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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Willingness (02/21/05)

TITLE: "I am Willing"
By Melanie Kerr


I recognise remembered landmarks; a tree bowing low, pregnant with sun ripened fruit, its trunk grey and twisted; a rock, smooth, stained and rippled with layers of light and dark stone: a stream chattering and gossiping as it tumbles among the grasses and reeds at the bottom of the hill. At each place it seems that I leave a deposit of my courage there. I glance behind, longing for the sanctuary of my own home.

The sun has yet to rise, daubing the landscape with warm colours. Now all is grey and there is a chill in the air.

I have heard the stories and they whisper in my ear and tug at my heart. I fear to go on, but dread to return home. It is not curiosity that nudges me along the path, but desperation that drags me step by step. Hope like the waves of the sea ebb and flow in an uneasy rhythm.

My invisible tormentors heckle my spirit as I go.

"This journey is all for nothing. He won't see you."

"He's moved on to another village. You've missed your chance."

"Do you really think he won't turn away from you? He's just like everyone else. Even now he's picking up stones ready to throw if you get too close."

"Why should he help you? You're not worth saving."

I stop, reluctant to move another step forward. I turn and consider at the road home. My feet, swathed in torn scraps of fabric, refuse to move. I turn again, back towards the town as the sky begins to lighten. Am I willing to go on?

I remind myself of the details of the stories I have heard. I know that he heals sick people. I've heard about the crowds each night around his house. There are so many stories of demons that shriek as they are cast out, and people who were once lame dancing with joy. He just touches them.

I know that he can heal. I don't know where this faith comes from, but what was once a fragile shoot has grown into something sturdy and unbending. But is he willing to heal me? Will he touch me? The answers evade me. If he will not, then I have no hope.

A shadow moves across me. A man stands silhouetted against the sun. I cannot see his face. Too long I have stood here undecided. The sun has risen and people are on their way to the fields. I wanted to be long gone before this.

"I am unclean." I whisper the words, shame flooding my face as I shuffle to the side of the road. The words, like a noose around my neck, strangle life out of my being.

He moves around me and I brace myself to feel the sting of his stones. I fall to me knees, my palms lifting in a plea for mercy.

Unmoving, the man stands silently before me.

"I am unclean." I try to say it louder, thinking perhaps he has not heard, and clamber clumsily on my hands and knees closer towards to the edge of the path.

"I know."

Just two words, spoken by this man, and I really believe that he does know. That I am unclean. That I am lonely. That my heart inside is bruised. That there are moments when I long for death to silence my days. This is the man the stories speak of.

"If you are willing…you can make me whole." The words slip out of my mouth as my heart overflows. My tongue forbids me to say more.

"I am willing," he replies.

There was nothing tentative or hesitant about his touch. He raises me to my feet and wraps me in his strong embrace. I inhale the clean smell of his robes and feel the roughness of the fabric against my cheek. The sun glistens off the pale hairs on his arms. I can feel his warmth seeping through his clothes and through my rags. Long forgotten sensations cascade over me as I stand enfolded. Just as the open sores of my leprosy break and bleed, my heart breaks and my hurts bleed out. He holds me close as I am drowned in a torrent of my pitiful and wretched tears. After a while I am still. I hear his heart beat in the peace after the storm. And we stand.

I am restored.

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This article has been read 2104 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Phyllis Inniss02/28/05
Your words are poignant with life and imagery as you take the reader through this journey to the Healer. Your faith enabled you to receive what He was willing to give.
Karen Deikun02/28/05
Great picture. The reader was able to walk right along with this leper. Great, great job,
Suzanne R03/02/05
Beautiful. Your descriptions of the places, the feelings etc are just wonderful. Well done.
Judy Anderson03/03/05
I could feel the warmth and the healing presence of Jesus in your words. Beautifully written.
Sally Hanan03/04/05
Great job here. You took the time to use all of your senses and get them on paper.
neil deo03/05/05
There are many gems of different colors and value in your work, my divine sibling. Yet, i am somewhat disappointed. This story tells us that Jesus?God is willing to make us whole. Yes, this is the GOOD NEWS, the Promise of Jesus, God's love for us. But what do we offer? Nothing but our sores and admission that we are "unclean". The urgent DEMAND on all Christians is to walk with Jesus, walk like Jesus the best we can. I know it was easy for me to say I am a sinner, and I need Jesus to make me whole, but do I not need to do more ... especially at age 45? In terms of the topic, "WHAT ARE WE WILLING TO DO AS GOOD CHRISTIANS?" Thanks so much, Neil.
Debbie OConnor03/07/05
Melanie, this is astonishingly beautiful. Oh, how I would love to stand enfolded in the physical embrace of my Lord. And I one day I will be! I have tears in my eyes, but joy in my heart. Thanks! And congratulations. This is a work of art.
Deborah Porter 04/04/05
Gloriously, triumphantly beautiful Melanie. Perfect entry for this particular Challenge topic. Well done. I'm so glad this will be in the book. With love, Deb