Friday, July 24, 2009
Friday Fiction: I Arise Today
I'm back! And starting up blogging in the best way--It's Friday Fiction! This is a story I wrote years ago.
This week Friday Fiction is hosted by Dee at My Heart's Dee-light. Why not drop by there for more fiction?
I Arise Today
A Short Story of Surrender
Carmen caressed the picture of her sister, Moira, outlining her high cheekbones and widow's peak. Carmen's heart dragged like a wounded animal. For ten years she and her husband had prayed for a child, and her sister's unwanted pregnancy seemed an answer to that prayer.
She ran her finger over Moira’s brown eyes. They had planned to adopt the baby. But now . . .
Moira, such a lightning bolt, never waited for sound words or wisdom, never embraced patience. Instead, she slashed through life with short-lived brilliance.
Carmen set the picture down and covered her face with her hands. “Only sixteen weeks, Lord. She couldn’t even handle sixteen short weeks of morning sickness. And we did all we could for her.”
She clenched her fists and pressed them against her eyes. Moira’s friends, they were to blame . . . little more than murderers. They convinced her the discomfort of pregnancy was not worth enduring.
"Not worth it?" Carmen screamed at the walls like she had when Moira told her this. “Life is so precious. No price can be placed on it.”
But Moira had fallen into a deep depression and life had become valueless. "You were born, you function, and you die." Moira had argued. "I live completely unto myself. What other way is there?" Yet, that was so empty.
“I had told her Your way God. Why didn’t she listen?”
Carmen could still see the distorted face of Moira's pain, and her heart to endure another fissure. “Moira’s answer to faith: the evolution theory makes more sense to me than an eternal creator." She squeezed her eyes shut. “God, why couldn’t You reveal Yourself to her?”
To follow the advice of her friends--agh! Moira paid to high a price.
"Such stupidity!" Carmen waved her fists at visions of those black-eyed, knotted-brained enemies of truth. “Such foolishness . . . filled with evil potency, blinding both the giver and the receiver.” She sank into the lounge chair.
Moira aborted her baby. Infection had set in and claimed her life as well.
Carmen slumped forward as her sister's ashen face surfaced in her mind. “God, how could You let this happen?” Lifting her head, she shouted, "How could You!"
Was it too much to ask of a sovereign God to give her a child and let her sister live? Could not a God, who supposedly created the universe, not heal the body of her sister? He raised His own Son from the dead why not the unborn? How could He let this happen?
Her shoulders shook as a sob rattled through her rib cage. She should not blame God. Those friends of Moira's—demons clothed as humans--they are to blame. How could they possibly think that killing a baby was the solution to Moira's problems?
Carmen stood, snatched Moira’s picture, and flung it across the room. "Moira you fool! What made you think this was the way?"
She looked at the ceiling and pulled her hair. "What will I do God? Ten years of praying, hoping, only for You to dash that hope and then take my sister, too." She shook her fist above her head. "What kind of a God are You?"
Cold swept through her. What good would it do to question God, whose ways were higher than hers? "Forgive me Lord, but I hurt so." She collapsed onto the chair.
Above her sobs, she heard a pounding at the window. A sparrow flew at the glass. Again and again, it pounded its head against the barrier. Then, with one last Herculean attempt, he flew at the window and fell to the ground.
Carmen rose and hurried outside.
The bird laid on the deck, stunned. She scooped it up in her hands and took it to the birdhouse. The sparrow stirred as she placed it into the house then stepped away. It stood on its legs.
She moved to the deck and watched while the bird wobbled at first then fluttered its wings. In a few moments, it recovered from its stunned state and flew to the feeder.
The sparrow would be okay.
Carmen smiled as she entered her house. She closed the door and turned, coming face to face with a serene scene of a stone home in a picture her grandmother gave her. The plaque beneath it said, "The Breastplate of St. Patrick," a poem written by St. Patrick of Ireland.
"I arise today through a mighty strength, invocation of the Trinity," she read out loud. The sparrow, it had such strength. It rose again after its beating.
Her breath caught in her throat. She was no different than the bird. For ten years she had pounded her head against a glass window, seeing what others had in their children and wanting it for herself.
But this was not God's plan. He had provided for all her needs just as she had placed the birdhouse, the feeder and the water in her yard for the sparrow. But she did not give it access to her house.
Carmen read, "I arise today through the strength of Christ." If only Moira had known that strength, perhaps she would still be alive.
"I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me." Carmen lowered her head. "Oh God, please pilot me as I live with my loss."
"Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me . . ." Carmen wiped her hand across her eyes as though wiping her bitterness away. “Your sovereign will, Lord, let it be done.”
Her muscles relaxed as she glanced out the window. “My heart is Yours.”
God picked her up, as she had the sparrow, and brought her to a place of peace. A sigh of release flowed through her tired body. “My life is Yours for eternity.”
Then the LORD answered . . . Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? . . . Job answered . . . I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Job 38:1-2; 42:1-3