Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TRUST (07/21/16)
TITLE: Through the Fire
By Terry Lee
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Your eyes burn against the scorching sun. You lie still, plagued by racing thoughts that no longer make any sense. A creeping twinge envelops you, as if a crisscross of fine lines is sweeping across your face, neck, arms, torso, and legs. For a few breathless moments, you sense that you are cracking. Desperate, you grab at the nearest gallon of lifeless water and gulp it down. You wipe your chin, feeling empty, and thirstier than ever before.
You hear a shocking snap moments before you shatter into a million pieces. Razor-sharp fragments of you lie immobile on the cracked, dry dirt. What will you do now? There are no more solutions. There is nothing for miles on end. Nothing. Except for the giant wall of fire at the horizon.
Something tells you that this terrifying display of dancing heat is more than a wall. It is an entire field teeming with angry-hot flames. You remain stock-still, contemplating the fire, until a small voice chimes in. “Trust Me.”
You resist. Every millionth piece of you resists. How can you trust something you don’t completely understand? How can you trust something you can’t control? But then again, what on earth can you control in this broken state?
“Okay,” you respond, hesitantly. “I give up. Do with me what you will.”
A strong wind comes from the East and pushes against every speck of you. This wind gathers your pieces together and shoves them toward the fire. Closer, closer, and closer.
“No! I mean . . . wait. Give me a second to think.”
The wind ceases and once again, you lie still. Broken. Parched. Hallow.
Surely, nothing can be worse than this.
So you let go. You let go of guilt, shame, and pride. You let go of fear and doubt. You let go of control.
The wind picks up again, fast and furious, sweeping every millionth piece of you toward the edge of everything. In a flash, an invisible hand scoops you up and throws all your broken pieces into the raging fire.
It is exactly as you had imagined: As hot as Hell.
You moan and groan and writhe as so much of what you thought was you melts away in oozing clumps. The pain! So excruciating. So penetratingly pure. Could this be the first time you ever allowed yourself to feel?
The broken pieces of you gather in overwhelming unity. You continue to scream from the torment of the licking flames, yet you notice the miracle. A million shards of you coming together, each piece slipping into its predestined place with divine precision. Yes, this is the first time you have allowed yourself to truly feel. The sensation is intense, extreme discomfort and joy intertwined, jolting you back to life. Some pieces are still missing, but you can already envision what you will become. For the first time since you can’t remember when, you are standing strong. And there, in the midst of the burning field, you stand.
When you are ready, you march though the fire, drawn by what you hope for, and assured that you will not be consumed. Yes, this is the way. You will walk into it. You step boldly with not-quite-finished legs. You are confident that when you come out on the other side, you will be whole.
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