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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Irritated (11/08/12)

TITLE: Of Eyelashes and Molehills
By Frankie Kemp


She had waited all day for this moment and was armed for victory. Leaning closer in to the mirror and positioning the desk lamp so that the light shone straight down, she held the lamp hand at the precise angle. Almost a feat of contortionism, this balancing the lamp and the leaning and the delicate pulling down of her eyelid with other hand, weapon aimed, in search of the irritant with only the two hands--this endeavor was her fierce focus. She knew it was there. All day it had toyed with her and made her eye blink and trickle. She had done her best to ignore it because she could not stop long enough to go to the bathroom, let alone go there with time to complete this mission. Besides that, she didn’t carry tweezers in her back pocket. She sought the errant invader, the tiny assaulter on her serenity. And she wondered how something so small as a newly-growing eyelash bent inward instead of outward could cause this level of disturbance in her abilities to move through her day like she wanted to.

Here in the quiet of the bathroom in her own home, she had time to seek for the assailant--to seek it and eradicate it as quickly and finally as possible. That was her goal. No longer did she have to deal with the present poking and leaking in the vicinity of her orbital socket. Here was something she could stop and stop at her will. Ah, the power!

The power was short-lived. Mounting frustration and the ache of the contortion got in the way. So did her now older eyesight. The anticipation of the moment of relief drove her, but it also overpowered her. Her thirst for victory produced its own frenzy and drove nerve endings to a blinding fury. The fury won, and so did the eyelash. She couldn’t find it. Her own eye mocked her efforts with trickling salt wet.

She sat down in the floor and pulled her knees to her chest, crying in frustration. “Really, Lord? Really? You’re not even going to help me find a little bitty eyelash? I can’t even win the eyelash war! What is this? Come on, Lord . . .” It was a plea and a cry for mercy over something so small her eyes couldn’t detect it.

She cried and felt the release of tension from her body. She sat and pondered, frenzy gone but eye-poking present. Had she truly just sunk to the floor in defeat over an eyelash? Had she truly just pouted to the Lord over an EYELASH? There was no denying it. She had, and somehow, she was comforted. There was no denying that, either. He had whispered, as was His custom. He had whispered when she had roared—and He hadn’t whispered terrible rebuke. He had whispered peace and stillness and Himself—even over an eyelash—even over an eyelash.

Then, her mind went to work making a dozen swirling connections and seeing object lessons in her predicament. How many truths could she find about herself and about her God all because of one incident with an irritating presence? Irritants will gnaw at you until they are dealt with. Even the smallest irritant can become a mighty mountain—especially when you finally chose to deal with it. Some irritants have Divine Purpose. Sometimes you are the irritant, and sometimes you are the irritated. Sometimes we let an irritant get the best of us. Sometimes we can’t get rid of an irritant because we can’t see it . . . Sometimes we can’t see it because all we want is relief from it.

If she sat there long enough, she was sure that a dozen more maxims would call out to her. She chuckled, “If my students could just see me now.” Her AP Language kiddos were fond of poking at her for always pushing them to make deeper and deeper connections with a piece of text. Many of them had taken to saying, “But, Ms. K., sometimes the curtains are just blue curtains.”

Her reply was always something like, “Yes, but it’s your job as the reader to know when they’re not.”

Her tears had suddenly turned to laughter, and she felt refreshed. Yes, the errant lash remained. No, it could not stay, and she was going to search for it again, depending on a little help and fueled by laughter.

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Member Comments
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/15/12
This is a brilliant devotion. You took me to a place that many can relate to. A tiny thing can cause such distress for sure. Then after telling us a story that we can relate to you turned to a message from God that we all need reminding of from time to time. No matter how trivial the problem may seem to others, if it's important to us, then it is important to God. He does love us that much! Splendid bit of insight and you also produced a well-written piece that was spot on topic. (Both definitions of irritate were shown too which I always admire) :)
Beth LaBuff 11/21/12
Sometimes it is those small things that we learn the greatest lessons from. I love your title with this well-written entry.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/23/12
Congratulations for placing 4th in your level and 16th overall!