Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Sound Of Grace

--A Short Story--                                                                                                                          
Written May 20th, 2013

Before her is a field. A vast, dry field, interspersed with a few dead trees. There is nothing around for miles, save the path that she walked to get here. She closes her eyes and inhales deeply, remembering… Her eyes open. The air has changed. As has everything else.
In the middle of the field is a house. The windows which used to shine with light and love are now dark. The door which she always remembered being open is now shut. The roof sags in an exhausted effort to hold itself up. Everything appears cold, dismal, and empty.
Tears biting her eyes, she approaches, irresistibly drawn to this house. With an unsteady step she climbs the porch, and her trembling fingers reach for the door. It opens with a groan and slight hesitation.
Everything is coated with years of dust. She brushes the tips of her fingers across the windowsill. Mama wouldn’t have liked that; she had always kept everything just so. A smile teases her lips at the thought of Mama cleaning house.
        The floorboards creak as she makes her way through the rooms. She is in the doorway of time; reliving the past, surrounded by a memory. Everywhere she looks, there is something to be remembered. That empty spot on the shelf where they used to keep the big family Bible. The burnt spot on the floor from when John tried to light Daddy’s pipe. The nook in the cupboard where she used to hide her treasures. And that little smudge on the window that drove Mama crazy. Every day, she would have a go at scrubbing it off, but nothing worked. Daddy was going to buy her a new pane of glass for Christmas, but Mama didn’t make it that long. The fever came before December did.
        A chill comes over her as she steps into the bedroom. All too vividly, she sees Mama lying in that bed, face pale and damp with sweat. Eyes wide and unseeing. She can feel Mama’s cool, clammy hand gripping hers. Her grip slackens…
       The memories are too much. With a sob, she drops to her knees and buries her face in her hands. It has been so many years; long, hard years of learning to say goodbye. Goodbye to Mama, goodbye to the past… There are days when she can laugh long and loud, and there are days when tears make it hard to breathe. Grace is the only thing that has kept her alive.
       Wiping away her tears, she opens the nightstand drawer. Empty. She knew it would be, but she had hoped –
       As she pushes the drawer shut, it catches on something. Pulling it back out, she sees a piece of paper, yellow with age. She picks it up and recognizes Mama’s handwriting immediately.

      Be still. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and listen. Can’t you hear it? 
      It’s the sound of grace.

      The last words are read through a veil of tears. She closes her eyes and breathes deep. It is silent around her, save the steady beating of her heart. Life.
      The sound of grace.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Let Go

          You’re clinging to the edge of a cliff. A dark chasm looms beneath you, its black, menacing face leering at your pitiful condition. Your arms are trembling, your fingers burning with pain as you struggle to hold on to what you know.  Everything in your life has driven you to this point. All familiar territory has fallen away and left you here, hanging in the narrow space between the past and the future, the familiar and the unknown.
          You have a choice to make. Whether to hold on and continue to live in fear of what you cannot see, or to release your grip and embrace the change. A quiet voice nudges you.
Let go.
Your fingers stubbornly tighten their grip as you press yourself against the wall. Let go? Impossible. Who knows what lay in the dark pit below?
I do. You must let go.
Tears force themselves from your eyes and stream down your face. For so long you have held on – hoping, praying that you wouldn’t have to go through this. That somehow, things could go back to how they were. But you know they cannot.
My child, trust Me. I will keep you safe.
Can you really trust Him? You think back to all He has done; coming to this earth as a man to save you from your own depravity. Enduring the most vicious torture, pouring out His blood to save you from eternal damnation. You – a helpless creature incapable of taking a breath without His grace. He gave you His life, and continues to do so day by day.
         You remember all the times when you turned away from Him, and He patiently waited for you to come back. The times when He opened your eyes just a crack, giving you a glimpse of the bigger picture. The days when you were wracked with grief, and He filled you with peace that surpassed all understanding. The moments when you felt nothing but the joyous consumption of His pure and complete love. He has done so much... He has nothing left to prove. He is God Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega.
          How can you possibly not trust Him?
          God, I’m afraid. You admit. I don’t know what’s down there. All I can see is darkness. How far will I fall?
          You will fall only as far as you must, but you will never be out of My hands.
          Will it hurt?
          There is always pain in healing, Dear One.
          But Lord... why do things have to change?
          This season of your life is past. It is time to move on - for you to move to richer soil, where you can grow deeper in me. You cannot live for Me fully where you are.
          I... I want that. But I’m still afraid.
You have no need to fear, My child. Everything that happens to you is according to My plan. Trust Me.
  You suddenly realize how much time you have spent here, undecided. But no more. You take a breath and feel the power of God fill you. Your heart is pounding, adrenaline rushing, fear pulsing, but mind decided.
I trust You, Lord. May Your will be done.
Your fingers slip, and you close your eyes as you immerse yourself in the terrifying yet exhilarating sensation of freedom.