Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SURPRISE (07/25/19)
- TITLE: A Shocking Reflection
By Holly Westefeld
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A mirror. I have a mirror around here somewhere...
I search, hanging on to furniture to keep from melting to the floor. Finally I find it, but it is so dusty that I only see a blur. After finding a clean rag, I just make it back to the sofa before collapsing. I fumble with shaky hands to clean it.
I gasp. It is a shocking reflection. A gaunt visage stares back at me with sunken eyes. Dull stringy hair surrounds my wan yet grimy face, punctuated by dark circles beneath my eyes, and red, chapped lips. I should not be surprised. I do not recall how long it has been since I bathed, nor the last time I stepped out in to the sunshine.
My eyes drop to my trembling hands, barely able to hold the mirror. They are purple, some of the fingertips edging toward blue. I realize with a start that numbness in my fingers is largely responsible for the unsteadiness of my hands.
But what am I to do? Where should I begin?
Then I remember that this is no mere mirror I hold.
When it was first given to me, I looked even worse. Then my friend tilted it upward, and I could see the amazing purity and love of its creator reflected there. I had acknowledged my deplorable condition, and asked that I be washed and filled with living water. The transformation was phenomenal!
I had kept the mirror close at hand, referring to it often, seeing changes I needed to make. My friend introduced me to others who had reached the same incredible understanding, and we drew strength from one another.
Then I let one thing and another come between me and my new friends, only glancing in the mirror occasionally, until it fell in to complete disuse.
I hold my breath and tilt it upward. Will I still be able to glimpse that love I have ignored for so long?
Tears run down my face as I see that love still reflected back at me, unchanged. I ask if I might be cleansed once more.
I glance down at my hands again. This time I notice tight bands constricting my wrists, and the base of each finger. There seem to be words imprinted on them. I set the mirror on my lap and peer at them more closely, astounded at what they reveal.
On my fingers are "Envy." "Selfishness." "Gossip." "Rage." "Lies." "Greed." "Impatience." "Ingratitude." "Disobedience." "Bitterness." On my wrists, "Pride." "Unforgiveness."
They seem so deeply imbedded. If I allow them to be removed, might it not be more painful than leaving them undisturbed? Perhaps, for a while, until the blue turns to black, and the contamination spreads throughout my body. Also, I realize, that hollowness I feel in my stomach is starvation. I will never be able to bring milk and bread to my lips with my hands thus bound.
Slowly, I extend my hands over the mirror. There is a sudden rush of warmth, but also excruciating pins and needles. My groans are too deep for words.
Finally it subsides.
Then I am able to sip some milk, refreshing to my parched lips, and nibble some bread.
When I lift the mirror once more, my hands no longer shake. The grime is gone, the pallor subsiding, the dark circles fading, and a glimmer returning to my eyes and hair.
I stand, no longer wobbly, clutch the mirror to my lightened heart and step out the door in to the sunshine, taking a deep exhilarating breath of the fresh air. When I find my friends, whose calls and knocks I have ignored for so long, they are surprised but overjoyed to see me, weeping and embracing me. They tell me how incomplete their fellowship has been without me, and I respond over and over "It is so good to be home!"
James 1:23-25 NIV "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it— he will be blessed in what he does.
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