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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: War and Peace (not about the book) (07/07/11)

TITLE: Thorns In My Rose Garden
By Linda Germain


I was just a naive bystander when the attacks began. Such a sudden and unexpected ambush and hostile takeover had never crossed my mind. Why wasn’t someone coming to my rescue? Weren’t there any heroes left in this country? Why was there so much suffering? Where was the genesis of this perplexing mystery?

I needed answers…and a place to hide before there was no defense left from the unmerciful assaults. Anger boiled in my gut every time I thought about it, in those early days. For goodness sake, I didn’t start it, but neither did I understand it. I needed some information, and then my full armor.

“Look at it this way,” one handsome man in a spiffy uniform tried to explain as he drew a stick-figure picture, “On this side you have the good guys and over here the bad guys”.

Through a series of hasty squiggles, as if I were a kindergartener, he summarized the whole painful conflict for me.

“For now, the enemy is winning...but don’t give up hope, our side is fighting as hard as we can.”

He still hadn’t given me a reason…only a reflection of the reality of an unnecessary persecution foisted on the innocent. I struggled to comprehend such nonsense and futility.

“But aren’t there any allies on the way to intervene and establish a little peace? Is there no protection for those of us caught in the middle?”

The fallout from this ongoing battle with foreign invaders affected my whole family, even though they were safe at a distance, at home. I wanted to be safe at home too. Oh…to rewind time and figure out how to be not where I was.

Alone in the dark when the worst attacks came, I would retreat under my old cover and pound on God's door yet again, “Oh Lord, Oh Lord, Please help. Oh dear Jesus, what shall I do?”

It wasn’t fear of dying that kept me trembling and praying, but of being left a disabled heap, dependent on someone else. In truth, there wasn’t anyone nearby who could give me shelter. I had to forge for myself. Food didn’t matter too much in the beginning. The thought of eating began to make me sick. Let someone have it whose belly aches with hunger. Weight fell off daily, but I still had a small supply of vitamins to encourage a few ounces of strength.

The term prison camp sounds oxymoronic to me. There was nothing about this spot that resembled camp; certainly not the summer kind, nor even of the boot variety. The torture felt like electrical shocks or needles or sharp knives, stabbing-stabbing-stabbing. In the light of day I could see no wounds, but the toll it was taking made me weak and barely able to keep pushing on to the freedom I believed would come. No matter the torment, I considered it my job to put on an impassive face and be the good little soldier everyone expected me to be. Surely, I deserved a medal.

At some point I stopped crying from the agony and focused on praising God for the answer. “Thank you, Lord, for the coming liberation I yearn for. I have total faith that you will save me…release me… from this awful place of combat fatigue.”

Some wars just bog down in gridlock for decades. Sure, bad guys are ousted, but so are good ones; and then both sides re-group for a resurgence of fighting. I was a prisoner of this foolish standoff...an early casualty, only because I failed bullet-dodging 101. By the time weariness had me in its unforgiving grip the big guns finally showed up.

It was a grinding, hard-fought battle but the coup was a welcome resolution. New tactical intervention made all the difference. The amazing accuracy of high tech aggression stunned the unsuspecting foe.

There’s a new scent of conquest in the air. Victory is on the horizon and very, very soon I shall be resting in peace. Free at last…thank God, I’m free at last. Hallelujah!

*For all who suffer the pain and intrusion of immune diseases and other debilitating systemic attacks on bodies that ache to be whole.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lillian Rhoades 07/14/11
Thanks for sharing. Imprisonment in any form requires courage of an unusual sort. I could tell from the title and the last two lines that your "prison camp" had little to do with conventional warfare...I think. However, at my first reading it was not that clear.

Just an opinion..Work on transitioning from one paragraph to the next. This helps to bring about cohesiveness to the narrative.

May God give you grace for every thorn.
Edward Mrkvicka07/14/11
Love this entry. It’s a clever/unique take on the subject. It flows and builds to a loving conclusion. Most of all, as one who has peripheral neuropathy, believe me when I say it is so very accurate. It tells the story of those of us living with constant pain without losing sight of the joy that soon will be ours. There are some days when that’s all we have to keep us going. If, as I suspect, this was born out of personal knowledge, thank you for having the strength to share.
Noel Mitaxa 07/20/11
Your skill in expressing objectivity despite your pain is very real, and I love the touches of humour - especially the failure in bullet dodging 101.
Loved the confidence that seeps through at the close.