Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Selfishness (02/14/05)
TITLE: The Interloper
By John Hunt
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A discomfort came to settle upon me, an insidious distress that crept into my soul. It was an obscure sort of disquiet, one not wrought from cold, or pain, or hunger, or thirst, or fatigue. No, this unease was not from any of those things. Rather, this unease came from the profound cognizance of what might lie just beyond my footsteps. Now the foreboding awareness of what could be waiting for me there, in the dark, sorely vexed me.
There was a streetlight up the way. It was a pendulous, ornate type - a type reminiscent of what might have adorned residential streets in years gone by. The incandescent glow of the lamp escaped the night fog, while I squinted to make out the dark silhouette that was just beside it. It was a silhouette of a man leaning against a nearby brick wall.
The brilliant glare of the lamppost gradually illuminated the cobblestone path that lay before me. In a strange way, it seemed to beckon me, to draw me to that very same wall, and to that very same lamppost. It was by no means a comforting feeling.
Details of the old man came into view as I slowly approached the lamppost. He was a scraggly, filthy, old fellow, and – as I would come to find out – a man whose countenance was equally as detestable.
“What do you want?” the man barked as I approached him.
“Why, I was just wondering who you might be, if you don’t mind me asking,” I timidly replied.
“Well, I do mind,” he bellowed. “This is my spot! My spot, I tell ya’! And you ain’t taking it away from me! It’s mine! Mine! I earned it.”
“Listen, I just…”
“You self-righteous do-gooder, you’re so smug with your Bible and shiny penny loafers. I tell ya’ the truth, I’ll have it all someday – all! I may only have this little corner now, but someday you’ll gladly hand it all over to me.”
Just then, I suddenly realized who the man was. Yes, I had seen him many times before. In fact, I had repeatedly confronted the interloper in the past. I thought I had finally rid myself of him, but there I was, facing my arch nemesis once again. He was my selfishness and pride. I had reserved a dark corner of my soul for him, and he had more than gladly taken up residency. The Light had illuminated the repugnant old man, and now I was forced to face him.
I knelt beside the alter, as the church hymn began to softly play.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
-Psalm 139: 23, 24
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