The air is stifling as I trudge down the dimly lit path.
With each step the pall increases, weighing heavily on my soul.
This darkness has no solace. The muddy expanse of sky is of my own making.
I shudder, a chill enveloping the last bit of warmth I have held in my feeble grasp.
It wasn’t always this way.
I strain, willing myself to recall the faint memories of those clear days.
Once, once I knew the gentle breeze and the comfort of the sun’s rays.
Where have they gone?
Now there is only the condemnation of this constant winter.
Wasn’t this supposed to be the easy way? The wide and well-trod path.
Where are my fellow sojourners?
I am alone, my only company the voices in the shadows.
Mercilessly they berate me, chronicling my vices, sentencing me to misery.
My strength fails me. Defeated, I fall in a heap on the cold stone way.
I gasp for air, each breath assaulting me.
Regret festers within me, stinging me over and over again.
This must be the end.
The voices—the scorching, damning voices—are strangely silent.
I lift my eyes. Where are my accusers?
They have become the accused.
I remember that Voice.
Strong. Firm. The Voice of comfort.
It has been so long!
With a quiet determination, He calls out to me.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”*
A slow, steady rain begins to pelt my spent form.
It is a cleansing rain.
No, miraculously, this is not the end.
The season of refining has come, and spring will come again.
*Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
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