Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: ANNOYED (04/05/18)
TITLE: Silvers and Purples
By kate mackereth
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It felt a bit like when Joshy yanked off my Barbie’s head with his sticky fingers. Even though Daddy managed to reverse the rude decapitation, Barbie was never quite the same. I bathed and brushed her hair a billion times but the peanut butter smell remained, as did my little brother.
It also felt like the time I built the most beautiful sandcastle Grandma had ever seen. The sand was so warm, just like her smile. We filled buckets and made a mote, sticking shiny sea shells like jewels to our creation. Waves pooled over it, as waves tend to do, and I chased the silvers and purples back to the sea, admiring them as they tumbled but not wanting to let them go.
That’s how it felt when Grandma died.
Mummy ironed my favourite dress for the funeral even though she cried the whole time, maybe because she hates ironing so much. She said the yellow matched my curls and that children shouldn’t wear black. But to me, wearing sunshine when your heart is all inked up is like telling a lie. I’m a good girl. Good girls don’t tell lies.
It surprised me that good mummies do.
Beautiful cakes and slices adorned our dining table. Pastries were there too as well as those old lady egg sandwiches with that brown bread everyone pretends to like. Mummy had prepared a feast. I didn’t see her take a single bite. Not even one.
‘Grandma is in a better place now, we can be joyful.’
Mummy’s voice plonked to the bottom of my stomach like a bowling ball in the gutter.
‘You’re so strong Miranda.’ Mummy’s friend rubbed her shoulder.
‘Such great faith.’ Another congratulated her.
I coughed on a grape.
Putting his arms around her, I saw Daddy pull a handkerchief from his pocket and offer it to Mummy. She declined. Maybe it was because he’d already filled it with boogas.
Or maybe it was another lie. Another lie about death. It’s this idea that we must bear it well and bear it wonderfully. But somehow I don’t think pushing it down deep inside us and smothering it with fake smiles is what Jesus did.
I think death irks God. I think it bothers him the same way a bull ant bothered me when it bit my bottom last week. Death stings and there’s no band aid, not even those superhero band aids can work on death. And yet people keep slapping them on my Mummy, a verse here, a flower there…
And what’s this talk of strength? Don’t muscles strain and stretch and shake? Aren’t muscles meant to move?
Why can’t we be moved by death?
God was. I think that’s the whole point. It’s why he sent Jesus and why Jesus cried over Lazarus. Death wasn’t something to be tolerated by God. It disgusted him, disturbed him, grieved him. Propelling him to act. He didn’t sit back and eat old lady egg sandwiches, swallowing that dry brown bread, crust and all, smiling with a halo.
Even creation itself wept when Jesus died, with darkness and trembling.
We are supposed to be moved by death. We are supposed to feel it.
Yes, Grandma is in heaven. Maybe she’s sweeping stars from heaven’s floor so I can see them and think of her. But I’m still miffed about it and I don’t want to build sand castles on my own. Just like the peanut butter in Barbie’s hair, the stench of death has stuck to me and I know I’ll never be the same.
I think when the grains of sand are dragged from under our feet and when our silvers and purples are ripped away we can run straight to the arms of God. He won’t try to slap a band aid on.
He’ll say, ‘See, this is why I got so mad. This is why I sent my son.’ He’ll show us his own heart and only then can he heal ours. We have to feel the sting of sin and death first before we can truly know the beauty of his embrace.
His love for us is greater than my love for Grandma. He desires us more than I desire to have her back and build sand castles, so that’s a lot more than I can imagine.
It makes me ache to be with him.
But Joshy might just beat me there if he touches my Barbie one more time with his sticky fingers.
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