Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Eternity (03/10/11)
TITLE: Isaac's Promise
By Beth Muehlhausen
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For what seemed like an eternity, too many events in Marianne’s world crashed around her with tsunami-like force until despair became a way of life. As powerless as a boat dismembered by a towering wave, she helplessly succumbed. Would she ever rebuild her splintered life? What could possibly make a difference?
Then one day she met Isaac.
“He’s our son of promise,” his parents said, smiling broadly.
“What kind of promise?” Marianne asked. “He’s so tiny!”
“We’ll let you find out for yourself,” they replied with knowing looks. “You’ll see.”
Not long after, Marilyn was asked to babysit for Isaac on a stormy, bleak afternoon while his parents attended a matinee theatrical performance. As raindrops drilled a wild drumstick staccato on the windows and thunder crashed like deep cymbals, Marilyn cradled little Isaac in her arms.
He gazed into her brown eyes with his own gray-blue ones as he studied something within her, but also far beyond her. In fact, his look pierced her heart in a unique way, as if to take in all of her and yet continue beyond her as well. She felt naked and yet safe, all at the same time. His gaze mysteriously ushered her out of herself and into a hushed – perhaps sacred - place.
This tiny person seemed fresh from heaven, and yet still part of it. Although he lay in Marilyn’s arms, he seemed to also defy the laws of earth by claiming a reality apart from the tangible – a place, or perhaps a time-beyond-time, where Marilyn also passionately longed to go.
“Isaac, what do you know?” she whispered. “What’s this about a promise?”
She waited patiently for an answer from this seemingly angelic little being while rocking him back and forth, back and forth, creak-creak, rock-rockety-rock. Could she be cradling the divine in the midst of the obvious here and now? Could eternity have come to earth in this messiah-like boy?
“I’m being totally irrational,” Marilyn mumbled to herself. “Of course this is not a divine baby, but rather an ordinary, if captivating, male child.”
As Isaac continued to stare, Marilyn returned the supernaturally-probing-to-the-depths look and bored holes into his eyes with her own. He understood little about his world, she reasoned, but seemed to know something she needed – something she intuitively recognized, and perhaps had once owned herself but lost.
Eventually Isaac drifted off to sleep. Marilyn held him very close as if to somehow make him part of herself, and continued rocking: rockety-rock, rockety-rock. A strange but comforting sensation magnetically infused her heart.
Thunder accompanied the drumming rain with occasional loud bangs and clangs as the truth washed over Marilyn. Isaac was so new from the womb, and still very whole in a way that stretched beyond alpha and omega to encompass what was, is, and will be. He was eternal. Isaac knew intuitively what she’d once known at his age, but forgotten: we live, right here, right now, in eternity.
That day Isaac’s parents returned, refreshed and renewed from their outing, to find their baby peacefully sleeping in Marilyn’s arms. Although supernaturally changed from the inside-out, she couldn’t tell them about her encounter with their little son. It was too personal. Too dramatic. Too life-altering.
However, as Marilyn passed the sleeping Isaac to his mother’s welcoming arms and smiled her goodbyes that day, she left knowing that something – no everything – was different. No doubt her personal trials would continue to rage, not unlike this rainstorm, in a heavenly dimension as well as an earthly one. The Lord of heaven and earth remained in charge of both, for He governed all of the eternal now as well as the eternal then.
Marilyn pulled her sweatshirt hood over her head and hurried through the pelting rain to her car. There, while the revelation was still fresh, she scribbled a crude reminder on the back of a skinny grocery receipt. It would later be framed and hung on her bedroom wall as a reminder of Isaac’s promise.
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