Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)
TITLE: It All Started at the End of an Axe
By Jae Blakney
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It was some time in January, 2008, and we had run out of firewood--except for the huge chunks, full of knots, that I normally left for my brother to split. But my brother had moved away and we needed the wood because I had no money to buy fuel for the propane heater.
As a single mother I was trying desperately to make a living from home. New Hampshire does offer daycare assistance, but I had learned from experience that the State doesn’t pay for days when the daycare centers are closed. I had lost too many jobs already to daycares that turned my daughter away at the door because I couldn’t pay them for the days they provided no service.
I needed to somehow make this wood fit into the stove. If I didn’t heat the house with wood, then the gas furnace would turn on, and my mother would be obliged to pay for the gas. My mother didn’t even live there--she had gone to Ethiopia as a missionary. Besides, senior citizens should be helped by their children, not the other way around.
I grabbed an axe and started on the big chunks. With patience and a lot of work I was able to split some of them, and eventually only the biggest, hardest, knottiest ones remained.
I got the axe head stuck in a piece that probably weighed about 20 pounds. So I lifted the axe, with the wood stuck on it, took a deep breath and jumped into the blow. Nothing happened. I lifted it higher, held my breath and tried to put the full strength of every possible muscle into it this time.
The wood didn’t break, but something in my body did. The doctors said it could be my diaphragm, and there was nothing they could do.
It seemed to end in September. I was finally able to stand, sit and talk without pain. But in January, winter chores brought back the tearing pain between my lungs and my stomach.
When will it end? I don’t know. I guess that means that right now I don‘t need to know. One of my favorite verses is Daniel 4:35b: “He doeth his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou?” (KJV) I can’t change this situation by worrying, any more than I can change the weather by worrying. It’s just not up to me.
I don’t know when it will end, but I do know that it will end well. And if this experience follows the pattern I’ve seen so far, it’s preparing me for joyful beginnings.
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