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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Banquet - deadline 8-16-12 10 am NY time (08/09/12)

TITLE: Invitation
By Catrina Bradley


Although she was very aware of his reputation, Lydia had never actually met the Big Guy. That she would be asked to dine with the him? The thought had never crossed her mind. But he issued the invitation himself--in person. And Lydia giddily accepted.

"I'll be hosting a banquet soon," he'd said, "and it would bring me great pleasure if you would be my guest. I have a place at my table reserved for you." His chocolaty eyes had melted her insides, and she was assured of his sincerity.

When she'd said yes, joy lit up his face, and he drew a folded garment from his coat. "My gift to you," he'd said, and let the small bundle unfurl to the ground in a shimmering cloud of pure white. "I pray you'll wear it to the banquet." He'd slipped the cloak over Lydia's shoulders, and she'd felt lighter, as if the weightless cloth was lifting her. She'd looked into his face and was ready to follow him anywhere.

"Soon," he said, "I'll be back to collect you. I can't say exactly when, but I hope you'll wait."

In the decades since his visit, Lydia had fallen about as far as a person could fall. Her descent from the suburbs to the streets was slow but steady, and now the only thing that remained of that giddy young lady with fanciful hopes and naive beliefs was her precious gift from the Big Guy.

She ran her hand over the now dingy and stained cloak, its shimmer worn dull from years of serving as her backpack and grocery sack. It had kept her warm on many cold nights and cushioned her head on warm ones. She had misused it, but always appreciated its usefulness.

She didn't need a mirror to know her reflection would show the same ravages of time and trial, but Lydia had stopped worrying about the wrinkles, stains, and wear on both of them long ago; she was pretty sure homeless ex-prostitutes weren't welcome at the Big Guy's table.

Now, lo and behold, here stood the Big Guy again. Even in the shadowy, dark space behind the dumpster she'd chosen as her shelter, she could see that his eyes hadn't changed. She started having that nice, melty feeling looked away, embarrassed.

"Come, Lydia," he said, and held out his hand. "It's time for the banquet."

Lydia's tongue felt stuck in her throat. "But Sir, surely you don't still want me to...?"

"But surely I do! Your place at the table is ready and waiting. Come," he said, and he smiled.

"Your other guests, Sir. What will they say? I'm...?"

"Lydia, you are the guest I'm concerned about."

"Oh, but the cloak, Sir. I've ruined it. I'm so sorry. How can I...?"

"Ruined, is it? Rise, my good woman. Come out into the light. Let us see." He took Lydia's hand and pulled her to her feet, letting the cloak fall to makeshift cardboard pallet.

"Sir, I'm so ashamed. It's more than the cloak that I've ruined. I cannot come. I'm no longer worthy." Lydia could only look as high as his feet.

"Yes. You are." He picked up the cloak and led Lydia to the puddle of light from a street lamp. Shaking out the cloak, he said, "And look, your cloak isn't ruined either."

Lydia gasped to see the cloth radiating with diaphanous beauty once again. The Big Guy wrapped the cloak around her shoulders and lifted her chin. She finally looked full in his face. No, he hadn't changed at all.

"Come," he said, "and take your rightful place at my table. The banquet can't begin without you."

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This article has been read 562 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/17/12
This was so good. I loved it! Great story telling, and so clever. What a good imagination you have!

At first I was concerned as to who "the Big Guy" was...Then, I realized at the end. It was a good read.

Beautiful conclusion.

Thank you. God bless~
Noel Mitaxa 08/18/12
Very inviting and reassuring, and right on topic. And yes, I also thought close was terrific.
Laura Manley08/18/12
This was a very superbly written story that kept my attention from beginning to end. The only red ink I can offer is a sentence that didn't make sense to me; perhaps different punctuation would have done it more justice... "She started having that nice, melty feeling looked away, embarrassed." Also the end of another sentence seemed to be missing a word... "letting the cloak fall to makeshift cardboard pallet." Perhaps (the) should have been after the word "to." That all said, I thoroughly enjoyed your entry on the Banquet topic.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/18/12
A wonderful story of grace!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/18/12
This is precious. I absolutely adored the metaphor and could see bits of myself in Lydia.
Deborah Engle 08/18/12
This is an encouraging story, for who among us has never failed the Lord. The only problem I have with it, I realize is more my own prejudice, but referring to God as "The Big Guy" has never set well with me.
Ellen Carr 08/19/12
I loved your story of God's grace and it moved me a lot. Thank you. I did notice a couple of typos/words missing - just another check. So easy to see once it's been posted, I know, when it's too late!
lynn gipson 08/20/12
This is beautiful....so moving from start to finish and I could relate to the mc not feeling worthy....breathtaking story.

God Bless, Lynn
C D Swanson 08/23/12
Congrats Catrina! God Bless~
Lillian Rhoades 08/23/12
Congratulations on your win, Catrina. This is a very moving story of God's enduring, impartial love. I must admit, I was emotionally touched by your message.

Lillian Rhoades 08/23/12
Congratulations on your win, Catrina. This is a very moving story of God's enduring, impartial love. I must admit, I was emotionally touched by your message.

Ruth Brown08/23/12
Cat, This was so good. I like the approach and aren't we all thankful for His grace! Blessings, Ruth B.
Sherry Castelluccio 08/24/12
Well deserved win, my friend. You are so talented.