Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: YEAR (05/17/18)
TITLE: Life Journal
By Robin West
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
The mid-morning sun warms my cheeks. A crow hidden among the Western Red Cedar skips caws across the water. My sister and I paddle in unison, our canoe cutting a V through the lake’s surface. Her edges look smoother. A week camping in this hideaway has untangled work–related stress from her shoulders.
Upper Priest Lake is only accessible by boat or on foot. We paddled up the inlet before summer vacation, so for five days we were the lone humans on the entire lake. Neither of us is in a hurry to go home, although I miss my boys, who are with their dad.
As therapeutic as this retreat has been for Sis, I feel better as well. I still have wounds, but five days of peaceful respite has stopped most of the bleeding. Since my husband left, I’ve been stuck in a black and white horror movie. Wearing rags, blood soaked from gaping wounds, I’ve wandered among the tombstones of my loss. Hidden in the mist, gray stones tip their chipped torsos to deceased promises, departed dreams . . . past hope of having a daughter.
But here, in the center of serenity, peace comes alive. It rises from the glassy water, oozes from the conifer scented air, pours from the golden sunbeam. Living peace covers me.
My ears don’t hear a voice, but I hear His gentle timbre. You will not be alone. You will have a lifetime companion, your best friend.
I’m astounded. No doubt, God just spoke to me. My sister’s paddling hasn’t broken pace. She seems unaware of what just happened. I think about telling her, but she’s so negative about religion, I keep the event to myself.
As our craft carries us closer to home, I hear more. And . . . you will have a daughter.
July 5, 1988
Sometimes I doubt God spoke to me. But, remembering that profound moment on the lake, I’ve got to believe. A life companion and a daughter. Of course, that means marriage, and if I’m having a daughter, it better happen soon. I’m not getting any younger.
July 30, 1988
The wounds have reopened. I can’t stop crying. Sis told me about a grief support group. She said, “It’s through a church, but you can just ignore the Jesus stuff, and benefit from the program anyway.”
I start tonight.
October 10, 1988
I’m attending my first Catholic mass in a chapel by the Spokane River, surrounded by kind brothers and sisters in grief. What would they think if they knew? It’s only been three weeks. Too soon for a test, but I don’t have to. I know. How could I be so stupid?
I can’t have a baby now. I’m already having trouble providing for my sons with my limited income and these unstable emotions.
I’ve always steered clear of the abortion debate. I’ve known abortion is about babies dying ever since I had that dream at eighteen. But we can’t mess with a woman’s right to choose, can we. Now, abortion looks like my only choice.
The floaty worship song finishes. The bulletin reads, “Pause for reflection.” Another soft melody fills the chapel.
The presence I felt on the lake flows in and sits beside me. One of my most precious gifts is a baby.
With my eyes closed, He shows me a crumpled fast-food sack lying in a storm drain. Next, He reveals the greasy bag’s contents—big as a baseball—a radiant diamond. Don’t throw this gift away just because you don’t like the wrapping.
I’m even less thrilled with this prize than the time I got pajamas under the tree instead of a Barbie doll. However, God is offering me a gift, and my mother taught me what to say when I receive a present. Under my breath, I say, “Thank you.”
At that, He releases a heavenly confetti sensation. By the way . . . this is your daughter.
June 27, 1989
One year has passed since that day on the lake. I can’t believe how beautiful she is. It was a scary winter. Many nights I cried instead of sleeping. But here she is. Our Heavenly Father promises to take care of us, and I don’t see any reason to stop trusting Him now.
She’s so beautiful. I can’t imagine a world without her.
“. . . therefore, choose life . . .” Deuteronomy 30:19
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