Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Happy (07/12/07)
TITLE: Happy Ever After
By Beth Muehlhausen
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Something rustled just enough to awaken me amidst the stillness of the summer night. I squinted as the streetlight outside penetrated my delicate lace curtains to send dancing luminaries – like Tinkerbelle lights - across the walls.
Did Bob also sense a strange presence? I turned slowly to study the familiar profile of his face, now paralyzed by sleep. My heart flopped erratically within my chest, but not as a startle reflex or emotional reaction. Rather, it was a reminder of my chronic condition - a type of heart muscle degeneration - that threatened to someday take my life with a sudden heart attack. I turned onto my back, closed my eyes, and invited the soothing rhythm of Bob’s soft breathing to lull me back to sleep.
The death angel swooped low so its wingtips could barely dust her forehead.
A sensation like that of a paintbrush swept across my forehead. Shivers raced down my spine as I stared at the shadows and tiny lights playing on the ceiling. Intuitively I knew I was not alone. “Lord, is that You? Did you wake me? Is there something You want me to do?”
In cases like this the angel gave a warning of sorts, which usually provoked a rush of memories. This time was a little different, however. The angel hoped for more.
My mind involuntarily spun backward in time to replay scenes from childhood. I found myself once again swimming in rock-studded shallows of a sun-speckled lake, riding my bicycle in well-worn dirt grooves over daisy-studded hills, sauntering in an icy spring-fed pond where greasy mud oozed between my toes and heady moss-smells hypnotized me with their aromatherapy.
Bob turned in his sleep and flung one arm onto mine. Our four decades together had been good – hard at times, but good. I glanced at his tousled grey hair and then back to the ceiling. Why did these memories seem so urgent – as if to inspire me to recapture the happy disposition of a child? Was Tinkerbelle’s “pixie dust” indeed at work?
Cautiously I pulled my arm free, peeled back the white sheet and quilted bedspread, swung my feet onto the cool hardwood floor, and tiptoed out of the bedroom. A surge of excitement guided my steps, almost as if the hallway beckoned me toward the unveiling of a mystery.
In the living room I flopped onto the plaid couch, positioned my laptop, threw back my head, and waited.
For a second time the death angel dipped down and brushed her forehead with its wings.
What was that … again?
A wellspring of memories gushed across the screen, line after line after line, as I typed with involuntary ease.
God’s messenger hovered, waiting for the right time.
My tingling fingers leapt on the keys despite inadequate circulation; I ignored the tightness in my chest. Only one thing mattered: my love for the carefree child romping through my memory! I loved her childlike trust, confidence and freedom! If only I could be like her again!
Story after story flew from my hands as I revisited such qualities as innocence, acceptance, trust, dependence, and expectancy. Time seemed to stand still until I finally noticed the early grey of dawn peeking through the windows.
Night was fading; a new day was about to appear. I grabbed my laptop and carried it into the office to print my work. A stack of pages soon lay on my lap.
Exhausted but also curiously refreshed, I crept oh-so-silently down the hallway with my prize in hand. I gently placed the stack of pages on Bob’s bedside table and crept to my side of the bed. With a sense of finality I reclined on my side, conformed my body to his backside, and nuzzled into his neck with a smile.
As I embraced Bob I also embraced the truth. God was with me. He knew me and I knew Him.
Then … it came without warning.
Suddenly something resembling a concrete block slammed into my chest; white-hot pain ripped through my upper body. I thought of the stack of papers just a few feet away.
The angel began to make final preparations.
Surely … Bob would find comfort … knowing God had inspired me to search … for a happy, childlike mindset … to prepare me …
With a gentle swoop of its powerful wings, the death angel lifted her beyond the moment of shock and pain to experience the fullness of her eternal inheritance.
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