Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: REFUGE (08/29/19)
TITLE: My Quiet Place
By Yvonne Blake
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As I let the memories of my mother float through my mind, the sounds of the storm rumbled away like a basket of apples rolling off a cart. Mama left us way too early. Daddy had said that she wasn’t hurting anymore, but her leaving hurt us. Sometimes I saw him cry, and I cried too.
Hiding behind my closed eyelids had become an easy escape when I felt like crying —like when I spilled my milk all over myself in the lunchroom, and everyone laughed at me. And when cross-eyed Donald Anderson sat with me on the school bus. And when the soccer coach got mad because I wouldn't play games on Sunday. And when Cindy told Sam Wilkins that I liked him, and he acted like he was puking. There were a lot of times during my school years that I closed my eyes and took refuge in my secret hiding place. What a friend we have in Jesus . . .
The second my eyelids shut out the pain, shame, or fear, I would hear my mother singing softly—usually about Jesus or God’s love. Sometimes she would whisper a Bible verse of comfort. The Lord is my shepherd. or I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. I only needed the calm healing of my quiet place for a half minute or so, and I could confront whatever turmoil faced me.
I took shelter in my quiet place at times when angry words pushed their way to my lips, when I was frustrated and overwhelmed by things out of my control—a dead car battery, a lost key, a feverish child. I learned to find the blessings in those moments. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.
Through the years, my quiet place helped me cope with motherhood, fifty-three years of marriage, and teaching ten years of kindergarten. We moved five times. Sometimes it was because of a job or our growing family. Whatever reason, it meant finding a new church, a new school, and having to make new friends. I didn’t like moving. I spent many hours in my quiet place with the death of my infant son. My heart ached when Daddy left me, and later when my husband did too. Be still, my soul . . .
In the last few months, I seem to be in my quiet place more than I am in the bustling, noisy, troublesome world. I like it better here. I feel someone hold my hand. “Mama, are you okay?” She seems so far away. I’m so tired. I don’t want to open my eyes, but I do. She smiles, and I smile in return before letting my eyelids drop again. “I’m fine,” I whisper. “I’m listening to my Mama sing." In the sweet by and by . . .
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