Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Dead End (02/06/14)
TITLE: He Knows The Way I Will Take
By Pauline Carruthers
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Menacing black storm clouds invade an insipid blue sky as we hit the M25 motorway, heading for the coast. A half hour later we find our exit road blocked due to flooding, adding miles to the journey as we follow the sat nav detour. Like an excited child I can’t wait to get to our destination and try to shut off my mind to the hours ahead. Thoughts of you trickle through my mind, making me momentarily sad. A long illness and then suddenly you were gone, our dream of retirement by the sea where we first met, coming to an abrupt end. It’s just my dream now. I sense my daughter’s thoughts aligning with mine.
“Lord, I’m so excited. Please give us safe travel and let this be the right apartment for me. I sense Your hand in this and I’m still trusting You, knowing Your timing is perfect. It’s been a long hard journey, with many disappointments and the barriers just kept coming up, time and time again. I’m so thankful that now the end is in sight.
An unwanted thought sneaks in “But please don’t let this be another blind alley.”
A cold wind howls, snatching at coats, whipping hair in our faces. Icy blasts redden our cheeks. Seagulls swirl above us, swooping down, foraging scraps of food from unlikely places. We meet the Agent and my heart soars as we unlock the door and step into what is to be my dream apartment. I smell it as soon as we enter the hallway, dampness. I can deal with this. From room to spacious room my heart steadily sinks as dreams turn to nightmares. Tears threaten and I know I can’t take on the amount of work needed to make this place my home. Disappointment edges around my soul and rests with a thud into blankness.
“My precious child I do not lead you down blind alleys. They are simply safety barriers when you are running ahead.”
Downcast and weary, hunched against the blustery wind, I walk several steps behind my daughter and the Agent as we make our way back to the car. As if prompted the Agent turns suddenly, smiles and tells me a new apartment came onto the market that very morning, but she hadn’t mentioned it as she knew I didn’t want open plan. I tell her I don’t want to view it. My daughter lovingly takes my arm and I feel the unspoken concern.
“Mum, it does no harm to look.”
Reluctantly I enter the hallway. I’m taken by surprise, my heart leaps for joy, my spirit lifts in praise. This is my home. It is everything I didn’t want, yet it is everything I could desire. I silently thank God for His intervention. An offer was made and accepted. The road closed on my search. I know you would have loved this apartment.
Rain beats furiously against the car as we head for home. The wipers swish side to side as we listen to the radio. An old love song sends me sailing down a river of memories, ’Hello My Friend, Hello.’ One of our favourite songs. So many evenings we spent listening to Neil Diamond. A tear threatens but I hold back. I don’t want to accept the reality that memories are all I have of you. Memories have no future. Their door slams with finality. Yet I want to hang onto them.
Back home I slide into bed exhausted, quietly thinking of you and our plans that hit that immovable barrier of loss. I’m vaguely aware of music that seems to cross the distance of time, ’Hello My Friend, Hello’. And I see your eyes, hazel flecked with brown, looking into mine. My head rests on your shoulder as we dance and I feel again the love that never died.
Waking to reality I remember my promise. I will take my precious memories and walk along the beach where we often walked together, hand in hand. God slammed one door tightly shut and opened wide the right one. There are no blind alleys with God. They are simply road blocks that lead us back onto the path from which we have strayed.
“For I know the plans I have for you“, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ( Jeremiah 29:11) NIV
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