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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Time-consuming (02/24/11)

TITLE: Exchanging Valentines with God
By Caitlyn Meissner


I glanced up at the clock. 11:00 p.m. Had I really been writing that long? I flipped back through the pages of my notebook, scarred and etched with ink from my pen. Yes, I’d written enough for one night. It was time for some well-earned sleep.

With a groan I tossed down my pen, yawned, stretched, and climbed into bed. Pulling the warm covers around me, I glanced at the calendar.

Oh, great! Tomorrow was Valentine’s Day.

I glared at the 14th day of the month as thoughts swirled through my mind. Valentine’s Day! What good is Valentine’s Day?

“It’s annoying,” I said out loud, then grinned. Fumbling on my nightstand for pen and paper, I wrote, “Valentine’s Day is annoying, inconvenient, over-rated, unnecessary, and a frivolous waste of time and money.”

I surveyed what I’d written. Not bad, but biased, definitely biased. If I’d had a husband, or even a boyfriend, I knew I’d feel differently.

“Not that I’m complaining, God,” I said, addressing the ceiling. “I don’t want you to think that. But sometimes it feels like something’s missing. Is that wrong?”

I listened, hoping for a voice, but there was only silence.

So I started writing again, trying to process my feelings. “What is love? Love is frightening. Love pries open your shell and explores the secrets of your heart. Love exposes. Love changes. Love is overwhelming.”

Sighing, I tucked the words under my pillow, then picked up my Bible and began skimming through it. I felt I needed some comforting words. But where could I find them?

Unsure, I resorted to the old tried-and-true method. Shutting my eyes, I opened the Bible and pressed one finger down onto the page.

Peeking at what I’d selected, I read aloud, “Hosea 4:1. ‘There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and….’” The list of evils went on and on.

“Great,” I grumbled, snapping the Bible shut. “Like that makes me feel any better?”

Switching off the light, I pulled the covers over my head. All I wanted now was to sleep.

I hadn’t counted on the dreams.

I stood on the cracked pavement of a used car lot, staring at the darkening sky. A brisk wind blew my hair into my face and made the brightly colored balloons tied to each car thrash and strain against their anchors.

Several salesmen loafed nearby, probably wishing that I was a customer. But I hadn’t come here to buy a car, had I?

One of the salesmen, a young man, seemed to know me. Approaching, he called, “We should check on the balloons. This wind might damage them.”

I glanced at the balloons tied to the cars, but he shook his head. “Not those,” he grinned. “These, over here.”

I followed him across the lot and behind the main building. There were trees back here, a whole forest, but no balloons. What was going on?

My companion never slowed his pace. “This way!” he called, leading me into the trees.

Panting, I followed, then stopped dead still. All around me, on bushes and branches, were the most beautiful flowers I’d ever seen. Some were pink, others purple, and they shone in the dim light.

Stepping closer, I peered at them in awe. These flowers were made out of balloons! Minuscule clusters of balloons grouped together to form shapes and petals. Most of them were only an inch big, and some were even smaller.

“Do you like it?” My guide asked.

“It’s amazing!” I gasped. “This must have taken you days to make! I can’t believe you had the patience.”

“Love is patient,” the man said quietly, his smile stretching across his face.

Suddenly I could feel the joy radiating from him, warm and big and overflowing. I wanted to say something, to answer, to…

“Beep! Beep! Beep!”

Wham! I smashed my fist down on the snooze button, silencing my alarm. Feeling under my pillow, I pulled out the crumpled piece of paper.

As I did, a voice seemed to speak to my heart. “What day is it, child?”

“Valentine’s Day,” I whispered, a warmth of joy washing over me. Groping for my pen, I crossed out that I’d written the previous night. Remembering the balloons, I slowly wrote, “Love is time-consuming.”

Then I added, “Love is all-consuming.”

“I love you,” I whispered, as I opened my Bible and began to read.

Time was no longer an object.

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This article has been read 476 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 03/05/11
This is great!

Sounds like the MC at first and I have something in common on Feb. 14... celebrating "SAD" (Singleness Awareness Day) :)
Dolores Stohler03/06/11
I think all of us have felt this way at times. Life can be so discouraging and putting our trust in human beings can lead to great disappointment. But God Himself is the source of love and he will never leave us or forsake us. If we have this all-consuming, greatest love of all we have everything we need. I echo your thoughts. Great article.
Mary Toll03/08/11
Very funny. I liked that you used the nighttime hours to play all this out. It was refreshing to know that God is in the Valentines business.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/15/11
Congratulations for placing in the top 12 of your level and the top 30 overall!
Amanda Brogan03/16/11
Aww, this is lovely! (I've heard of Valentine's Day referred to as "Single's Awareness Day" too. :) ) It also reminds me of a quote I heard on a radio program once that said, "Love is a four-letter word spelled T-I-M-E."

Congrats on your highly ranked story!