Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)
TITLE: Roadside Cleanup
By Sandra Petersen
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I began at the foot of the steep incline, pulling the wagon I was to fill. The first refuse I came to was typical of the initial things all travelers discarded by this road. I could barely see over the heaps of over-inflated tires. Varying in size, the spheres were not heavy, but there were so many! Every person who chose to ascend this mountain began by casting this item aside. The very act humbled them and enabled them to move more freely.
Around the base of the piles were golden images of earthly things. I still marveled at mankind’s worship of these inanimate objects. The images themselves were composed of brittle plastic with a cheap gold paint overlay. Worthless things that were easily shattered. Some travelers found this step to be extremely difficult, and even rich young rulers had turned away from the path rather than give up their accumulation.
I stooped to pick up books and magazines that made me blush because of the words and pictures found in them. Some spoke evil of the Divine One whom I serve.
Scandalous news articles, meticulously pasted onto scrapbook pages scattered in the breeze. I knew most of these stories to be half-truths at best and outright lies at worst. Each besmirched someone’s character. These wicked tales could be blown quite far causing widespread damage, and I scurried to collect them all.
At certain spots a carcinogenic soot stained the grass. In other areas vials of caustic fluids oozed their contents onto dead vegetation. Why would a person carry around such poisonous materials? All of these I threw into my rapidly filling cart.
Ahead were piles of freshly pressed starched white shirts. The garments looked good from a distance. When examined closely, I could tell the collars were deeply stained and the cuffs were frayed. These also went onto my load.
A vast heap of yellowed legal pads threatened to spill over onto the path. All contained handwritten outlines and plans. The first one I tossed into the wagon was titled “My Future Goals and How I Intend to Achieve Them”. I shook my head with sadness over the stubbornness of men to think that once they chose the Risen One as Savior they would strive to adhere to their own agendas.
By now my load was so large that I kept the wheels on the rutted road with great difficulty. The last item of refuse was the suitcases, emptied and no longer necessary. I sometimes wished the seekers would recognize the steepness of the mountain and leave their bulging luggage at the base of this ascent. Very few divested themselves of those things that were burdensome until they became weary of the climb.
I now approached the summit. Ahead was the cross that each pilgrim on this road embraced before going on into the valley on the other side. Some would pick up what they had discarded and have to return to the cross to surrender it again. Collecting the garbage at the peak was not my job today.
The rubbish I had gathered went in to an incinerator to be vaporized with searing heat. Pride, idolatry, blasphemy, grudges and bitterness, gossip, hypocrisy, and disobedience melted, emitting awful fumes.
The pilgrims who had overcome to this point traveled much lighter and were strengthened for the remaining journey. The Risen One supplied all their needs along the way.
As for me, this day’s work was completed. Of all the chores, garbage pickup was most odious to us angels. Maybe tomorrow because I had done well I would be sent with a special message to one of His chosen.
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