Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: War and Peace (not about the book) (07/07/11)
TITLE: Life Flashes
By Lisa Johnson
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It's true, you know... what they say. Life really does flash before your eyes. My life flashes like a plethora of mortar shells exploding on a battlefield. As far back as I can remember, I have always been at war with someone or something.
I'm a cowering child... hands over my ears... trying to drown out the bellowing of the raging bull that is my dad.
My nose is bleeding... I'm holding back tears... choking down cold scrambled eggs... because “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
I'm listening to my older sister cry, having just had her head thrown through the sheet rock... for an “F” on her report card.
My mom is behind a locked door... being beaten and berated by an abusive ogre. I am trying desperately to find the shells for my dad's shotgun.
Thank you, God, that you did not let me find them.
The flashes keep coming, and I am a young woman, full of yearning for a good life. But, my life is not what I hoped it would be... not what I dreamed it would be.
Battle lines are drawn as my child accuses a trusted family member of inappropriate touching. In denial and disbelief, everyone sides against my husband and me.
I struggle against insecurity and loss of self-esteem when faced with the in-your-face reality of my husband's infidelity. The battle ground of “do I stay or do I go” is fraught with dangerous pitfalls. My family pushes me to leave, and their anger simmers, just under the surface... like lava in a volcano... because I stay. My heart believes that God would have me forgive the indiscretion and keep my family together. I can only pray that I make the right decision.
The flashes become blinding...
I lived most of my youth feeling like I was on the outside looking in. My son, who is, I am afraid, too much like me, lives his life the very same way. Never quite belonging... he always seems to be on the sidelines looking on.
Despite everything, I can honestly say that I did what I thought was right... what I thought God wanted me to do. Now, my daughter stays in an even worse situation, because of the example I set before her. I guess she, also, is “too much like me.”
It is like a Madonna song when they tell me, “Mama, don't preach.”
The flashes come with sickening speed...
I'm an old woman now. I am painfully aware that my children hate me for the mistakes I made... and I question if their poor choices are my fault... because, as they tell me, “I ruined their lives.”
Even more sickening is the realization that my precious grandchildren have become collateral damage in this war that has been my life. I do not know where they are, or if I will ever see them again.
In between the flashes, I can see a soft, gentle light. I try to focus on that light. It illuminates a totally different struggle... a spiritual battle where my stubborn flesh and sinful nature war against my pursuit of a higher purpose. I am sure that I can not win this battle without supernatural reinforcements.
God, was there something I failed to do? Did I misunderstand the direction my life was to take? Did the mistakes I made permanently damage my children, or is there hope for their redemption? Can my sweet grandchildren survive the consequences resulting from things that were beyond their control? Will my children and my grandchildren ever find their place in Your will?
Flash... flash... flash...
God... I am so tired of all the fighting... I am so tired...
I feel You take my hand.
There are no more flashes.
As I start to rise, I turn around. I can see the look of serenity on my face... and finally... there is peace.
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