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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: rain (10/17/05)

TITLE: Aching spirit
By Karen Ward


Longing always assaulted her spirit in the rain. Hair, black as a crow, reached down to her fists as she leaned her head on the darkened window pane. Raindrops chased each other down the glass as she looked out over the ocean.

Her forehead numbed, as the wall of windows allowed cold to penetrate the room. She stepped back, and turned to reach for her rug, still crumpled on the couch. A shiver coursed through her as she raised it to her shoulders, hugging it tight.

Slowly the warmth reminded her to relax. As she watched the silver peaks of moonlit waves, she tried to convey that reminder to her spirit.

The bookcase to her right overflowed with titles on all but one shelf. That lone shelf was crowded with photos of loved ones. She moved closer to remind herself how full her life really was.

Fingering some of the frames, she lingered over one, a lone tear escaping as she placed it back with its mates.

Glancing at the other end of the room, compulsion urged her to find solace in her work.

No, honour the Sabbath.

Rug held tightly to her body, she returned to the window.

What is it about rain Lord? You know I donít often get this way.

For just a moment, the rain ceased, and the silence rang loudly in her ears.

That is the sound of my life. Silence, rarely heard over the fullness of other peopleís lives.

The storm resurged, and drowned the silence with a battering rain, driven against the glass by gusts of wind.

I love my work. I thank you for my success. I know my life honours you.

She looked again at the bookshelf. Many of the titles were her own.

I could not write so well if I were not alone. Paul said that we are better not to marry and to be concerned with pleasing You. I know this is true. But will I never know the love of a man Lord? Why have I this longing if I am never to be able to pour out the love that I have? Is it only that I may write about it? Why would you put this in me, only to torture me? Is this like Paulís thorn in his side?

But you know Lord, although I would cherish the love of a man, what I truly desire is the blessing of a child. So sweet, innocent, dependent. A baby of my own Lord, not another Godchild, as much as I love them.

Her eyes returned to the frame that had caused her anguish. Her latest Godchild Katerina had fine dollís features, big blue eyes and white blond hair. When Maddy had asked her to be Godmother, she was honoured of course, and succeeded, she hoped, in masking the pain. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Always a Godmother, never a child of her own. The emptiness was making her queasy.

She stepped back to the window.

I love this house. I have my work, my church, my friends. I donít have to work in with anyone elseís timetable. I have no reason to be discontent.

Far out over the ocean, lightning lit up the sky.

Are you agreeing with me Lord?

One eyebrow raised as she chuckled quietly. She always imagined God to have a good sense of humour.

As a child, I used to think that your tears were the rain Lord. Is that why rain does this to me? Do I pity myself because I imagine your sympathy?

What if I imagine your grace instead? Every drop I hear is a drop of your mercy and grace, helping me to make it through this night. Every drop a reminder of how much you love me.

She raised her eyes to the ceiling, closed them, and pictured each drop she heard as a gift of grace washing over her.

I can do this. I have time to spend with You. Writing is my life. I would not be so close to you if I had a husband to rely on. I know my weakness! Perhaps I need to be forced this close to you.

Laughing at herself, she snuggled up on the couch to watch the storm until sleep claimed her. Deeper than the longing now, was a gem of wisdom, being loved by God was more important than the love of a man or child, even her own.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Karen Schravemade10/25/05
This is a lovely story, sensitively told.
Debbie Sickler10/26/05
I really enjoyed this. You portrayed her loneliness so well. I hope only her compulsion to write comes from personal experience. :)
Cassie Memmer10/27/05
Well written. What an awful thing this lonliness. But thank God, the lover of our souls never leaves us. Good story.
Julianne Jones10/27/05
This was so beautifully poignant and such a lovely reminder that God can meet all our needs - even our needs for love and companionship - no especially those needs. You have captured her longing and loneliness well. And I could vividly picture the scene outside her window. Well done.
Lynda Lee Schab 10/27/05
You painted a vivid and realisitc picture of the woman's life reflection and soul struggle. Her conclusion - and the message - to put God first, even before our desires, came through loud and clear. Well done!
Blessings, Lynda
Anita Neuman10/27/05
Karen, this is absolutely beautiful! Her conversation with God is SO realistic to me. You've done a really great job on this piece! Congrats, dearie.
terri tiffany10/27/05
This is so well done! I'm sorry I didn't get to it sooner! Great job expressing her emotions!
Jan Ackerson 10/27/05
Absolutely perfect. Her conversation with God translates well to any other kind of questioning, not just that of singleness. Thanks so much!
Denise Stanford10/27/05
I agree with what's been said, but it's sad... though I know at times what we create can feel as much a part of us as a child.
I'd love the kind of certainty she comes to.
I enjoy your writing.
Phyllis Inniss10/28/05
The 'Aching spirit' questions her loneliness, but comes to a resolution as she puts God first. Very well done.
Shari Armstrong 10/28/05
What a powerful entry! We do need to be content where we are -and with who we are. God's timing is perfect.
Deborah Porter 11/01/05
Karen, a huge congratulations to you for your 5th place win in the Editors' Choice. It is wonderful to see you going from strength to strength. Love always, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
B Brenton11/01/05
Wow. What feeling. This is an inspiration. A feeling similar, yet entirely different to the one I often feel.
Eh, that doesn't make sense.
Congrats. It deserves it's title in the Editors choice, girl.
Keep inpiring us with your beauty!
Suzanne R11/03/05
Karen, this is beautiful. You know full well I can identify very strongly with it. You've integrated the theme (rain) just perfectly with the issue of singleness and childlessness, yet contentment. Well done! And congratulations on making it 'in the book'!