Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)
TITLE: Hope's Cry
By Beth Muehlhausen
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“I must be hearing things; this sickening job has finally snapped my nerves!”
Faith stops and listens more carefully while holding her breath. No, it’s true – she hears crying from the direction of the trashcan holding the remains of aborted babies.
“Wa-waah … waa … aaaa …”
The doctors and other nurse practitioners have already left the clinic. She paces the room alone, wondering whether she might dare investigate. A mother herself, she seems magnetically drawn to the unmistakable wails in the shadowy corner by the exit door. As she waits, the muffled cries seemed to fade, only to recur and intensify with mounting urgency.
“Waah … (silence) … wa-wa-WA! …” Such desperate pleas clutch her heart and compel her, step by step, until she stands only a few feet from the can.
“I have to check - don’t I, Lord? - and yet I could lose my job over this.” She knows she must, and yet cannot; she will, but how? Faith takes the final shaky step toward the can and grasps its lid.
In a room far, far away, another young woman named Grace wears a furrowed brow and paces the floor of her bedroom, alone and distraught. “Oh Lord, do You have a child for me to love? Any child? An abandoned child, a compromised child, Your child? I am so tired of waiting!” She releases her sobs into cupped hands - the overflow from a very full, would-be mother’s heart.
Meanwhile, Faith tentatively peeks inside the can to discover subtle movement from among a tangle of infant corpses. She drops the lid with reflexive urgency and it clatters and clangs to the floor, punctuating her decision: she must at least attempt to save this child.
With both hands she reaches into the cold, deathly stillness until a warm little body fills them. Lifting the tiny baby girl from among those less fortunate that day, she prays with gratitude for strength and courage to do the right thing. “Surely You can direct this child into a home with loving parents, Lord. Direct my actions to that end.”
Faith hurriedly examines the seemingly healthy baby. She cleans, diapers, and wraps her, and issues a fitting name: “I think I’m going to call you ‘Hope.’” Then she dashes out into the dark night to her car, holding the tiny bundle close while wondering if the Christian mission is still open at this hour. Will anyone be there to receive Hope?
On the other side of the world a new day dawns for Grace. She turns her minivan key with one hand and peruses her grocery list with the other, then re-thinks her morning plan. “Hmmm … I think I’ll swing by that international adoption agency first … and see what’s going on there ….”
The sky seems bluer than usual; the grass a little greener. What is this feeling in her chest? Can it be hope?
Back at the scene of the action, Faith walks out of the mission with empty, still trembling arms. Just as she believes heavenly bodies shine like beacons behind the city’s nighttime glow, she also believes somewhere in another dimension angels secretly rejoice with her. Hope is in good hands now; she’ll receive appropriate medical care and eventually will be linked with adoptive parents
Grace’s hands also shake as she parks her mini-van in the agency’s lot and walks through the swinging doors with a knot in her throat. She and her husband have been considering a foreign adoption, although they hardly know where to begin. Today seems to be the day to act on those thoughts.
In the same single moment, three different souls sing unique praises to God. Hope cries out with a celebration of life. Faith rejoices in the supernatural rescue of that life. Grace prepares for the day she will be blessed to share the intimacy every child knows only with one other person: mother.
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