Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Outstanding (04/21/11)
TITLE: Kairos Encounter
By Beth Muehlhausen
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A muted shaft of light shone through the cracked door into Marlene’s room where thick shadows otherwise shrink-wrapped barren walls. Total pitch-dark seemed far better than this murkiness - this maddening war with crawling minutes that would not quite stand still in the middle of the night but rather tortured her with their imposed sleeplessness.
Hazed surroundings merged with Marlene’s fuzzy thoughts to create a confused reality, one void of comfort. Her disoriented, dead-ended thoughts roamed aimlessly before seeking burial in her mind filled with prescription drug-induced rubble.
The IV in her arm ached. Involuntarily fantasies tempted her to rip the tape, tear the tube from her flesh, and escape through the window to hover near friendly streetlight-orbs outside. But no. Marlene’s weighted hand lay like a stone. Her entire body seemed lead-filled.
Marlene closed her eyes, and as she did so tears swelled in flood stage to run down her cheeks. Anxiety beat its warlike headache-drums in a frenzied rhythm.
Not only was she disoriented within, but she also felt trapped without. Attackers - inflatable leg wraps - wheezed asthmatically from ankle to mid-thigh. A pump strapped to her right leg squeezed like a ballooning boa constrictor - sssssssh - and then deflated - ahhhhhh. Then the boa’s twin on her left leg mimicked the same constriction and release. This cycle repeated again and again.
Ssssssh - ahhhhhh. Ssssssh - ahhhhhh. Ssssssh - ahhhhh.
Stop! Please, STOP! Marlene’s head tossed from side to side in agony as if needing to shake off a great burden: panic grounded in helplessness.
In the midst of despair as the shadows threatened to overtake her, a guttural groan in the form of a groping prayer escaped Marlene’s lips. Despite the infringing fog, a single shape on the wall to her left remained clearly visible. It stood out boldly, spotlighted by the shaft of light streaming into the room from the hospital hallway. Small but clearly obvious, it called to her.
She squinted, struggling to focus and concentrate. “Wha-what?” She mouthed the word, but without making a sound.
“Peace be with you.”
The tiny crucifix conspicuously seemed to whisper to Marlene: “I am.” There was a pause, and then more emphatically: “I AM.”
Marlene nodded. Of course. He was superior, marvelous, miraculous, spectacular, and wonderful: the Shadow-Chaser and Light-Infuser, Healer of the Abysmal, Rescuer and Savior.
As she continued to focus on Him and away from her circumstances, the Lord Jesus surveyed Marlene holistically from His watchman’s post on the cross. He fought and won her battle. And, she slept.
Author’s Note: Kairos is an ancient word used by the Greeks to refer to an opportune, supreme moment. While we live sequentially in chronological time, Kairos designates God’s eternity as it intersects with chronology. In Kairos, something special happens in a qualitative rather than quantitative way. It defines an accurate concept of the word outstanding like nothing else.
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