Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write something AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL (10/02/14)
TITLE: Coming Home
By JK Stenger
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Maybe I can sleep there.
I was cold, hungry and soaked, and in need of rest. I’d heard of people sleeping in haystacks, so I figured it was my best option.
I cautiously approached the dark mountain of hay, and when I had made sure it was safe, I carefully hoisted myself into the musty fodder. At first I was relieved, but soon the loneliness that stuck to me like a leech, raised its ugly head, and I was reminded of my desperate plight.
Safe for tonight. But what next? How long can I go on like this? .
Shivering, I rolled out my sleeping bag. It was damp, despite the plastic covering. Still it would keep me warm. When I was settled in, I checked my belongings. I still had three gulden*; enough to buy some bread tomorrow. I had a hunk of cheese, but decided to save it for breakfast.
How did I even get here? What was I doing? I wasn’t raised like this. My mother was a doctor, and I was accustomed to a normal bed, good food and dry clothes. Why on earth was I sleeping in a haystack, like a common vagabond?
It had started out so promising a few years ago. I became a hippie and embraced Flower Power. I got my inspiration from rock bands like the Doors and the Grateful Dead, and like my peers, I was on my way to become enlightened. But instead of up, I went down.
And now, after three years of drugs, a boatload of books on the occult and some unreliable friends, this was the result. A haystack in the rain.
God, where are You?
But apparently God wasn’t in the drugs, or in the books on the occult, so I decided to go on a pilgrimage. I would walk to India to find Him.
When I had left three weeks earlier, Mother wept. She didn’t usually cry, so I was surprised. Doesn’t she understand that this is the only way to freedom?
But she didn’t understand.
“To India? But child…Can’t you find Him here?” she sobbed.
“No, Mother. I can’t.”
She gave me some money and cried, “I will pray for you every day.”
Then I left.
Now I realized how much I hurt my mother that day. What mother will not have nightmares when her beloved son behaves like a confused madman?
And now I was crying too. Alone in the rain, in a haystack and without God. I fell into a fitful sleep that night and dreamed fearful dreams of angry farmers with pitchforks.
When I woke up the next morning, I was greeted by an intermittent drizzle, gray skies and a hungry stomach. And loneliness. I stared out over an endless, wet field somewhere in Germany. No houses in sight. It was just me and my loneliness.
God, where are You?
Something stirred inside me. What is that? I was not alone. There was somebody with me. I looked around but saw nothing, except the haystack and the grey sky.
Someone is there... I felt peace and security. As if Someone was watching over me.
Read your Bible.
I had a pocket Bible with me and I opened it. Sometimes I read the Psalms, the only book I understood. They gave me a sense of peace. But this time it was like the words jumped off the page at me. Those words were alive and spoke to me.
The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures…*
My heart leaped, and somehow I felt safe.
Is that how God is? Secure and peaceful?
After awhile, I slipped out of the haystack. I didn’t understand it, but somehow I knew I was not alone.
That day, I met a young man who asked me where I was going.
“I am looking for God.”
He smiled. “God is my friend. He can be yours too.”
“I’d like that. Tell me about it!
That day I came home. It was raining, but it was the day that the prayers of my mother were answered and my life finally began.
*A Gulden used to be the money in the Netherlands, before the Euro
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