Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: IT'S CHILD'S PLAY (06/06/19)
- TITLE: Tethered
By Arlene Baker
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I sighed as I counted lavender drops into a running bath. Not that the essential oil would really slow down my racing mind. I eased my aching body in the comforting warmth with a long sigh.
How did it get so out of control?
A tear slid down my cheek. A second found its trail and followed. Then another. And another.
The phone jangled in the distance.
I can’t take it, God, I just can’t.
Guilt settled on me like a Grandmother’s quilt on a hot July day. I struggled to breathe. My thoughts accelerated.
Jack’s asking strange questions. Forgetting where he put things. That’s not like him. He’s an engineer. He lives and breathes methodical precision. What if he …
I bit my lip. Refused to let my mind wander there.
I don’t inhabit the world of ‘what ifs’.
I caught my breath. Held it.
God, is that you? I knew that thought had not come from me.
I’d lived in the land of ‘what ifs’ for years.
What if I got a terminal illness?
What if my kids needed help I couldn’t give?
What if Timmy started drinking again?
What if Sarah married that guy she’d been dating on and off?
What if Jack had …
Again, I stopped my mind. I refused to process that what if.
Marge called today, asking me to lead the next women’s conference. God, I can’t do it. I just can’t. I whimpered, pressing the washcloth to my mouth.
“But, God.” I gasped out loud. “I can't disappoint Marge.”
I sighed. Thought about my 10-year-old granddaughter.
How simple life was back then.
I had played a lot of tether ball at her age. I remembered the thrill of pounding the ball with a balled fist every time it swung past my head. It spun faster and faster, the rope shortened with every revolution, until it tethered itself against the pole. I was unstoppable back then. The tether ball champ of my middle school.
Now, I feel like I’M the tether ball. Catapulted one direction, then slammed in the other. Back and forth. Back and forth.
Tears increased. I added each to the dampening washcloth.
Lily, what did I promise you in Matthew 11?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV). I rattled off the words I’d memorized as a child in Sunday School.
Are you burdened, Lily?
Do you believe I can give you rest?
Well, yes. That’s what I’m praying for right now.
How about your burden, Lily? Is it heavy?
Yes. My hand swiped across both cheeks. SO heavy.
Didn’t I promise MY burden is light?
My galloping thoughts skidded to a halt. I felt trapped by his question. Ensnared by my own thoughts.
God, I …
My heart stilled.
I can’t answer your question, Father. I can’t.
Am I a liar?
Then, understand this, daughter. My burden IS light. Get rid of all the burdens you put on yourself. I can't help you with those. However, I will carry the ones I gave you. Will you do it?
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