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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)

TITLE: Trapped
By Sheri Gordon


Help! Help! Somebody please help me. I need to wake up. I’m dying in here, and no one is helping me.

As I lie in a state of I-don’t-know-what, I try to reach someone…anyone. I don’t know what is happening to me, but I know I am deathly afraid…and something is deathly wrong.

I am floating in and out of consciousness, but no one ‘out there’ seems to know this. I hear them talking…or am I merely dreaming? I have to fight to wake up. They have to know I’m in here, trying desperately to get out.

Please shake me. Somebody shake me awake. I need help…I can’t come out of this by myself.

And then I’m gone. To where? Did I die? This is not like the near-death experiences I’ve read about. I don’t see any bright light. I do not feel an overwhelming peace. I feel alone…so alone. So cold. Did I die and go to hell? Is this what hell is…eternal aloneness? What about the fiery furnace?

I remember when Grandma was dying…she talked about seeing her sisters and mom. I don’t see anyone.

Is someone there? Anyone?

And Grandma kept saying ‘I can’t decide,’ like she was stuck between two worlds. Well, I can decide, and I don’t want to be trapped in here, wherever here is. I want to be out there.

“Her brain activity is good. There is nothing to do but wait…and pray.”

I’m in here! Hello? I can hear you. Get me out of here. No…don’t leave. Please don’t leave me alone. Just shake me awake.

And then, I’m alone again.

I attempt to calm myself and think my way into ‘awakeness.’ But how does one do that? ‘Out there,’ one does not have to think oneself awake, it just happens. So how do I think about it now? And what if I have to think my breathing? Breathing is just supposed to happen, too, but what if that stops functioning correctly? I practice thinking my breathing, just in case.

And what about my fingers? They always move their fingers in the movies. I focus on my fingers, willing them to move. Nothing.

“We have no answers. Everything looks normal…she just doesn’t want to wake up.”

Yes, I do! I do want to wake up. I can’t think myself awake. Stop talking around me and shake me. My brain just needs help…I’m trapped in this void. Please get me out.

They can’t hear me…it’s no use. I’m going to die a slow, agonizing death trapped in my own brain.

Where are you, Jesus? Why are you letting the enemy torment me in this vacuum of nothingness? Why are you letting my loved ones suffer out there while I’m suffering in here?

“Oh Father in Heaven. We know that your ways are bigger than our ways. And we certainly don’t understand why our sister in Christ is going through this, but we trust you in all things. We ask for a miracle, and we ask you to walk with our sister, wherever she is inside there. Amen.”

‘Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone.’

I hear the singing…or is it simply inside my head? Maybe it’s the heavenly hosts. Whatever or whoever it is, I hear it, and I feel the emptiness slowly floating away. I stop trying to will myself awake. I stop thinking about my breathing. I start focusing on God.

Verses I didn’t even know I knew begin filling the empty spaces.

“I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear…Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer…The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?...I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths…Oh Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me…I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears…Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me…When I am afraid I will trust in you…My soul finds rest in God alone.”

I hear the singing again; ‘Because I know, He holds the future. And life is worth the living, just because He lives.’

I am still not awake. But I am not afraid. And I am not alone.

Author’s note: “Because He Lives,” written by William Gaither, 1971.
Scriptural references: Psalm 3:5, 6a; 4:1b; 27:1; 30:1a, 2; 34:4; 54:4; 56:3a; 62:1a.

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Member Comments
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Verna Cole Mitchell 05/07/09
This really gives the reader something to think about. It must be a terribly lonely feeling to be in and out of consciousness and unable to communicate. I like the way remembering the Scriptures brings peace. Well done.
Sara Harricharan 05/07/09
This certainly captures what I know people must feel trapped within themselves. This is amazing, so very realistic and with a hopeful ending. I love the last lines best of all.
Charla Diehl 05/09/09
Excellent view of what it must feel like to be trapped inside yourself--maybe in a coma. I like the way the MC went from panic mode to a place of peace once the focus was on God. I expect to see this in the winner circle.
Sonya Leigh05/09/09
Just beautiful. This truly is a hope-filled piece of writing. It reminds me of of Ps. 139, particularly vs.2

You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.

and vs.7

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

Very well done!
Loren T. Lowery05/12/09
The message and comforting truths expressed in this well-written story is relevant no matter the state of their consciousness - comatose or not. Your title aptly speaks to how we often find ourselves trapped by the outside world and away from God's peaceful grace and assurances.
Lollie Hofer05/12/09
Thank you for sharing this well-written, heart-wrenching story. It felt like I was there with the MC, feeling the terror and anguish. I do like the hope it gives at the end. It reminds me to pray for a friend in Sweden who was severely burned a couple months ago. He was and still remains in and out of consciousness.
Patricia Herchenroether05/12/09
Wow. This hit me to the core. Awesome.
Rachel Rudd 05/13/09
This is a beautiful tribute to your pastor's wife. You describe so well the desperation and then the peace this person experiences. I will be praying for her, too!
Shelley Ledfors 05/13/09
Very powerful and well written. I'll be praying for your pastor's wife.
Dee Yoder 05/14/09
When my brother-in-law was in a coma for three months, we often wondered just what he was thinking of--did he hear us? Could he feel us touching him? We talked and prayed and sat by his bedside. He DID wake up, and it was amusing and slightly weird feeling, to hear him tell us that he never heard us at all and just thought he was sleeping! It was very disconcerting for him to realize, though, that he had lost three months of time. I'll be praying for your pastor's wife--she's in there and it sounds as though she's OK. Praying she comes out of it like Merv did.
Chely Roach05/14/09
Touching, powerful story. Loved the Scriptures, and the last line was priceless. Wonderfully done!
Rhonda Schrock05/19/09
A lovely reminder of how precious God's Word is. Thank you for that.