. Your hot tears seeped into the pores of my cheek as your shoulders heaved forth the life and times you shared with your brother. Why? You asked. Why was my life spared instead of his? For this is how you saw it. I wanted to reach in and weave together the bare threads of your heart, to strengthen what remained, but I could not entwine what was not mine.


We belonged to God but clung to each other first. Gradually, our love for Him shrank and nestled between us like a fallen feather: out of place and unable to take flight. It was our displaced passion that cooled our hearts toward God. It was our displaced passion that melted away our love for each other.


Always agonizing over the thing that could not be changed, you adopted black and white vision in favor of your softer, Todd-Clyde azures (the name by which I had measured all other shades of blue). I can not live in a gray world, you said. But your black and white world left no room for grace. You dealt harsh judgment upon everyone, including yourself. And in your austere existence there was only room for an occasional nod of approval, which, in the end, turned out to be the same as your judgments.


There was something else. Judgment spread into man-made wisdom, fashioned by the devil himself, which convinced you to defy—and embrace—the thing that took your brother. Speed became your friend, from hang gliding to downhill skateboarding, from surfing enormous waves to drag racing on the streets. Oh, Todd, did you not know that man’s wisdom could not bring about the righteousness of God? Your defiance could never right the death of your brother. Broken limbs and severe abrasions never once made you consider that you were but flesh and bone.


And yet, you longed for a warm fire to melt your shivering soul and so we plunged into the tepid waters of marriage without God at its center. And even in the sacredness of our bed I yearned to, but could not close the gap between us. I was not meant to fill your being with what should have coursed hot for God. Neither could you fulfill in me that which was intended for Him alone.


I knew it then. I knew that if our marriage was to survive the accident I—we—needed to follow hard after Him. But I could not change you. So I knelt in prayer. And I placed you as an offering in the hands of God.


But you left me.


And as you left, I, a frozen vortex once suspended within your arctic world, began to melt. Like blocks of ice upon a fiery furnace, I sizzled and popped from the pain of feeling again. At times it was agony, but at least it began with the honesty of a mustard seed faith in God. From it, He has grown me nearer to Him and he has also called me into ministry; I’m in medical school now, making ready to be part of Doctors of Mercy. It’s what God has made me for. Only the Latin is killing me.


So here I am, five years after it happened again. I am once more reduced to a speech by the grave—dictus dictus per sepulchrum. Only it is you, this time. It is you, my love. Do you know how I’ve ached? I’ve wanted to scream at you; I’ve demanded to know, why—why did you allow your obsession to hunt you to the grave? Only two hours before it happened I read your letter. You hoped it would find me, you said. You hoped we could talk again, you said. You had never stopped loving me. So you said.


Here I sit, heart aflame for God amidst your cold ashes. I also have never stopped loving you. Five years have passed since we buried you in this columbarium. And I am content to see with my own eyes that you are not here; vos es per Deus—you are with God, in His warm, loving hands.


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This article has been read 691 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 04/16/09
Wow!
Charla Diehl 04/16/09
Your title drew me in as did the entire story. So much packed into the limited word count--amazingly done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/18/09
In this beautiful poetic prose is a marvelous story of grace, received and refused.
Jim McWhinnie 04/19/09
Your words filled my soul with tears. So sensitively felt and written.
Karen Wilber 04/19/09
Beautiful poetry in your prose--contrasts of cold and hot toward the end. The tragedy of this story feels very real. I'm curious about where you got the inspiration for your title.
Kristen Hester04/19/09
Wow. This read like a letter (a very passionate one) and it all made sense when I learned she was talking to his grave. Very good. Real emotions. Compelling story. Loved the Latin. (My kids all take Latin. I'll have to test them on your phrases.) Bravo!
Sharlyn Guthrie04/19/09
Beautifully, passionately portrayed.
Jan Ackerson 04/20/09
Heartbreaking, and masterfully written. This just makes me ache--both for your narrator, and for the beauty of your prose.
Ruth Ann Moore04/20/09
That was so incredible.
Shelley Ledfors 04/20/09
Excellent! I'm amazed at how much story and emotion you could fit into the word limit. Beautiful!
Myrna Noyes04/20/09
This is an excellent example of superbly-rendered poetic prose!! Your careful word choices and descriptions enriched this piece so much, and the ending was so well-crafted! I felt so sorry for both his and her losses, but happy that in the end, the woman regained her spiritual and emotional passion.
Dena Wilson04/20/09
Only a person who lost someone close to them could express these emotions so well. To tell all you did in the word limit is amazing. You can really focus in on the important words that needed to be said. Great Job
Sheri Gordon04/21/09
Wow--this hit me hard on so many levels because my parents died in a car accident, almost 5 yrs ago. I understood the black & white world of the brother, pushing God away, everything filtering through "before" and "after" "it". I don't know if you've experienced something like this, but you did an excellent job capturing the total upside down world that accompanies a tragic death. Oh, and superb writing.
Tallylah Monroe04/21/09
This is terrific writing but I have a hard time believing that anyone would ever really talk like this in real life. Especially alone at a graveside. That held me back from enjoying this completely.
Thanks.
Joshua Janoski04/21/09
I am nearly speechless after reading this (and believe me it's hard to make me speechless).

This was masterfully written, and I felt the story unfold as I read this. I mourned with the MC, and you know a piece of writing is good when you begin to actually care for the characters.

Superb! My favorite so far this week!
Sheri Gordon04/23/09
Congratulations on your EC, Sonya. Very much deserved. :)
Loren T. Lowery04/23/09
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Wonderful use of imagery and emotions put into prose. Congratulations on a well deserved EC placement. Loren
Carol Slider 04/23/09
Oh, how heartbreaking and beautiful! Thanks for a very moving and memorable story, and congratulations!
Myrna Noyes04/23/09
CONGRATULATIONS, SONYA, ON YOUR RICHLY-DESERVED EC!! :D You did an awesome bit of writing with this moving story!
Kimberly Michalski04/23/09
Congratulations! Nice work. :)