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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hope (05/04/06)

TITLE: The Final Resort
By Linda Germain
05/08/06


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Warm mineral waters flow gently over picturesque rocks and into a natural sparkling pool. Soothing aromas from stately pines and wild honeysuckle permeate the air with an unforgettable welcome to the sick and injured. Positive reports of improved health, even healing, are attributed to the spring’s mysterious medicinal properties. It is my last hope.

Pain shadows me every minute of the day and night and blocks memories of those times when I was young and agile. I have never asked, “Why me?” The bigger question is, “Why not me?” That settled, I have had to move on to embrace the challenge to live in spite of the assault to this suffering mass of protoplasm called a body.

Quick, purposeful movements, like running, have turned to slow methodical chores, like shuffling. Sometimes I am simply in the way, so I try to keep to the side; that includes life in general. For a few weeks I have been bedridden with stiffness and increased pain. An anonymous “friend” blessed me with this trip to a famous mineral springs.

I am thankful to be on the way, but in truth, the lumpy little road that leads to the miracle waters brings added torture to already angry muscles and joints. I bite my lip and hope we are almost there.

Oh Lord, please give me strength to finish this journey with dignity and witness.

After I am checked into the temporary living quarters, preparation for the first treatment in the pool begins. Strong, well-trained hands help with a bathing suit kind of garment that snaps on the sides. They wrap me in a thick, pre-warmed terrycloth robe and set me in a wheelchair as if I were a china doll. A kind woman with a French accent and a jolly young man who smells of mint, roll me to what I am calling my waterloo. He laughs when I share that silliness.

Madam Can-Can, as I have dubbed her, and Lenny-Mint, which suits the happy fellow, stop at the edge of the therapeutic bath and give me a few basic instructions. They promise not to drop me or to leave me alone. There is some sort of flotation device built in the swimwear. For one fleeting moment a cold chill sweeps over me. Perhaps I am expecting too much.

As they ease me into the nearly hot mineral water I sigh, “Ooh…how lovely.”

My teeth are chattering but I attempt to sing in a quiet voice. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

Madam and Lenny support me on either side. They encourage me to lie back on a little air filled pillow and just let go and float. I never want to leave this delicious place of relief. It must be what a baby feels, secure in amniotic fluid designed for his protection while he develops and grows. I pray.

Lord, I am your child. My spirit is willing, but this old flesh is weak and weary and needs rejuvenation. It is my desire to go wherever you send me. Please renew this compromised body until I see you and trade it for a better one with an eternal warranty.

I am so relaxed and calm the usual bedtime analgesics are greatly reduced. I sleep all night and have comforting dreams. Day two arrives. I can hardly wait to slip into the heavenly pool again. They remove the pillow and let me grasp a small inner tube and begin to kick my feet. I am exhilarated.

By the end of three weeks I feel like a new woman; one who is compelled to sing again, only louder.

I’m pressing on the upward way, new heights I’m gaining every day.

Sometimes my stalwart companions vocalize with me. On this, my last day, others in the natural pool join our impromptu chorus. We try to remember every song that contains the word hope.

Soft as the voice of an angel… Whispering Hope.

I am anxious to leave, though sad. I exit the wonderful caressing waters for the final time and walk away with no assistance. Bright sun peeks through green leaves to produce a natural spotlight that draws my eye to an old wood sign, hand carved and nailed to a tree. It reads:Hope Springs.

I can’t stop laughing. “Yes Lord. It’s an eternal thing.”

I raise pain free arms in joyful thanksgiving and keep going forward.



_____


“Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” [Alexander Pope]


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This article has been read 1105 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jessica Schmit05/12/06
Master! You definately belong here. What a way with words. I'm so jealous! Beautiful story.
Purity Snowe05/12/06
Wow! Some big words but a bigger story! Tres good!
Maxx .05/12/06
Excellent writing, the pace was great, the character was full... I could feel her pain and her joy. Well done. My only nit pick, and this is minor, is that the only "hope" involved was in her songs while at the spa. Take away her singing and youhave a story of a hurting lady who goes to a spa. So the focus was on the water not on ultimate hope. That, however, is only my opinion and it certainly doesn't tale away from the skill and ability that you have demonstrated here. Clear a place on your mantle, this looks strong enough to place! :-)
Jessica Schmit05/13/06
I could be wrong, but isn't this allegorical? Are the springs metaphorical for the Jesus as our living water, our hope and our life? I may be reading too much into this, but that's what I got from it.
Linda Germain 05/13/06
There are real places like this. One is in Warm Springs Georgia where President Roosevelt went for treatment of his polio-pained limbs. Metaphorical or literal, anyone who suffers unrelenting pain (of body or heart or spirit) always have HOPE in Jesus. The woman's prayer for relief was answered...a prayer with which many in the throes of chronic pain can identify.Thank God for blessed HOPE! LG
Melanie Kerr 05/13/06
There was some wonderful description throughout. I liked the inner thoughts that accompanied all that the character did. What struck me was the "kind offers" of friends can sometimes create difficult situations for people - but ultimately she benefited.
Rita Garcia05/17/06
A masterpiece. Thanks for the blessing.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/17/06
This is a great story of hope. You expressed the pain and described your characters very well. Well done.
Cristy Zinn05/17/06
Beautiful! You transported me into the character immediately. Stunning descriptions!
Beth Muehlhausen05/22/06
I want to go, too!!!! ;-D