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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)

TITLE: A Quiet, Peaceful, Place
By
08/07/05


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She wasn’t sure when she had first felt it, the constant need to escape. It just seemed that it had always been there: a sense that somewhere, there was some place “better.”

Katherine had been curious and sweet in her youth, the youngest of three, with an unquenchable desire to never miss a thing. She was thankful for her loving family, but as much as she adored them, she always dreamed of a magical retreat from the everyday activities that made up her life. Whenever young Katherine saw an airplane in the sky, she wondered where its passengers were going. Perhaps a sandy beach, or a snow-capped mountain, she expected. Wherever they were going, she wanted to go too. She closed her eyes and imagined.

…a quiet, peaceful, place where she could be happy.

Katherine was a good student. She especially loved the social aspects of school. But when she reached college, and the stress of term papers, exams, and boyfriends dominated her time, Katherine once again longed for a reprieve, a break from being the person that others knew her to be. She dreamed of escaping to an idealistic place where there were no tests, no dorm hallways filled with partying coeds, no pressure.

…a quiet, peaceful, place where she could be happy.

When Katherine became a teacher, she truly loved her students and thrived in her chosen profession. Still, there were many days that trying students and demanding administrators took their toll. Those days she spent daydreaming of a secluded spot far away from the demands of her job, a respite from the regulation of her order-filled days. A place where she would be completely free of the responsibilities of life.

…a quiet, peaceful, place where she could be happy.

Motherhood awoke in Katherine an unconditional love that she had never known. Still, there were days when she felt she could no longer fulfill the requirements of wife and mother. On those days, she escaped into the imaginary world she had created. She dreamed of a tranquil getaway to an island paradise, a place with no runny noses, no dirty diapers, and no anxiety. A place where she would be responsible to or for no one.

… a quiet, peaceful, place where she could be happy.

When Katherine’s youngest child went to college, the house was suddenly quiet. The comfortable flurry of activity that had been her life was drastically changed. She missed her children terribly. But at first, she also enjoyed the newly found tranquility. Katherine felt a sense of accomplishment, satisfied that she had reared her children well. Perhaps, now, she had found it.

…a quiet, peaceful, place where she could be happy.

However, the passing days soon changed her perception. After the death of her husband, Katherine found herself suddenly alone. The children and grandchildren visited from time to time, but never often enough. The silence in the house was deafening. Although Katherine had friends from church and from her neighborhood, they could not replace the everyday, pleasant, chaos of a family.

Only as an old and lonely woman, did the fantasy of escape disappear from Katherine’s dreams. Katherine now yearned for the responsibilities she had once only seemed to tolerate. She longed for a house filled with the slamming of doors and the laughter of children. She felt her heart bursting with painful regret at her failure to cherish the loud, love-filled times when they had been hers. In her desperation, she called out to God and opened her Bible. She read,

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul…” Psalm 23:1-3 NIV

Katherine immediately recognized in God’s word the thing that she had desired for so many years. That better place did, in fact, exist, only not in the way she had imagined it. God would be her retreat, her refuge. The only one she would ever need. And so, after much dreaming and much searching, Katherine finally discovered the only route to true contentment.

…a quiet, peaceful, place where she could be happy.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Dixie Phillips 08/08/05
This is sooooooooo good! I love how you built with each stage of her life. Such a huge gift God has given you!
Anthony Tophoney08/09/05
Well told! A lifelong odyssey condensed into a very readable format with a strong message.
Beth Muehlhausen08/09/05
Excellent!! I could identify through all these stages of life right up through the empty nest...wow. God is our refuge and strength, isn't He? We are created for relationship with Him, and that's why we constantly have this hunger for "something else" other than what just shows up in daily life. Very perceptive and well told. :-D
Debra Brand08/10/05
You never know what you have until it's gone. Good work.
Maxx .08/13/05
very nicely told... excellent rythm throughout. Nice lesson as well. The grass only seem greener.
Shari Armstrong 08/13/05
Very well done and a reminder to be thankful for what we have.
Deborah Porter 10/14/05
Hi Kelly. I'm just preparing the new FaithWriters' Anthology and need a short (two to three sentences) bio piece to include in a new section for the book - "Meet Our Authors." The bio notes need to be written in the third person. Could you please send it to me via a Private Message please? Thanks so much. Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Marilyn Schnepp 12/04/05
Lovely, beautiful, heartfelt, and so true to life! I could see myself in every phase...and now in my golden years I have found that quiet place in the reading of His words, and the hope for that peaceful, quiet mansion above. Thank you for sharing a lovely essay...And Congratulations.