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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fulfillment (04/06/06)

TITLE: The Man on the Bridge
By Sherry Wendling


The Man on the Bridge

There was an an awful lot of cars down there. I shuddered against the fine, fall mist and hunched over, staring at the concrete bridge where I stood. Brown penny loafers… Are those my feet in these shoes? They didn’t feel connected to the rest of me. Holding my breath, I peered over the waist-high guardrail. Sedans, wagons, tractor-trailers--they raced toward me in clusters of two and three, only to disappear beneath me in a swoosh.

That low guardrail sure wouldn’t hold me back. I could easily clamber over it and leap. Or would it be easier just to lean forward until my body dropped headfirst? Ahh…What does it matter? Jeff is hers now. Anything to end this searing, devouring emptiness.

Would I really do it? I tore my eyes from the mesmerizing stream of traffic below. Mindless steps led me stumbling off the bridge onto a slick bank of grass that bordered the interstate. OK, better think about this. I pulled the rain hood tighter and zeroed my gaze on the bridge. I was young yet. I had parents who loved me, two sisters who’d be devastated. And what about my new friends here at school? They’d be crushed, too.

Just a stone’s throw over my shoulder and across Main Street, life bustled on at the small Bible college I’d just transferred to. I’d moved five hundred miles to come here, to be with Jeff. We would marry; we’d have a ministry together. He hadn’t told me; no one had told me there was Elaine. Fiery fingers of emptiness clutched at my throat. Perhaps I didn’t really want to die…Yet how on earth could I live with this pain?

I was back on the bridge again. Had I decided, then? Would I do it? Tiny pattering noises peppered my hood; the heavy mist had turned to rain. The cars still zoomed, more now than before. Some had their headlamps on. Rush hour; it must be getting late.

I turned, startled, to see who had come up behind me. There hadn’t been any click of footsteps on the concrete. No one. I swung back to the guardrail. But my back feels warm. There is someone! I suppressed a shudder and turned to check once more. It was then that I knew.

“Jesus??” I barely whispered, not daring to exhale. The space all about me flooded with warm light. Sheets of chill, November rain still pelted the freeway, but the spot where I stood emanated radiant springtime. I released my breath. “Is that You, Jesus?” I whispered aloud. My thoughts raced in the silence. All these years growing up in a Christian family, going to church, singing and playing my guitar for You…No one ever told me I could…well, that I could feel You…

His voice flowed into my consciousness on a tide of tenderness. Sherry. He spoke my name, just once, smiling. I wondered at that irresistible smile. I could feel it without seeing it. Or was I simply seeing with another set of eyes? His presence engulfed me with a sense of Home, of belonging.
The Voice came again. You know that song you like to sing? That one called, “He’s Everything to Me?”
“Yes, Lord.” I knew it well.
So tell Me…Am I everything to you?
It was a Peter moment. “Yes, Lord, You know You are!”
Well then…What have you lost?

His final question reverberated through my awareness like a royal trumpet call. I had felt Him, had heard Him! He had come to talk to me—forlorn, pity-sodden me! I was blissfully trapped by divine logic: What had I lost? It was simple, heavenly math.
“Nothing! Oh my Lord!” Wailing sobs ripped free from my chest. When at last I caught my breath, I exulted, “Nothing! I’ve lost nothing, nothing! Jesus, my Everything. I have You…for all time.”

He did not take away all the pain that day. But the agonizing barrenness was gone; He had simply saturated it with Himself. Over the years I’ve been driven again and again to that Living Fountain. I am full, I am full. And that has made all the difference.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 04/14/06
Such a beautiful, well written testimony to the topic of fulfillment! One can just feel it through this writer's words as she contemplated her destiny on the overpass, the bridge....exceptionally well done!
Jan Ackerson 04/14/06
You did a marvelous job of capturing your narrator's despair. Your sentence "Well then. What have you lost?" is absolutely breath-taking. One minor quibble, and a suggestion: The second word should be "were", and I think you could eliminate the past paragraph, which is almost anti-climactic. Your point is made--and beautifully--in the paragraph before that one. One of the better stories of this type that I've read.
Shannon Redmon04/15/06
You painted a beautiful picture of Jesus loving us in the midst of our pain. He always offers a way of escape from temptation doesn't he. Good writing!
Beth Muehlhausen04/17/06
A supernatural, but believable, visitation!!! Liked this line: "I was blissfully trapped by divine logic: What had I lost? It was simple, heavenly math."

Pat Guy 05/10/06
Been there. Awesome!