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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: Those Walls Are Going To Fall
By James Clem


Sharon cautiously broke the seal on the tiny envelope that came attached to the single red rose. Her hand trembled and her breath caught in her throat as she read the simple lines that Jeff had nervously scratched on the card earlier in the day.

She sat unmoving for long minutes as emotional highs and lows thundered inside her. Closing her eyes to hold back tears, her heart didn’t know whether to shout with joy or scream with panic. Waves of conflicting emotion pounded upon her ragged nerves leaving behind a sand-swept beach of anxious, rambling thoughts and jumbled memories.

Her friendship with Jeff had wonderfully blossomed in just a few short weeks. Was she ready to open her heart to someone new? Why couldn’t Jeff be content to let things stay as they are? Her divorce had left scars that were just too near the surface. The perky air of pleasantry that she presented to everyone around her; masked her furtive efforts to remain safely hidden behind carefully constructed walls. No one was permitted break through; she could not withstand the heartache of another loss.

A frightened thought elbowed its way to the fore radiating tense assurance, “It’s okay; the walls are strong. He can’t break them. We’ll just tell him we need more time.” This notion was swiftly knocked aside by a bold initiative, “It is time to throw open the gates. The walls are not keeping people out; they’re keeping you locked inside.”

She relived the recent times that she and Jeff had enjoyed together – neither was brave enough to call them dates. They were good times, she admitted with a bit of reticence. Looking again at the tiny card in her hand, she reread the lines that would make poets shudder and smiled at his gallant attempt to win her heart.

I know the pain you try to hide
Your walls are solid, strong and tall
You guard your heart from further hurt
But those walls are going to fall.

She breathed in deeply and looked up at a painting she had bought so many years ago. It depicted Jesus knocking on a door waiting for it to be opened to him. She bowed her head and let the feelings inside her pour out in a jumble of half-sentences knowing that God understood every vague thought she couldn’t form into words. She sobbed as emotional floodgates opened. She felt safe in the comforting arms of her Father in heaven.

God promised in his word, “I will never leave you.” She knew God had been there when her first marriage had crumbled. He had been with her in all the years since. He knew the plans for her future.

“Lord, please show me clearly if I can trust my heart to Jeff.” She paused and waited for a still small voice to whisper in her ear. In a moment she collected her thoughts and spoke them aloud in her empty apartment. “I didn’t build the walls to hide behind. I built them to see who would care enough to break them down.”

She sat quietly for a moment as the realization suddenly came that God had already answered. He had provided Jeff the exact words she needed to hear.

She looked up, slowly shaking her head in amazement, “You truly are an awesome God. You knew what I needed and you answered before I even asked.”

She caressed the single red rose gently across her cheek, and breathed in deeply its delightful fragrance. The days ahead were filled with promise. Her defenses were now brittle and weak. All it would take to break down the walls was a gentle push.

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This article has been read 863 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Melanie Kerr 02/15/06
Your description of her emotional state was very vivid.

I am not sure that picture of walls being knocked down really appealed to me. I would rather prefer to think of the walls being gently dismantled by both characters working together.

I recognise the tendency to hide behind walls to protect ourselves.
Jan Ackerson 02/16/06
I love this! It seems as if we all build walls at one time or another...you've done a great job of depicting this woman's walls, and their dis-assembly!
Lynda Schultz 02/16/06
This line spoke to me: “I didn’t build the walls to hide behind. I built them to see who would care enough to break them down.” Rightly or wrongly, this statement depicts reality. But when someone comes along and cares enough to work at the wall, that person's a "keeper". Good job.
Maxx .02/16/06
The title really set this piece up perfectly. Then the story delivered. Captured emotion well and had a good message of hope. Great job!
Shari Armstrong 02/17/06
Very well done, very real and relatable for anyone who's ever had a broken heart.
Anita Neuman02/17/06
I really liked this story - and I can't believe it was written by a man! That's impressive, Jim!!! You've really captured her emotions and turmoil.
Brandi Roberts02/20/06
This is beautiful! Really beautiful!! Well done, Jim!