Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)
TITLE: Saint on a Stool
By Beth Muehlhausen
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She stands on a tiny stage before the crowd, doused by spotlights and dressed in jeans and a fashionably fitted floral jacket with leather fringe. Her silvery earrings dangle and shed prisms of light across the darkened room as her head sweeps casually from side to side as if to greet her guests. She smiles and gently touches the microphone with one hand and the edge of the stool placed behind it with the other.
“How great for all of you to come out to hear me…”
Applause fills the room full of mug-laden tables framed with people. The red florescent “OPEN” sign flashes in the coffee house window, inviting stragglers to hurry inside and take refuge from the night.
“Thank you, thank you. It’s such a privilege to be here.”
Time seems to stand still as a hush falls over the room and faces stare in her direction, alive with anticipation. She climbs atop the wooden stool and settles herself comfortably while holding several pages of seemingly blank white papers.
“You know, I’ve always dreamed about having my own poetry reading, and now that my book is about to be released that dream is coming true.”
Her eyes stare into another dimension without making a single connection while her composed smile reaches into the farthest recesses of the room. There is something about her presence, some unspoken quality, which draws and invites the crowd to respond with undivided attention.
“Maybe you know very little about me - so I want to tell you something of my own personal philosophy before I start my reading.”
How does this woman command such perfect attention? It is as if a magnetic field draws the coffee house patrons to enter another realm where authenticity and transparency are the norm.
“I’ve found it’s critical to do lots of internal work before I can write with any degree of success. That means reading the internal script written on my heart before trying to express myself. God’s script is foundational to every interaction, activity and pursuit. Respecting His inspiration in my life at the heart level enables me to do what I do.”
Immediate whistles and applause erupt on all sides. She glows with a hint of embarrassment, but speaks with a sense of bold authority even before the clapping stops.
“I come before you tonight not as one who has developed coping skills or has figured out how to avoid difficulty and pain, but as one who knows the One in charge of all human life! That confession enables me to share excerpts from my book of poems that lead the reader through pits of despair to discover the joy of hope.”
Her head bows as if in prayer as curls fall across her forehead and her fingers glide smoothly across the Braille dots on the top page. She begins to speak slowly, haltingly, with careful inflection – while words pour like a rushing waterfall from a heart inscribed by her Father, worthy of the audience before her.
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