Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Elephant in the Room (12/05/13)
TITLE: Reality Check
By Pauline Carruthers
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The intoxicating aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafted around the kitchen. Leo sat astride a tall stool at the breakfast bar, relishing the prospect of a quiet couple of hours doing absolutely nothing. Light footsteps rushing down the stairs told him Esther was on her way out. As he called “see you later,” her bright face appeared round the door, hat pulled down over dark curls, scarf wrapped around slender neck.
“Don’t know what time I’ll be back. You know how Ross loves to shop.”
The front door banged shut and Leo slid off the stool, nonchalantly aiming a couple of waffles at the toaster. He poured coffee into a mug, retrieved the waffles and returned to the breakfast bar. The back door swinging open interrupted his reverie as Dan, Esther’s younger brother, stumbled in amidst a blast of cold air, an unfamiliar glow lighting up face.
“What’s happened to make you look so happy,” Leo joked. “Must be love.”
“That’s exactly what it is.” replied Dan, easing himself onto the bar stool next to Leo. For a moment Dan seemed lost in thought, but then suddenly threw out his arms, exclaiming animatedly,
“Well take a look at that. Did you ever see anything so magnificent? Look at those massive legs, huge feet. Can you feel that tough grey wrinkled skin, Just stretch out your hand and touch him. Look at those great floppy ears. Does that make him African or Indian? Can you just see him parading through the streets draped in fine silks, jewels bedecking his regal head, kind smiley eyes focused straight ahead. I always thought they had kind, smiley eyes. Look how he lumbers majestically along, magnificent body swaying from side to side, trunk waving, tail elegantly drooping. Do you know they never forget.”
Leo raised his hands in a helpless gesture, a nervous laugh escaping from his dry throat
“Hey Leo, what’s the problem? Just have a little faith., as you used to say to me. Take another look and trust me. He‘s standing bang in the middle of your kitchen.”
The coffee percolator bubbled and hissed in the quiet kitchen. The appetising smell of honey waffles filled the air. Dan slid from the bar stool and turned to face Leo, an expression of love mingled with a hint of hesitation showing in his brown eyes.
“I guess what I’m trying to say is that you have always presented Jesus to me in that way, trying to get me to visualise him through your descriptions. I could always sense your absolute belief and your desire to get me to see Him as you do, but it’s not easy to see through another person’s eyes. Descriptions can be clear as day to some and like looking through a mist to others. Faith is so personal it almost defies description.”
Leo could see that something had changed in Dan but before he could find the right words, Dan continued.
“It was quiet in town last night so I drove the cab to the out of town bus depot to see if I could pick up a fare. An old guy was sitting on a bench and I pulled up alongside. He didn’t look as if he had the cab fare, but something in his expression drew me to him and we got talking. You wouldn’t believe the story he told me. He was straight out of prison and he shared his testimony with me. It was tough inside, but he knew he deserved to be in there. I tell you Leo, a lifetime of violence, robbery, you name it he’d done it. When he finished his story he was in tears. Not self pity, but real heartfelt, joyful gratitude. He said the prison chaplain, who incidentally had also been a bit of a bad guy before he turned his life over to Jesus, had shared personal testimony with him and led him to faith. I could really sense the presence of God and before I knew it the tears were falling and I had surrendered my life to Jesus too. It was testimony Leo, not just descriptions. Testimony is real Leo and I needed to hear it.”
The door slammed shut and Esther barged into the kitchen, loaded shopping bags dropping around her feet.
“Hey Esther. Can you see anything unusual standing in the room?”
Unexpected tears suddenly welled in Leo’s eyes. His voice dropped to a whisper.
“Esther, Dan found Jesus last night.”
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