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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sightseeing (08/08/05)

TITLE: Even Though
By Jan Ackerson


My body had nearly recovered from the accident that changed everything; no one had yet found the right therapy for my injured heart. So when my husband suggested a trip to Mackinac Island, a place we had enjoyed several times in the past, I stammered in protest. “I just don’t see…what’s the point?”

He draped an arm around my shoulders. “The point, my love, is that you need to get out of the house, and enjoy a place of beauty and peace.”

Too weary to fight, I let him win. He packed our bags, helped me to the van, and chattered for the entire four-hour drive. I simply closed my eyes and let his words flit about the interior of the car and fade away.

When we arrived, I clutched my husband’s arm tightly and we boarded the ferry to the island. The waters of two great lakes splashed and sprayed our faces. Seagulls squawked overhead. For a moment I lifted my face to the sunshine, a feeling I had nearly forgotten. No, I mustn’t let any happiness in…I tucked my chin into my chest.

At the end of the ferry dock, a dozen little shops advertised bicycles for rent. My husband grasped my elbow. “What about a tandem? I know you’d be able to ride one of those! I’ll do all the hard work up front. C’mon, let’s get one!”

“I don’t think…I just can’t.” But his enthusiasm was stronger than my fear, and soon we were pedaling down the busy main street of the island, past souvenir stores, a street performer playing the hammered dulcimer, and confectionaries where the smell of newly-made fudge drifted into the noisy avenue. I heard myself say “Mmmmm”, a sound that came from a place inside me that I hadn’t visited in a long time.

Within minutes we had left the town behind. We stopped at a rocky spot on the shoreline, and my husband held my hand as we carefully made our way to the water. “Honey…let’s wade. Please?” he pleaded. Fresh air seemed to have weakened my resistance; we took off our sandals. The lake was numbingly cold—in just seconds, we were stepping out, laughing and shivering. “What’s that sound?” asked my husband.

“I don’t hear anything…just the lake.” I said. “What are you talking about?”

“I think it was…you laughing? Could that be it?”

Immediately I slammed shut the door to my spirit. “Let’s get back on the bike.”

I said little for the next several minutes, as I studied the feeling now forming somewhere in the vicinity of my heart. I rested my head briefly on my husband’s strong back, and gave the feeling a name: hope.

After a time we approached the part of the island containing historic buildings and a centuries-old fort. In the distance, we heard the make-believe soldiers firing their muskets. Unaccustomed to exercise, my legs ached. We alit and sat on a stone bench. “I’m tired. Can we get something to eat?”

“Just wait here,” said my husband, and before I could protest, he sprinted off in search of food.

“Don’t leave me!” I cried. Utterly alone, I hugged my knees and bowed my head. Don’t let anyone talk to me…It wasn’t a prayer, really—I hadn’t talked to God since the accident. But the posture and the petition felt familiar, like times of prayer I’d known in the past. I relaxed and waited for my lunch, gradually becoming aware of a voice I’d been ignoring for weeks.

Isn’t this beautiful? He whispered. Do you hear the water, and the birds, and the horses’ hooves? Can’t you feel the breeze, and the grass at your feet? And take a deep breath—can you smell the flowers, and even the dirt? Can you be thankful for these things?

“But Lord,” I whimpered. “I can’t see them. I’ll never see them again. You just don’t understand what it’s like to be blind!”

My child, I understand all things. I have wept with you, and now I long to rejoice with you. I give and I take away, and my ways are not your ways…but I want you to trust me, and praise me. Even though. Even though. I am enough. Beloved, I am enough.

When my husband returned with the ice cream, I turned my head toward his voice. A smile lit my face, not entirely due to the waffle cone of mint chocolate chip that he pressed into my hand.

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This article has been read 1829 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sandra Petersen 08/15/05
This was powerful! From the first line which begs an explanation of the external and internal injuries from the accicent to the last line, you held my attention. You captured very well the slow reawakening of a soul afraid to laugh, enjoy, and hope, and, most importantly, reconnect in thankfulness to God for everything. My favorite phrases: "let his words flit about the interior of the car and fade away", "a place inside me that I hadn't visited in a long time", "slammed shut the door to my spirit", and "Beloved, I am enough". Really good stuff!
Leslie Lamb08/15/05
The most awesome line to me is "...and gave the feeling a name: hope." There is such power in that line! Very nice work! This is a piece worthy of publishing.
Dixie Phillips08/15/05
Beautiful job of showing that when there is an injury there are really two healings that need to take place. The physical and the emotional! Wow! What a gift God has given you!
Joanne Malley08/15/05
A true reminder to "smell the roses" when we are among so many thorns! Thanks for your insight. I enjoyed this piece and the reminder that He is always there through times that seems hopeless. Very creative phrases strewn about! :)
Val Clark08/16/05
Sightseeing from a blind person's perpective - a very creative appraoch. Well written, great twist at the end and filled with hope.
Crista Darr08/17/05
Absolutely beautiful. One of the best entries I've ever read.
Robin McGowan08/17/05
Great article! Bravo! No matter where we find ourselves in life, God has to be enough; for that is all we can really count on!
Beth Muehlhausen08/18/05
A very well-done story. You gave it away at the beginning with, "I just don’t see…what’s the point?” - but I did not yet have eyes to see the underlying message!!! I, too, entered one of the several stories about a blind person's experience with sightseeing...but I think this one was most effective. Good job!
M'Kayla Kelly08/18/05
Well done! You reminded me of my own time of grief and subsequent trip to the beach. Altho our circumstances were different, the feelings of loss were closely related. I am amazed at the similarity! And isn't this what writers do?
Tisha Martin 08/18/05
(crying) My heart is so full after reading this piece that no words I can describe comes to mind. Every FW member should read this story. Find a publisher for this - it's soo good!
Shari Armstrong 08/19/05
Nicely told, you kept me reading wanting to know what had happened.
darlene hight08/19/05
This is a wonderful entry! Very descriptive. I love her husbands' spirit and you really touched the heart.
Debra Brand08/19/05
Fantastic piece of work!
Pat Guy 08/19/05
Great job conveying the struggles of accepting a disabilty. Great job of showing God's patience with our sorrows - that He's always waiting and always ready to receive our once unwilling hearts. Enjoyed this very much.
Phyllis Inniss08/20/05
A splendid piece of writing. From checking your desire to feel happiness until your moment of feeling hope is a wonderful description of your emotions. I admire your husband's enthusiasm and willingness to bring joy into your life.
Karen Schravemade08/20/05
This was exceptionally written, a very powerful story. Well done!
janet rubin08/20/05
I stopped to read because of all the comments below your article and, having read, I must comment too. Beautiful writing. Emotional, thoughtful, descriptive. I loved it.
Nina Phillips08/21/05
All I can add is amen, and bravo, wonderful, exceptional--God bless ya, littlelight
Anthony Tophoney08/22/05
Definitely one of my personal favorites of the week. So well crafted. Such a faithful message. Thank you!
Suzanne R08/25/05

I had to go back and re-read it once I realized that she was blind, and that made the story all the richer.

Well done, Jan. You're fast becoming one of my favourite authors, with your 'Tiffany's Treasure' a few weeks ago and now this!