Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Eternity (03/10/11)
- TITLE: Homecoming
By Dolores Stohler
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Amanda tried to smile in return while struggling to control the tears that stung her eyes. Then anger burst through like a geyser inside her and she could only manage a rude retort, “I’ll never be kissed if I spend the rest of my life in a hospital bed.”
The nurse’s expression changed to one of compassion. “I’m sorry, honey. I didn’t mean to upset you. Your mama’s bringing a cake and the whole staff’s planning a party for you.” With a bright smile meant to console, she left the room but Amanda burrowed deeper under the covers of the bed and held a pity party with herself. Nearly three years had passed since she’d been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and came to this hospital for her very first surgery. They’d been kind to her but the kindness couldn’t relieve the periods of pain and depression that followed each surgery. She had grown too weak to walk on her own and was finding it harder and harder to believe the doctors would find a cure for her illness.
“Why don’t I just die and get it over with,” she complained to herself. “I’ll never get out of this hospital bed.” Like all young girls, Amanda had cherished dreams of romance. She would close her eyes and picture the prince charming who‘d sweep her off her feet and carry her away to his castle. He would be tall and handsome with blue eyes and a heart-stopping smile. And she would wear a wedding dress of purest silk that rustled and shone when she walked.
But, in the weeks following her birthday, Amanda only grew weaker and weaker, while pain drove all thoughts of romance from her head. When she slept, she dreamed about angels in white robes singing to her about a perfect land they called Paradise. Then one day they came for her, two angels with great white wings, lifting and carrying her off into the vast unknown. She heard the powerful beating of their wings amidst the singing of the stars until at last they descended into a marvel of heavenly light. It wasn’t the kind of light she was used to. The light was in colors: marvelous shades of rose and aquamarine. It surrounded her like a magnificent sea but there were no ripples; everything was clear and bright and smelled so sweet.
The pain that had racked her body for so long had completely disappeared. In the absence of pain she felt joy and awe and a sudden lightness of heart that defied description.
Now she looked to see what she was wearing and caught her breath in delight as she beheld her gown of purest white silk. It shimmered as though it was sprinkled with diamonds and her chest was gorgeously bound about with a girdle of gold. Next, she felt to see if she had hair. She laughed in delight when she saw the hair, long and wavy with golden highlights. Was she wearing golden slippers? No, but her bare feet were standing on a street of glistening gold, warm and soft to the touch.
Raising her eyes, she looked off into the horizon and saw a man. Instantly she knew him -- it was Jesus. Her heart quickened and she wanted to run towards him but could she walk? Her steps were slow and careful when she began her walk but soon Amanda was running. But how easy it was! She felt light as air. As she approached, she could see his eyes and they were beautiful. His whole appearance was gorgeous, in fact, and he was laughing and calling to her in the most enchanting way. “Welcome, Amanda, my beautiful one. Come here to me." Her heart quickened until she felt that she might burst with joy.
Now she knew what it was like to be in love, to love so much that it transcended everything imaginable. And it was more real than life on earth. She stood upon the very threshold of eternity!
With a sudden burst of speed, Amanda hurled forward and straight into the arms of Jesus. Ecstasy poured over her in waves as he folded her into his arms and lifted her off the ground. She was home at last!
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