Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Endless (01/09/14)
TITLE: The Bowl
By Pauline Carruthers
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She kneels, as if in silent prayer, in a room rapidly emptying of the little touches that make a home. With boxes strewn around her she makes the decisions. Take it or leave it. They are only inanimate objects, yet each one evokes a memory from the past thirty years. Like a never ending circle of precious pearls, the memories go round and round. Some bring joy, others a touch of sadness. Yet every one held dear in the jewellery box of their lives.
Her face lights up, bringing a fresh sparkle to blue eyes, as her fingers stretch out to encompass the rough pottery bowl. It wasn’t valuable but had begun its incessant journey from one home to another, as they had followed God’s call on their lives. Leaving their home for Bible College, into mission, living in various flats in the Mission Headquarters, living in the church manse and then a friends flat and to this present place, that had been both home and work place. Lisa cradled the bowl gently as a continuous cycle of tender thoughts took her back over the years. A young couple had moved into the village, both having acquired jobs teaching pottery at the local College. They were new Christians and she had invited them to a picnic, as an introduction to the Evangelical Fellowship she attended with her family. On her first visit to their tiny home she had been spellbound at the sight of a stunning piece of pottery sitting in the old ornate fireplace. She remembered being completely unable to take her eyes off the piece as they chatted over coffee.
Lisa’s thoughts flowed back to sharing her fears at embarking on a journey that would mean her family changing homes regularly for an indefinite period. She was a person who liked to be certain of a beginning and an end. The opposite of her husband, who had a more adventurous spirit and was comfortable with the possibility of an unending cycle of change.
There is no decision to ponder over the bowl. It has a preciousness of its own. A rough edged bowl symbolic of a birds nest, unglazed pottery in delicate shades of palest blue, baby pink and a shimmer of silvery green. Nestling in the centre are five perfectly shaped eggs in similar hues. An exact but smaller replica of the stunning piece she had admired. It had been given with much love and was to represent her home, the family nest, no matter how endless the moves appeared to be. To leave the bowl would be like missing one piece of a jigsaw puzzle. An enigmatic smile flitted across her face as Lisa carefully placed the delicate piece in bubble wrap and gently lowered it into the box.
In a few weeks they would be leaving this house and moving back to the place of their spiritual birth; the years of seemingly unending cycles of change culminating in her longed for stability in the home of her choice. A fleeting thought burst in and out of her mind of what the future might hold, as a sudden wave of melancholy swept over her. As she glanced at the memories scattered around a shudder of excitement indicated that nothing could be left behind.
She leaves the packing for a while and relaxes quietly in her favourite chair, meditating with a thankful heart on the way the Lord had led and provided for them as a family, through years that had sometimes felt like a road with no end in sight.
Now the freedom of retirement is beckoning. Her heart leaps with joy at the thought that her God and Heavenly Father, the infinite One who created all things and who holds eternity in His hands, holds their future also. A future that goes beyond a home in this world and into an eternal home in the next.
With renewed vigour Lisa resumes the packing up of precious memories, carefully enfolding each one in protective wrap, before placing them gently in boxes. As she works she visualises the view from the window of her future home. An undulating ocean stretching almost to infinity. White topped waves lapping gently on a sandy breach. The homely coffee shop on the corner. A sigh of utter contentment fills the silence.
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