Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)
TITLE: THE FINAL RETREAT
By Nina Phillips
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The cotten topped, kindly old minister, with soft cloudy blue eyes chattered on in his friendly manner, while he was un-folding his portable home.
The boy smiled as if to say, "go on, I'm listening."
"In my younger days, I worked hard. The harder I worked to get ahead in this here life, the farther behind I got. Yesser, seemed like I was just spinin' my wheels."
"My lil' sis, kept telling me to give it up," she says, "You was born poor, are poor and you're gonna die poor."
"That may be, sister, that may be" I told her, "but I ain't goin down without a fight, says I."
"I went on to church one night. Crept in quiet as a mouse, and sat down right there in the back row, cause I weren't dressed for the cassion' ya know, but I still believed in that man called Jesus."
"Yesser, he was a poor soul like me, didn't have nower' ta lay his weary head down to rest neither. He didn't own nary a thing, not even his own burial plot."
"Yesser, by and by, I was baptized by that ole preacher man, dunked me under calling on the name of the Lord Jesus, he did." he paused momentarily, cutting a jagged slit with a dull knife for a door.
".. Yesser, you can read it for yurself in the Good Book, Acts 2:38 (KJV) I come up out of that there water and Halaluyer says I!" For a brief moment, a glow of happiness washed over his face as he recollected the memory of his Spiritual birth. "Well now, I got a glimpse of somethin I ain't ever saw before, like heaven was open up and the glory of the Lord shinin all around, right down in my soul!"
"Pshhhaw, ain't nobody gonna believe an ole fool the likes of me, but I tell ya, youngin it's the gospel truth. I saw it with my own eyes!"
The old man said his name was Simon, as he gathered a few ragged blankets from the rusty shopping cart, and tossed them into the make-shift cardboard house.
The stranger nodded his head in agreement, and sat down on the curb under the bridge listening intently.
Simon reached into the cart again with his big calloused hands and lifted up a well worn Bible. A small photograph peeked out from the pages, just so.. that a sudden breeze caught it up briefly hanging the family portrait in mid air, flittering like butterfly's wings.
The crows feet smiled around the old man's eyes as they widened in awe. He caught the faded picture lovingly, setting it gently back in his Bible, the same book, the same chapter with hardly a glance, as he sighed.
"Folks just call me Simple Simon now. I figure they think I went nuttier than a fruit-cake after my wife and baby girl passed on. They said it was a freak accident, can ya imagine that!" he exclaimed.
"Yesser, they'll be waitin for me on the other side. That's were I plan to retire, and take my retreat forever n' never. Tain't nothin accidental with the good Lord." he said with certainty.
I met my precious wife as I was a ministerin' at the homeless shelter back in 1958. I have ta admit though, I quit workin so hard after they died. I just picked up that there Bible, my coat, and a small bag, walked right on out the door, leavin the past and worldly labor behind me."
"So, ya see here young fella, my treasures ain't stored up here in this world, ever thing that my heart holds dear is already waitin for me in gloryland, from the moment I saw it, til I go to be with my Lord."
His voice had fallen to a bare whisper now.. as he said, "I'm gettin pretty dag on tired now, young fella. I'm hankerin' for a nice long rest, and I'm so hongry my backbone is startin' to knaw on my ribs. So if you don't mind, I think I'll just go on to sleep now." Then he laid himself down and drifted off in peaceful slumber.
The young stranger stood, and stretched up his full height, eyes blazing, front and center as if at attention. His stature at least nine foot, spreading out his illuminating silky wings--
The lightning flashed and the thunder rolled, brilliant shards of light shattered clouds, the gates of heaven opened wide, as three men were seen walking together on the other side.
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
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