Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Start (01/16/06)
TITLE: From Beginning to Start
By Rachel Burkum
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“I don’t want to start something I can’t finish.”
“But, Mick…” Lauren looked into the unending pools of stillness that masqueraded as his eyes. “We can do this,” she pleaded as a tear ran down her cheek.
Mick caressed her soft hands, knowing the sheer pain of his heart being ripped in two must have been evident on his face. “I don’t want you getting hurt. I couldn’t bear to fail you.”
“But I believe in you.”
Mick leaned down to plant a tender kiss on Lauren’s hand, swallowing the fear that gripped his soul. “Goodbye.”
Lauren choked on a sob as Mick turned to leave, dashing through the rain to his truck. A low rumble of thunder muffled her cry as she ran inside the house to sooth her wounded heart.
Mick glanced in his rearview mirror and took a frustrated swipe at a tear that had escaped. It was better this way…
September 13, 2003
“I need that project tomorrow!”
Mick sighed wearily and tapped his gnawed pencil on the desk, unwilling to look his boss in the eye. “I’m sorry, Mr. Timlen. I just can’t seem to get started.”
“You never get started. That’s the problem! Now get in gear and get it done.”
Mick only looked up when he heard his boss stalk back down the hall. Fear of failure sat on his shoulder like a taunting gargoyle, threatening to attack. He’d just be better off not starting at all, than exposing himself for a harsh slap of rejection. What did it really matter?
January 2, 2004
Mick stared at his computer. He was only one click away from enrollment - one click away from earning a higher education. His finger froze in midair, refusing to click his mouse. As if on cue, sweat broke out on his forehead. Fear: the driving emotion that had increased in severity to the point of becoming a character trait. What if he wasn’t smart enough to take this course? What if everyone else in the class did well, while he flunked? Mick’s fear fed on his hesitance to take the step forward.
Letting go of the mouse, he sat back and ignored the screen. Maybe this really wasn’t for him. He had enough education. He didn’t really need it…
May 24, 2004
“I’m a failure!” Mick fell on his knees and stared up at the cross that was aglow in the deathly still sanctuary. He was alone, but he could feel a presence of something greater than himself. Though still unsure of what had led him here, he knew this wasn’t a chance meeting.
The candles in the ornately stenciled window flickered in a draft, casting dancing shadows on the floor. Mick stared at his own shadow, dark and flat, prostrate before the cross. And yet he remained upright, never having had the courage to serve a God so great and powerful - a God who was righteous…pure…unfailing.
But now everything was falling apart, crumbling like brittle mortar. His life meant nothing anymore. Unwilling to take risks of any kind, Mick had run in place, the world passing him by.
“I took every precaution, and I still failed!” he cried aloud. “I’m alone. I have nothing. No job, no love and no life.” He sucked in his breath, feeling an unexplainable surge of adrenaline, as if being struck with a cattle prod in protest against his words. “How can I follow You?” he asked, bowing his head in shame. “What if I fail that too?”
“My love can carry you through.”
Mick knew he wasn’t just hearing things. He knew the words were being spoken directly to his heart. He needed to feel that love…that peace. He had hit rock bottom and instinctively knew this was the way up. But what if he wasn’t good enough?
“I’m here for you, Mick. Don’t be afraid. Trust in Me and a peaceful life will follow. Let Me steer and you’ll head in the right direction.”
June 7, 2004
The doorbell startled Lauren from her nap, and she rose to groggily. As she swung open the door, her heart leapt into her throat. “Mick?”
Mick stood tall, enveloped in unimaginable peace. “Hi, Lauren.”
“What do you want?” Lauren didn’t dare hope.
“You.” Mick’s words rang true with the love he’d always felt. “I want to start again.”
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