Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: YOUTH (04/04/19)
TITLE: The Spring of Life
By Stephen Kimball
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The squirrels are working hard to harvest the bounty of acorns that have fallen from the mighty oak that stands proudly in the front yard, which itself has been rejuvenated by a fresh canopy of bright green leaves that provide protection for the birds that call it home. The towering tree houses two families of Cardinals. I watch in wonder as the male and female flirt with one another, flitting back and forth to the bird feeder that hangs on the front porch just above the azalea bushes that have come alive with a mix of bright pink, purple and red hues. The second male dive bombs the first and they chase each other like two fighter jets across the yard. I’m not sure if it is an attack or a game between young brothers who like to play rough together but somehow remain best of friends.
I bask in the warmth of the sun and accept the invitation to take off my shoes and feel the soft, cool carpet of forest green grass under my feet. I delight in the sight of the new ornaments that adorn the pear tree and the vines that have suddenly invaded the fence tops like a full head of vibrant hair dangling across the shoulders. The subtle scent of grapefruit blossoms wafts through the crisp spring air tantalizing my senses as I witness a hundred bees buzzing around it, seemingly in random frenzy, but all within the perfect purpose and plan of God; a hundred tiny cogs in this magnificent, ceaseless, machine we call the “cycle of life”. This is the season of new beginnings, of freshness, of change. And even when the beauty fades and this natural glory withers away, there is always promise of life anew.
I pause to enjoy the tranquility, my mind completely at ease, until I feel something crawling across the top of my foot. I look down at the mound of dirt beside me—a sight I could do without. A few feet away, there is another. Worker ants running to and fro, gathering whatever they gather, to take back to their subterranean homes. The insects rob me of my peace because I know that while there is unparalleled beauty this time of year, it is also is full of perils for my little piece of paradise. As I make my way around the yard, I also notice a few weeds beginning to poke their ugly heads up through the grass—another vicious enemy to do battle with. And with the rainy season almost here the fungus will soon be third wave of attack to defend against. The war is on!
After a visit to my local garden supply store, a place I frequent this time of year, I am armed with all the tools I need to be victorious in the upcoming months but just having the tools in the shed won’t necessarily lead to victory. A disciplined regimen is essential. I know that the enemy is formidable and relentless and should not be underestimated so focus is absolutely crucial; being constantly on the lookout for the enemy, never allowing them to gain a foothold. Although there may be setbacks, frustrations and even some losses, I will not give up. Yes, the adversaries are daunting but the advantage is mine. I will win this war.
God, with you in charge, I cannot be defeated. I ask that you go before me into battle and be my victory! Give me courage in the fight, peace amidst chaos and strength to carry on in times when frustration mounts. Never let me lose sight of the hope I have in you for a new day; a better day to come.
Isaiah 41:10 – “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
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