Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Astonishment (02/02/12)
TITLE: Absolute Astonishment
By Tim Pickl
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I wasn’t just a little tired, I was extremely tired. Please let me explain: I was desperate for an answer for my poor mother who was suffering from an incurable disease. The doctor had recommended that our family use “comfort measures” for mother during her final days on earth. There was nothing he could do. But, it was unbearable for me to watch and listen to mother cry out in excruciating pain, day after day.
I had to do something.
I heard a rumor from a friend about a man in a far away city who could heal “incurable” people, by the touch of his hand or speak a word and the suffering person would be whole.
It’s worth the trip, I thought.
I grabbed some items for the long journey quickly because I knew I would travel three days and three nights straight.
On the road, I only took a few breaks along the way, taking brief cat naps. I pushed myself, because I absolutely needed to know if that man could heal my mother.
I desperately needed to know.
I had one set back on the road during the third night—three robbers stopped and surrounded me, threatening to steal the few provisions I had gathered up, along with the meager money I had on me.
I immediately thought, I don’t have time for this. I need to get there as soon as possible.
In a frantic moment I begged them, “Please, please sirs—don’t take what little I have. I’ll give you the money.” I tossed the pittance at their feet and that distracted two of them. Then, my predicament just poured out of me. “You don’t understand… please understand: my mother is dying. She’s in horrible pain and agony and cries out day and night. I am seeking an answer from a man in the city—a man I know who can heal her—please, I beg of you, please let me go and find this man!” I looked them each in the eye. “Please, please…”
Astonishingly, they let me go.
Steadfast, silent, I traversed the mountain pass which led down to a plateau and a dusty road toward the city. The darkness of the night and the memory of the robbers faded with the rising of the sun over hills to the east. Clouds soaked in dazzling rose colors whispered over the hills as the sun’s rays brightened. As the light intensified, it revealed dew all over the plateau, and it sparkled around me like diamonds.
What a beautiful place, I thought.
My body needed more sleep and it kept urging me to lay down for just a little while. I ignored that voice and pushed it aside in my mind. My mind was made up, singularly focused on the task at hand. I pushed my heart, soul, mind and strength to its human limits—and then some.
Finally I reached the edge of the city. Noise wafted on the wind from the city as I heard children playing, women shouting in the marketplace and men barking orders.
A company of soldiers halted me and inquired as to my business there. I calmly explained that I needed healing for my mother—and they assumed I wanted to see one of the doctors who lived there. I just thought, Oh, let them think what they want.
Astonishingly, after conferring, they allowed me to pass through the gate.
I mistakenly thought that people in the city were friendly like the people in my little village—I was wrong. I asked the first woman I saw, “Excuse me, ma’am, have you heard about a man who heals?” She refused to look at me and quickly walked away. I asked another person, and another and they all ignored me and treated me as if I was a leper.
I may as well have been screaming, “UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!”
I plopped down on a rock near an olive tree on the outskirts of the city, my head nodding and dizzy. In that vertigo moment, a young lad about 6-years-old tapped me on the shoulder. “Sir, I know who you are looking for.”
I squinted at him. “You do? Really? I am looking for The Healer.”
Nodding, the boy pointed up at the hill called Golgotha.
In absolute astonishment, I saw The One I was looking for, hanging on a cross.
My moment of horror was interrupted by a tremendous earthquake.
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