With eyes sparkling with hope and a heart full of promise, I headed across the pond. My calling I was sure to a place unknown. The kaleidoscope of His love illumined the way; beautiful promises spurred me on.
The calling held me fast yet the iron clad tasks buried me. Secrets and transferred guilt hammered daily the airtight coffin in which I had been placed. At last, release from the containment was had but failure to thrive lingered over me for it seems that I was released into Death Valley.
In Death Valley, there has been continuous, continual death of divine dreams and hopes of honor and love. Seeds fall in the cold, hard ground, watered gently, bringing forth yet again a small sprout of hope and promise. With tender shoots reaching upward, there is brief respite. But alas, death stomps through the garden yet again. From death’s perspective, unbidden kudzu and weeds choke, overtaking the soil. Life other than these leaching specimens is nonexistent. The cycle continues in due season in Death Valley, year after year. Holding on tightly to the last vestige of life from the kudzu and the weeds, death demanded yet again only just hours ago. In desperation, a challenge was posted, begging for someone to speak life and affirmation. A reward was offered; its value was punitive yet its significance spoke volumes. The silence following death screams with pain and aloneness.
With eyes sparkling from craftily applied shadows and liners, I headed across town. My calling was sure; I purchased my second gift for the Christmas season and ordered dinner, both completed in mindless obedience as the grief and weight of Death Valley overtook my thoughts and my appetite.
A family walks in, familiar to me from the long ago days before Death Valley. Greetings and hugs were shared. Compliments and comments were exchanged. The babies in the growing family brought adoring smiles from all who were watching. The tabs were placed on each respective table. The Quickening in my spirit voiced the directive to pay the tab for the family. A mischievous twitch tickled my lips and a twinkle danced in my eyes. After all, did I not offer a reward for a few moments of affirmation and life-giving words?
I quickly gathered up my things to leave, hoping to make a quick exit before this family. I walked over to their table for a farewell greeting, nonchalantly placing my carry-out container on the tab for their dinners. Mission accomplished as I “accidentally” trapped the slip of paper between my plastic plate and my fingers underneath. To the registers I wobble, feeling suddenly very alive. The adults at the table began to call my name louder and louder as I walked away and I pretended not to hear. The patriarch caught me but I held fast to the paper and I whispered that I wasn’t letting go and that I was paying for their dinners. He relents and returns to the table. I make it to the register proud of myself and giggling yet fighting back tears, hoping to reach the car before they spill over. One more try by the matriarch almost breaches the dam holding them back, but I strongly persevered. Arriving home, a flood washed down my face as I switched on the radio. These words began pounding into the silence, filling my ears, my mind, my heart and my soul: