Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Walk (07/20/06)
TITLE: I Heard a Walk
By Rachel Burkum
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Voices and laughter echoed through what I imagined to be a room with a high ceiling, and I sank back in my seat, automatically beginning to search for specific sounds. It had started out as a child’s game, to keep myself entertained at social functions. But it had become more of a retreat - somewhere I could go in my mind to ease the discomfort I felt when in crowds.
Analyzing the cluttered sounds, I found the first one I wanted. The hardwood floor made it easy. My hearing pinpointed the footsteps walking quickly past my pew. They were heavy - a man, I thought. The sound was sharp, indicating dress shoes, and the walker strode with a purpose. Perhaps it was the minister.
I found a lighter step of a woman close by. Her shoes made an uncomfortable tapping, and I knew they must be high heels. The footsteps paced back and forth in rhythm with a nasal voice, and I wondered if she was the church gossip.
A quieter sound caught my attention, and I struggled to concentrate. A child was passing by. The clicking of tiny shoes was almost overpowered by a much stronger step close behind. I imagined a man holding the fingers of his child as the youngster awkwardly went forward, not yet having coordination to walk with confidence.
The hurried footsteps of my friend approached, and I felt her sit down next to me. “They’re going to show a video clip,” she whispered as the room quieted. “Do you want me to tell you what’s going on?”
I shrugged, not caring. I hadn’t wanted to come in the first place, knowing I would be bored. Now I didn’t even have footsteps to keep myself occupied.
I was wrong.
I could hear music playing, and suddenly, the sound of soldiers marching overtook the scene in my mind. I listened to them shout and hurl insults at someone. I tried to sort through the noise and understand. Someone was in pain. They were walking - no, trudging. Their agonized groans mixed in with the sounds of spitting and jeering. The labored footsteps were constantly interrupted by a stumble or fall. I pictured a man with a great weight on his shoulders, being forced uphill. The images created in my mind were gruesome. I wanted to close my ears, but a desire to understand won out. “What’s happening?” I whispered to my friend.
“They’re showing a movie about Jesus,” she replied. Her voice was strained, etched with emotion.
“Jesus?” was my hoarse response. Jesus has always been described to me in the same sentence as peace, love and happiness. This was not a happy scene at all! I was confused. “Why is He letting that man suffer?” I asked.
It took a moment for my friend to answer. “No…that man is Jesus.”
I was stunned. Suddenly I heard the sound of nails and I realized what was going on. The crowd chanted, “Crucify him!”
I was too shocked to cry as the scene continued until a voice quietly, yet boldly proclaimed, “It is finished.”
The room became deathly quiet, but I wanted to jump up and ask why Jesus had suffered so much. I had heard He was sinless. Why had He been nailed to a cross? My ears listened with new intrigue as finally the minister answered my questions. But all the sermon did was evoke a gut-wrenching feeling that I should have been the one to take that walk. It should have been me trudging up that dreaded hill.
I finally realized the need for a Savior.
I had listened to footsteps all my life. It had been a game for when I became bored, and my theories about the walkers were faded and lost. But today…today I had heard a walk that I would never forget.
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