Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)
- TITLE: The Blue Wildflowers
By Lyn Churchyard
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This was my first trail ride – In fact, it was only the second time I’d ever been on a horse and I loved it; the smell of the horses, the creaking of the saddles and the sound of their hooves on the well-worn path. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. My horse, Greenbank, was a giant of a creature and had previously been a racehorse. I was grateful he was wise enough to realize I was no jockey, and this was no racecourse.
The sun was fully over the horizon when we reached the clearing an hour later, and it had enough bite in it to make us realize it was going to be another scorcher of a day. We dismounted; some of us with heartfelt sighs of relief and led our horses to the tether lines under the shade of the trees.
“Thanks for the ride,” I told my mount as I removed his saddle. “But on the way home, do you think you could step gently so my butt can recover?” he turned his head and snorted in derision.
Great! Even the horse has a low opinion of me.
This was my first week at Teen Ranch, and my dream was fast turning into a nightmare. I had just turned thirteen, and was still very much a tomboy. I hated being a girl and was much more at home in jeans, t-shirt and sneakers, challenging the neighborhood boys to bike races. Camp was supposed to be fun, but the other girls my age ignored me, and the older ones condemned me for not conforming. Our cabin leader was okay, but I don’t think she quite knew what to make of me.
I’d been there just three days, and I’d had enough. I’d thought this was supposed to be a Christian camp. Yet all I’d met with was criticism and disapproval. I sat on the ground in a patch of shade and toyed with my breakfast, pushing it around my plate. Even the smell of fresh cooked bacon and eggs did nothing to entice me, and I sat with my head down, close to tears, and it was in that moment I decided to run away.
I was tempted to take one of the horses, but decided I’d be too easy to find if I was riding a ‘borrowed’ horse. The ranch was extensive, and the valley at the back of the property would provide an abundance of hiding places. I hadn’t even considered food or shelter, all I wanted to do was escape the pain of rejection.
I sensed someone sit down next to me, and looked up, unaware that my emotions were clearly visible on my face. It was Arthur Bartlett, one of the counselors. He looked at me, his head tilted slightly to one side questioningly. I pressed my lips together, willing myself not to cry, and what happened next, changed my life forever as Arthur picked a stem of tiny blue wild flowers and handed them to me. He didn’t say anything, he simply handed me the flowers, but the expression on his face told me he understood what I was feeling.
Forty seven years have passed since that day, but I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. I kept the flowers in my Bible for almost twenty years, until they disintegrated, leaving nothing but a brittle stem.
I still think of that day fondly, and it often brings tears to my eyes as I remember that was the first time I experienced ‘Jesus with skin on’.
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