Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: REFUGE (08/29/19)
- TITLE: Storm Shelter
By Tracy Nunes
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I reach out to her. But I canâ€™t see or feel her. All I can see are her ankles now, she is sinking so quickly. Her left ankle bears an unmistakable scar from a crash on her bike when she was nine but itâ€™s almost covered in mud.
A flash of light and a shuddering explosion wake me, sobbing, grasping at the bedsheets, desperate for the touch of my daughterâ€™s skin. As always, my hands are empty, and my sheets soaked in sweat. I let go of the sheets and breath ragged breaths. Finally, my heart stops galloping, and I uncurl myself to the edge of the bed.
Another flash of lightning illuminates my empty room. Stanâ€™s been gone some time, but Iâ€™m still surprised to see that heâ€™s not there. Especially on nights like these. Weâ€™d barely passed middle age; it was way too soon.
Down the stairs and down the hall to the refrigerator where I down a glass of milk; my go-to snack on nights like these. The soothing liquid coats my throat and comforts my stomach.
The well-worn and tear-stained pages of The Book sit open on the table at my small breakfast nook. I remember the words that soothed me yesterday morning, â€œThe steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in you.â€
I received it then. I feel it now. But a friend once said that peace amid the storm doesnâ€™t always look like peace in a flower-covered meadow. Lightning flashes again, as if to prove the point that itâ€™s no meadow that Iâ€™m in.
I settle into the nook and gaze out the picture window at the street outside. I love storms - the drama and power. The life-giving wetness of it all. But somehow, these dreams of Danya are always stormy in some way. Sheâ€™s lost, I canâ€™t find herâ€¦and I wake up a mess.
Yesterday, news about the southeast coast didnâ€™t help. A massive hurricane was barreling across the Atlantic. Theyâ€™d ordered mandatory evacuations days ago. Where are they? Did she evacuate? Is anyone helping her?
Lord, still my heartâ€¦protect them, please. Bring them in from the storm. Bring arms to open wide and shield them, people to help them.
Itâ€™s been three years since Danya took the kids and cut off contact shortly after Stan died. She was leaving Pennsylvania and leaving a God who would dare take away her father. And a mother who would stupidly still trust Him. Not a word since. I donâ€™t even know what town they live in.
I check the weather app on my phone. This storm here would soon pass but there was much talk about the devastation the storm down there would leave.
Perfect peace, please, Lord.
A small vignette of memory comes to mind unbidden. That nasty spill on her bike, the stitches on her ankle. Then, how she made it a game and magic-markered her entire ankle in flowers surrounding the stitches. I thought it was a brave way to make a bouquet out of an ugly red wound.
What happened to the girl who saw the world as sunshine and flowers instead of scars and pain?
The storm slows with just occasional flashes of lightning. A steady drizzle lingers, and I realize that Iâ€™ve been staring out the window a long time. I look at the clock on the wall: 2 am. Still so many hours till morning. I need to sleep; my alarm will wake me up for work regardless.
Just as I rise to stand, I see a car coming slowly up my street. Unexpectedly, it pulls in front of my house and parks at the curb. The driver gets out and lets out two smaller passengers from the back seat. As one, they turn and look at the house, even as the rain showers them. A flash of distant lightning illuminates their uncertain faces. My hand covers my mouth in shocked disbelief and a wail rushes passed my fingers.
The storm is over, but I run like the wind to the front door.
Scripture reference: Isaiah 26:3 NASB
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