Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)
TITLE: The Wedding Portrait
By Debbie Roome
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For the first time in years I felt like a normal person. Soft gathers of satin hid the source of my usual torment; my ‘oopise leg’ I called it. In fact Oopsie had been my nickname until I met Justin. I jiggled the leg under my dress imagining its wasted contours and puckered skin, the foot that jutted at an awkward angle. I managed to walk on it but it often gave way unexpectedly. The result was a trail of destruction as I fell into ornaments, furniture, and plants.
I met Justin when he rescued me from a muddy puddle. “Oops!” he exclaimed as he lifted me out, oblivious of slimy splashes on his white shirt. Over a cup of coffee, I learned he was an artist and wondered at his knowing eyes and firm hands. His beard was flecked with grey, and laughter lines showed a man who loved life. I soon discovered he loved God as well.
“I’m not calling you Oopsie.” he told me. “That’s not who you are. You may trip over sometimes but you’re not defined by that leg. You’re God’s creation and He has great plans for you.”
I’d been Oopsie for so long that I struggled to answer to Lara-Jane. Justin kept encouraging me. “Give your brokenness to God. He can take anything – even ugly situations – and make something beautiful from them.” I was a slow learner but Justin persevered. When he asked me to marry him, I was ecstatic.
The wedding reception was in a room full of roses and lace, with skylights that drenched the room with life. The speeches were almost done and Justin was beside me, tall and strong as he thanked each guest for their involvement in our lives. Then he turned his attention to me. “Lara-Jane, you’re the best gift God could ever have given me.” He held out his hand, “And I have a special gift for you.”
I leaned on him as we walked across to the wedding cake. In all the celebration and excitement I hadn’t seen the covered easel next to it. A gentle smile curved his lips as he pulled the cloth off.
I stared at the picture, a textured portrait of myself. The likeness was amazing and my face seemed to shine. I stepped closer to admire his work and that’s when it hit me; the picture was made from the broken pieces of my life. I reached out and touched the fabric from a dress I’d ripped ... and fragments from a smashed vase … and a sheen of gold from a crushed frame ... and dried flowers from a damaged plant ...
The reception and guests seemed to fade away and I was left alone with Justin. As I pulled him towards me, a shaft of sunlight fell across us, illuminating the portrait with a heavenly glow. “I understand.” I whispered as I pulled his lips onto mine. “I finally understand.”
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