Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)
TITLE: One, Two, Three, Four--Light Show Galore
By LauraLee Shaw
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“Mom, it’s been raining for 1, 2, 3, 4 days in a row.” She counted her fingers as she remembered. “I’m tired of thundering.” As she wiggled her sharp tailbone into my thigh, I began to feel agitated.
“I know Honey, but it’s the dark days of storms that make us appreciate the bright days of sunshine that much more.” I lectured half-heartedly, shifting her rump off my lap and her feet to the floor. “Why don’t you go draw a picture of the sunshine with your fancy schmancy art set, Sweetie Pea? Sounds like the storm is dying down.”
“I know, let’s play Candyland!” Grace suggested.
I stroked her hair. “Aw, Sweetie, can’t Mommy have a few minutes of think time? You need your alone time too sometimes, don’t you?” I winked, hoping it would woo her into submission.
Grace cocked her head, hand on hip. “You’re trying to get rid of me, aren’t you?”
I giggled, “Why would I want to do that, huh?” I counted with my fingers. “We’ve only been in the house together 1, 2, 3, 4 days in a row now.”
After a lengthy debate, it was Grace’s idea to go have alone time. I didn’t care whose revelation it was, I needed a moment to let down and frown.
I’m sick of the darkness, God. And You know I’m not talking about the weather. I grabbed my journal from the pocket of the recliner and began to write:
“Grace just pointed out that we’ve had 1, 2, 3, 4 days of storms. Well, I’ve had more than that in months of trials. Everyone around me is hurting. On the surface, my life seems spectacular, but when 1, 2, 3, 4 or more of your friends are divorcing, depressed or dying, it puts a dark cloud over everyday life. Truth be told, I don’t have anyone to tell that my own marriage isn’t all that great, that I feel moody and suffocated, like all of my own dreams are slowly dying. I need a sliver of sunshine to gleam through the mini-blinds of my heart.”
Thunder rumbled. It felt as though it were underneath my feet. Great, I knew it was too good to be true. I slammed my journal shut, anticipating that my reflective time had met its end, with Grace soon-to-be carved into my lap. But no, I heard her humming a few rooms away instead. Feeling a ray of hope, I fumbled open my journal again.
“But God, I know You are with me, that You will never leave me, even if the darkness continues to surround me and those I love. Strengthen me, according to Your Word. Give me contentment…a strong will for joy. I need Your discernment to know how to help my friends through their trials. Be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my --”
“Mom?” Grace’s round little face was beaming, and one hand was behind her back.
Jolted from my almost place of peace, I restrained my tongue from expressing its displeasure. “What, Sweetie Pea, Whatcha been up to?”
Grace bounced from one light switch to another, turning them off with instructions to follow. “Okay, Mama, close your eyes, I got a surprise for you, but it’ll only work if you shut your eyes.”
Though the light show had begun outside again, clearly Grace was unfazed. “Are you ready? No peeking.”
“Yes, Dearest.” I squeezed my eyes shut, but heard the sound of rippling paper. “Ready when you are.”
“Okay, you can look now.”
I blinked my eyes into focus within the black room, zooming into a beautiful picture created with glow-in-the-dark neon colors.
“See Mama? I drew you and me playing Candyland, and see Mr. Sun in the window?”
“It’s beautiful, Grace. I love it, especially the bright orange Mr. Sunshine. Very cheery.”
“Yup, it’s amazing what a little coloring can do,” she said, walking nearer to me through the dark room as the thunder bellowed. “Want to hear me sing my picture, Mama?”
I saw her smiling bravely as the lightning flickered. “Oh yes, Mama would love that.”
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are grey. You’ll never know, Mama, how much I love you--please don’t taaake…my suuun-shine…aaaaa-wayyyy.” Grace wrapped her arms around me, her chin tucked securely in my neck.
As cool tears flowed, my heart was warmed with the light of renewed joy.
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