Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Twilight Years of Life (07/02/09)
TITLE: These Hands
By Ruth Neilson
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Hands are what led me here, and hands are going to take me out of this place as well. I don't regret a moment of my life though. All the way through my life, my hands were with me.
My hands were once soft, smooth hands, desperate to capture a butterfly or a firefly dancing in the wind. Spinning with me in a dance with the sunbeams; happy hands they were.
I grew, and they with me. A metamorphosis from small soft hands to larger, calloused ones, used to grip my median of art--the pencil. The butterflies and fireflies became my subjects as they, instead of me, danced in the beams of light. My devotion to my Savior flowed through these hands. His creation inspired me and I in turn pointed towards His saving graces with every stroke of the pencil.
The days of light turned, and I was handed over to the authorities. I couldn't just stop using my hands for His glory. The council gave me a choice; stop the worship of the Savior that flowed freely from my hands or face the consequences.
I chose the consequences.
My hands weren't mine to silence. With some perverted pleasure, they broke my hands. First the left, finger by finger, then the bones within the hand. They formed my hand into the shape of a claw, a warning as to what would happen if I went against the laws again. I didn't listen. My right hand soon joined its sibling in its fate.
There is nothing left they can take from me that is of value to me. They cannot touch my soulónor can they steal me from the hands of my Savior...I bet He has beautiful hands.
Pierced and scarred as His precious life dwindled away on that cross. So beautiful...I wonder if I can still capture that with my hands. I know I don't have much time.
My life is forfeit and I have nothing to lose but everything to gain.
They leave the pencil in the room, perhaps just to torment me with the fact that I can never hold one properly again. But I have to try.
The pencil feels awkward at best in my claw-like hand, but it settles into the small space between my thumb and forefinger. After just a few strokes, my hand cramps painfully. I can't even rub the pain away, but this is my sacrifice, I must keep on...no matter what.
The pencil slides from its gawky angle, tumbling onto the worn mattress several times. But slowly, a pair of hands emerges from the blank paper. Embracing His twilight as I embrace my own, resting completely in the knowledge that dawn will soon break on the other side of this life.
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