Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Camping (07/11/05)
TITLE: All that Glitters
By Melanie Kerr
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There had been a steady thrum of traffic throughout the night. I could hear muted snatches of conversation from group of people further down the queue and the metallic buzz from a personal CD player from someone nearer. The smell of egg sandwiches and cheese and onion crisps wafted on the air for a moment as a cooler box was opened and explored.
"Cassie, you asleep yet?"
"Yes, and I am dreaming of my bed with its soft mattress and warm duvet and the heater blasting out heat everywhere. Of course I am asleep. Sub zero temperatures and heavy traffic rolling up and down the road. Totally conducive to a good night's sleep." I could hear the sharpness in my voice. Tiredness was partly to blame, but also irritation. Some of the irritation was directed at Shari for talking me into this ridiculous stunt, but mostly it was directed at myself.
Since moving up to London just six months ago, and getting a job in an office filled with giggling girls, I had let go of so much of who I really was to try to fit in that I know longer recognised myself anymore. Things that used to have no relevance for me, like delicately painted nails, designer labels and membership to the up market dance studios suddenly became to focus of my life. This was my dream life, but instead of satisfaction and fulfilment, I was left feeling empty and hollow.
In my mind's eye I could see the glittery stiletto sandals. Harrods would be opening their doors in six hours time. The queue of people that I was a part of would spew into the store, minds fixed on the bargains they had ear-marked out. I could see them fighting and snatching at expensive handbags and fur coats, with their obscene price tags cut down to something more affordable. My sandals were reduced from a hefty £550 to £200. If I could have them, dance in them and show off slim ankles and painted toe-nails in them, then I would hear the admiration and the envy in the voices of my work colleagues. If the price of their acceptance was camping outside the shop along with a hundred other people, their sleeping bags and flagging Dunkirk spirits, I had been willing to pay.
"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul." The words rose in my mind. Then I remembered who I used to be - a woman pursuing God with her whole heart. Like a forgotten taste on my tongue, I remembered the times I had spent with God, in prayer and worship. A longing for the intimacy I had then throbbed inside. I had forfeited my soul by letting go of the one thing that brought satisfaction. The glittery stiletto sandals were cheap and gaudy in comparison to the priceless treasure I already had.
I picked up my sleeping bag and went home.
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