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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Birth (infancy) (08/20/09)

TITLE: The Experience of a Lifetime
By Rachel Burkum


My whole body seemed to cry out as I was shoved towards a world I didn’t know - a world I wanted but was hesitant to enter. I had been at peace here. I liked it here. It was safe and secure. But I was being forced to leave. I knew there was something better waiting for me on the other side though, and I struggled against nature’s urges. I wanting to control my own fate - not have it decided for me.

During the past few months, I could feel myself changing. I knew deep down that I wasn’t meant to be here anymore. But why now? Why couldn’t it have waited just a little longer? I was torn between wanting to stay and wanting to leave.

I could hear voices around me, though I couldn’t see the faces.

“It’s time.”

“Hold my hand, Janice, I’m right here.”

Each phrase held a tenseness, yet a strange element of peace. Yes, there was peace. It soothed me and calmed my nerves. I could feel the pressure again, but my ears picked up on a voice so tender. My grandpa. Oh, he was waiting for me. So many others were waiting for me, too. But God, do I have to go now? I knew the answer, and I was willing at last.

The discomfort increased and I felt as though something had gone terribly wrong. I heard loud beeping and the peace around me seemed to have vanished. What was going on? Why had my journey stopped? No, not when I’m finally ready!

My body felt like gravity no longer existed and I couldn’t tell which direction was up or down. My lungs felt like they were on fire and my heart raced. God? Where are you? What’s happening? I clung to Him for my comfort.

And then...a moment of silence seemed to last an eternity before suddenly I was surrounded by the most brilliant light. The pain was gone. Oh, thank you! Was that singing I heard? Yes, it was singing! Tears streamed down my face, but not because I was disappointed to be here. Oh, if only I would have known how beautiful this place would be when I had balked at the calling.

I saw my grandpa and felt his loving arms surround me. It really had been his voice I’d heard. But even he paled in comparison to the One I was really meant to meet here. I was finally home.

. . . . . . . . . .

A little baby’s cries filled the hospital room as her mother’s tears mixed with a joyous smile. Her father stood close by, gazing down into his daughter’s eyes for the first time, his heart feeling as though it would burst with sheer happiness.

As the doctor allowed the new family time alone, he was pulled aside by one of the nurses.

“I thought you’d want to know...Janice just passed away.”

The doctor’s shoulders dropped just a little. “That family has been through so much. First Claire’s father, now her daughter.”

The nurse nodded, but a peaceful smile crossed her lips as she gazed past the doctor into the room. One life had been born into this world, while another had been born into eternal rest. And both would have the experience of a lifetime.

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This article has been read 686 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Allen Stark08/27/09
Wow, Rachel, that one brought tears to my eyes. It brought back memories involving close friends and their loss. There are some wonderful story ideas these challenges bring up.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/27/09
Born into heaven--born into life--a very creative idea for infancy. I like your interpretation of both occurring amid joy.
Robyn Burke08/27/09
I really liked how you made dying a comparison to birth. Death is a process much like being born as we leave one known environment for the unknown one. Lovely interpretation.
Joshua Janoski08/31/09
I liked how you compared death to being born into a new life. Very good writing. I appreciate you sharing this with all of us.
Mona Purvis08/31/09
I've been trying to figure out Claire/Janice. Wasn't sure if Janice was a mother who died and baby(POV) with her? Or if Janice was the baby.
Either way, dynamic story that pulls the reader in.
Gregory Kane09/01/09
An excellent twist. Recaptured my interest and piqued my curiosity just as I was starting to think that I had read it all before.
Catrina Bradley 09/01/09
Very creative POV - I enjoyed it!
Mariane Holbrook 09/02/09
This was very well done! I liked the comparisons and intertwining of the two major events together. You made me homesick for heaven! Kudos! Your writing shows great sensitivity and was perfect for this topic.
Jan Ackerson 09/02/09
Well-written, and very moving.

I'd have chosen a different title, I think. This one is a familiar phrase, and lacks the emotional impact of the story.

This is very sad, but also full of hope. Well done!
Sherrie Coronas09/02/09
This story made me ponder many things about birth and death. Thank goodness God makes our progression through these stages mandatory -- or we'd never move on and we'd miss the prize. Thanks for giving me this gem today.