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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Life (06/15/06)

TITLE: Her Life on Holy Paths
By Birdie Courtright


She bore down with every ounce of strength, completely engaged in the rhythmic waves of an event beyond her control. The threshold between the Heavens and the earth was opening. So powerful was the nexus of her body with the plan of the universe; she could do no more than relinquish herself to the invisible force of life.

Instinctively she clinched her fists and pushed. Two cries pierced the night as the matrix between the seen and the unseen forced its way to completion. In exhaustion, tears of joy mingled freely with the streams of sweat that glistened on her cheeks. The flicker of candlelight danced in silent shadows of holy praise.

The child had come.

The God of creation suckled contentedly at the breast of his created: a more pure moment in the fabric of time, was never known to men of earth than this. The redemption of the planet had begun.

“No, no…no! Not my son, not my son…no…” John reached for hand, praying for some way to soothe the mother of his Lord.

The men, the twelve; surrounded her, shielding her view as the sound of hammers and cries of anguish filled her ears.

“No Mary…do not look. Turn your face from this.” John held her tightly.
The stench of evil filled her nostrils. Her knees gave way to the weight of the horror that played out before her. The merciless mocking continued, pouring down upon her soul like rancid rain. She was entombed in the darkest moment ever lived. The planet trembled in agony.

The final breath of God on earth, slowly and painfully drawn, the shallow sound of its release haunted her every waking moment.

The ache of His departure settled into the very marrow of her bones. Death had surely come to take her captive. The rising of each sun a bitter reminder of the moment her son bowed to the gathering darkness allowing sin to claim the sinless.

Was He Light and Life? He had abandoned her into a blackness so deep she might never know light again; her faith as violently torn and shredded as His flesh.

She would not speak, she would not eat; she would not have breathed if it were her choice, from that moment on. She was too utterly destroyed to step beyond the moment of her desolation.

Her hours were barren, stripped of communion with the God whose spirit had come upon her to change the world. Her silence before Him reverberated through the tomb that held His body.

She closed her eyes, searching for His breath. She knew this quickening in her spirit, lived it before. Dare she hope? It was true!

The grave was empty. The murmurs rippled throughout the city, the mockers held their tongue as she made her way through the streets.

‘Life? Light? Are you there? Son of man, have you wakened?’ Her spirit trembled in recognition.

The sound of the breeze stirring in the leaves of the olive trees as she passed the garden gate resounded in her ears. The resplendent melody wafted through the air; the angels were near. She knew their presence.

‘My son…my son!’

His life in her rising to a crescendo as her feet tried to keep pace with the rhythm of the universe. Joy, joy unspeakable…’the kingdom of God is within you’ He’d said…the veil was rent, the plan fulfilled!

He lives! He lives! He lives!
John held her fragile hand, watching intently. Even in old age, the beauty of holiness was always present in her face. This last hour he’d spent at her bedside was perhaps the most peaceful hour of his entire life.

As he studied her expression, he wondered where her dreams were leading her. She was slipping away from them, he knew, and the thought brought deep sorrow and immense joy. He blinked back the tears that were clouding his vision and tenderly kissed her hand.

Her breath had grown shallow over the last hour, but her radiance seemed to fill every corner of the room. The Comforter was with them.

Her eyes opened, meeting his as a smile began to form across her parched lips.
“He lives, John.” Her last words would fill his heart forever. For a brief moment he saw the eyes of His Lord shining into his, and then she was gone.

He held her lifeless hand to his cheek, and closed his eyes.
“My Lord” he whispered. “your mother.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 06/22/06
Oooh, I really liked the ending of this, a unique glimpse into John and Mary long after Jesus' resurrection. A little division between the 4th and 5th paragraphs might eliminate any brief timeline confusion. Very empathetic with Mary's POV--well done.
Edy T Johnson 06/22/06
I think this is some of the most powerful writing I have ever read. It has moved me to tears, and not just silent weeping, either. You have been there, obviously, to so effectively reproduce Mary's anguish. If this isn't number one on the EC, I'll have to eat my shirt!
Mary Lang06/23/06
Most excellent piece. In one mighty article you have captured, not only the depth and breadth of a mother's feelings, but also the unbreakable bond between The Mother and Eternal Life. Perhaps it could have ended with the exclamations He Lives! The last part seems to detract a bit, but Great writing. Thank You.
Mary Alice Bowles06/23/06
Glorious, Heavenly, Wonderful writing that leaves me almost speechless and that is really hard to do! I think this is a MASTER PIECE!
Donna Howard06/23/06
This is a very powerful piece. The quick time changes jolted me a little at first, but when I realized what was happeining it didn't bother me. I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about the life of John and Jesus mother, Mary before. It has opened a whole new area of thought and study for me. Thank you!
Venice Kichura06/23/06
Wow! This is exceptionally well written!

I enjoyed getting inside Mary's head & feeling her thoughts.
Paul Potenza06/23/06

I find very little use for stories about Mary because there is so little said about her and I don't want to idolize her, but what you have written here deserves it's due.

Mary was a Mom and a Human and the Mother of Our Saviour.

Beautifully written.

Debbie OConnor06/29/06
Birdie, I LOVED this. At first, the time changes threw me a little, but it is outstanding. I couldn't and won't forget it. I've always had a lot of sympathy for Mary, the woman and mother who saw her son die so cruelly for me. You did an amazing job conveying her emotions at the various stages of her life. And the end! I loved John handing her back to her son. Awesome!
Sherry Wendling06/29/06
Congratulations--breathtaking piece! What a precious ending...It takes us all beyond all the arguments and speculation about Mary's status, and and leads us into the fabric of relationship. Beautifully done, well deserved!
Helen Paynter06/29/06
Beautiful, powerful writing - thoroughly deserves its win. COngratulations.
Jan Ross06/29/06
A well-deserved CONGRATULATIONS! :)
Julia May06/29/06
Birdie - This is breathtaking and beautiful! Congats on your win.
Brenda Craig06/30/06
What can I say. This is a compelling piece of writng from start to finish. The line----The God of creation suckled contentedly at the breast of his created:----undid me. What a glimpse at His tender mercies. This made me bow in worship as I sensed His presence. How He loves you and me. Oh, to the heart of a mother. There is so much here to glean from. Congratulations on a most well deserved win. I am humbled by your writing.
Crista Darr07/06/06
He lives! He lives inside of His saints! This piece is so beautiful and the ending is perfect. Wow. Congratulations, Birdie.
Crista Darr01/20/07
Oh, I'm so thankful to read this piece again, especially after just losing loved ones. It is written with such beauty. Truly amazing work. I'm deeply moved. I especially love the ending where John presents mother back to Jesus. Bravo! Clap, clap.
Janell Price07/15/07
Beautifully done. You are an excellent writer.