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

TITLE: This Empty Shell
By Carole Robishaw


My eyes are hot from the tears. My anger, from what I allow him to do to me over and over again, makes my blood boil. But I keep letting it happen. I just canít seem to learn from experience. Why? Is it love? Do I still love him, after all this? Or am I just afraid to walk away?

Yes, I do still love him, but not with the heat of desire, not any more. More out of habit, maybe. Or because heís the father of my child. Or because I just donít want to be alone.

I love him because I made the choice that I would. For better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, whether heís a jerk or not. Itís not like heís always a total idiot. There have been numerous times through the years when he brought tears of joy to my eyes, or made me smile when I didnít want to. Heís a good man, just not always good at making the right choices. He makes foolish mistakes. His intentions are good, but what good are intentions without follow-through? Heís loving, and giving, too much so sometimes. Others get to be on the receiving end, when I wish it were his family.

Our desire seems to have gone cold. We share the same bed at night. But we never reach out for each other any more.

We eat together. We watch a few shows together in the evenings. We go to church together. I donít remember the last time we really talked together. Itís like weíre roommates, not a married couple of several decades.

Where did the fire go? The hot passion that made our blood boil just looking at each other. I would gladly settle for something warm, instead of hot, if it meant we still communicated. Now, we just get excited over television shows, or cheering on our grandkids. The dog gets more attention than I do.

Is this what marriage is all about? Is this the choice I made? To share my life, till death do us part, with someone who is self-destructive, and insists on taking all of us with him?

I would gladly trade the heat of anger for the heat of passion. But I donít have the energy to figure out how. So instead we coldly share our lives. Waiting.

Iím so worn out just trying to exist that I no longer have any joy in life. Even my jubilant three-year-old granddaughter barely breaks through my ďI really donít care anymoreĒ feeling.

I want to be on fire again. I want to find that passion for life I once knew. I want to know that my life was, and still is, worth something, to someone. God, hear my plea! Help me find a way to turn this empty shell back into aÖ I donít know. Into something productive.

I want to be someone that can see the roses instead of the thorns. I want my tears to be because Iím laughing so hard, not because Iím angry and afraid.

God, hear me. Please help me turn this cold life back into something on fire. To find the energy to seek after my dreams. I need the heat of passion for you, oh God. I need the zeal to do what you would have me doing. If not, then God, please take me home. If I still have something left to do, then Lord, I canít do it by myself.

Help me God, please! I want to leave a legacy for my grandchildren that will show them your power and glory. I want them to see you shine brightly in my life, not be hidden in this cloud of despair. I want them to know, in this day of disposable marriages, that love still exists. That it is a good choice, not a burden.

Help me, oh Lord, to find again the dreams that you gave me so long ago. Help me, please, to seek after them, to strive to fulfill them instead of abandoning them along the wayside because I no longer have the strength to lift my head to see them.

Help us, Lord, to enjoy our growing old together, instead of just waiting. Waiting for it to be over.

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This article has been read 551 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Margaret Gass04/19/09
You have described well an emptiness that all too many feel, and I suspect that is partly why no one is commenting. If this is true for you or someone you know, perhaps the "he" in this story needs to read this entry...he may be numb as well. After this read--perhaps a film, FIREPROOF. Blessings to you.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/19/09
This poignant prayer for God's help is beautifully written. I kept thinking as I read it that God answers prayers that are in His will, and He makes it clear in His Word of the sanctity of marriage, as well as how a husband and wife are to treat each other in love.
Jan Ackerson 04/19/09
Poignant, with a very real feel. Great job with the topic.
Catrina Bradley 04/19/09
What did he do to her over and over? Why was he self-destructive?? Ooh, this good. Well written - telling us enough, but not airing the nasty laundry. And it her lament sounds so natural and real! -- the 2nd paragraph sounds a little to real. Very nice!
Kristen Hester04/19/09
Nice job! I am sure many can relate to the feelings and emotions expressed here. You communicate the MC's feelings well. It does work as a prayer. I would also havee liked to see a little more "showing." Put the couple in a situation where we see the feelings she's talking about. Just a suggestion. Good!
Carol Slider 04/19/09
How terribly, terribly sad. I hope that the MC will continue to pray, and will also seek guidance from a counselor (perhaps a minister or trusted Christian friend). I know this is well-written, because it made me really want to help this woman. Well done.
Sonya Leigh04/19/09
I agree that this is a very compelling read.

I would love to know what it was that he kept doing, because somehow it would validate her strong emotions (at least, in my mind).

I just love how her faith kicks in at this desperate moment. Thanks be to God that we have Him to turn to. Good job.
Betty Castleberry04/19/09
I could feel your MC's despair and emptiness as I read this.
Nice job with the topic.
Sharon Kane04/20/09
You did a fantastic job of portraying a marriage gone cold. I also needed to 'see' what he was doing to her to cause the downward slide. I think you could have tightened the prayer and freed up some word allowance to show us more of what the problem was.
My favourite line was the bit about being a jerk. What a great addition to the wedding vows!!
Dena Wilson04/20/09
I also found myself looking for what he did that was so bad. Leaving it a mystery though probably lets the reader add their own experiences to the story. I really felt connected to the mc.
Beckie Stewart04/22/09
This is well written showing the inner struggles and depth a hurting heart crying out for God and the hope only He can give in the difficulties of life. Thanks for writing this. I so understood many parts of this in regards to my relationship with my mother though.
Laury Hubrich 04/22/09
This relating to each other after the children are gone is a hard struggle but you allude to much more than that here. Many will relate to this, that I am sure of.