Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Help (02/20/06)
- TITLE: The Parable of Freda's autonomy
By Christine Dunn
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Three prompt raps on the wooden chalet door followed the stranger’s voice. Freda Buchannon, like a timid mouse, tiptoed slowly towards the window. Her frail, trembling hand pulled back a small corner of the curtain. Against the glacial alpine backdrop, stood a young, wavy-haired man, touching his concerned face, pensively.
A louder voice, accompanied by a heavier rattle of the door ensued. What did he want? Freda had not had any visitors in over fifteen years - one incentive in moving to this isolated and inaccessible area. No well meaning caller would locate, or bother her here, as she lived in the seclusion of the mountains. Although she had lost all trust in humanity, this chalet, in its stunning snow-capped scenery, had become her haven of peace, a refuge.
Of course, she had not always been such a solitary figure. The faded photographs draped on the bedroom wall reminded her of happy, youthful days when she had strutted confidently into a roomful of strangers, introducing herself with ease. Her once beautiful and innocent, eighteen year old face smiled unknowingly from its dusty, neglected frame. Beside it, a well dressed man with charming, rugged features gazed through a broken glass casing. She had always had a list of eligible young men to choose from in her youth. Yet only one had passed the test. Frank Buchannon was the purpose which drove her, the delight which captivated her, and the eventual demise of her ideal utopia. Her heart had been shattered , as she had uncovered the truth concerning his long hours searching hopelessly for a job. Frank had been visiting his mistress at the other end of town. Even though he had begged for forgiveness, promised to be truthful and vowed to change his ways for Freda, she had, perhaps out of hurt, rejection or stubborn pride, stated coolly, “I’ll be just fine on my own.”
A bitter moment of anger was interrupted by yet another knock, and the bellow of the young man’s voice.
“ Don’t worry, Mrs. Buchannon.I’ve only come to help you.”
Help me? Half laughing, yet intrigued, Freda gingerly made her way to the door. Turning the latch, she opened the door just enough to peer at the wavy-haired stranger’s face.
“Mrs. Buchannon,” The young man’s concerned face now appeared relieved. “I’m so glad you answered me. I know that you don’t recognise me, but I’ve come up here just to warn you. All the residents of the village are being evacuated due to the risk of an avalanche. Most people have gone, but I remembered about you, and decided to check that you weren’t still here. My wife and children are in the jeep over there.” He pointed to a blue four wheel drive with two little girls playing in the back seat. “We’re leaving now to go to Gruten. You must come with us, as it’s not safe to stay.”
Freda opened the door a little wider. She had heard the rumours of an avalanche the previous week, and there was something very familiar about the rugged face of the young man. “How nice of you to remember me.” she thanked, “Though, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll stay here. I’m comfortable enough, and I don’t need any help.”
“But, I’ve travelled quite a distance. When I saw the village on the news, I remembered where I had heard of it before. As a child, when I visited my dad, he would often speak sentimentally of you, and how he had heard about the lonely little chalet ---”
“I’ll be just fine on my own.”
As she closed the door, with a final slam, she was almost sure that she could see a tear in the corner of the wavy-haired stranger’s eye. Muffled, choking words made their way through the blocked door. “Dad was right.” He sobbed. “ There is a power to forget the past, soften our hearts, and humble ourselves to accept the liberating love offered to us. You could have released yourself from the chains of self-sufficiency, yet you chose to let the world cave in on you.”
Acts 28:27 - For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. (NIV)
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