Monday, February 21, 2011

Short Story: Through the Face of the Moon

I was lying in my bed late one drowsy night, when I heard a noise come from my window. I was not afraid, for I was too tired to feel anything but a wont of sleep. I wrapped my blankets around me all the more tightly, but the noise would still come and it was now keeping me from my peaceful repose and so I roused myself and walked to the window. When I looked out of it, I squinted and saw the moon very bright and beautiful, bathing her face in pale clouds and casting somber light across the sky. As I looked, I saw a change coming about the place outside my window. A soft, strong wind began to blow and I could feel it faintly through the glass. The grass swayed and grew rapidly lofty so that in a moment I was gazing through a sea of bending green, and at the same time the window and the shingles from the roof seemed to flutter back in the wind, like wisps of hair. I kept my blanket tight about my shoulders, and when I would not let go, the wind seemed to blow more determined. My hands clung to the fluttering bits of warmth that seemed to be growing wings of its own. “Let go…” It seemed to be saying. At last I could hold on no longer. I peered over my shoulder and saw a large clouding mass of all that was my house, all that had been my comfort. Strangely enough, I was still not afraid, only a bit annoyed to find such an adventure at night.

Whether the grass had become large, or I had become small I still do not know. The effect was the same. The grass appeared like trees of ribbon that gave way as I brushed my hands past them and stepped lightly over their stems. I was in nothing but my night clothes and feeling taut with cold, and almost a little angry with the wind who had blown me so small and my house so big and had torn my blanket from my shoulders. I walked forward from one light beam to the next, trying to keep from the shadows which made me all the colder and going nowhere in particular; only wanting to find some smallish place that would be warm and not sitting too darkly. Soon I came to some sort of clearing, but by my size it may have been no larger than a foot.

I looked up at the moon and thought I saw something streaming down from it, and indeed something was. Coming straight from the center of the moon’s face was a bluish-white something; I could not make out what it was until I saw that it was headed for the little clearing where I stood. It came slowly, and at first I thought it must be some great giant come from the moon in swany glory and that I would have to run to save my life. But the stream came so slowly that I stood on tiptoe in anticipation and wondered after a minute if it would ever reach me. At last it came a hundred yards close, hovering just a little in front of me. Slowly forming and coming down was a stair case of blue-white ice, or something that rather looked like ice. It descended at my feet as tiny little steps, as though they were meant for me to climb. The ice pooled and fixed itself upon the ground as a threshold for the steps and shimmered palely under the light of the moon. I placed my right foot gently upon this threshold and finding that it did not freeze as expected, I began the ascent slowly, so that I should not fall.

There was no rail on the stairs and I held my hands out for balance as I made my way up the stairs. I believe I must have grown as I came up higher into the night sky, for the world beneath me was swiftly distant and small. I climbed up higher and higher, and then I was sure I was very large, or the world was very small (but there again, it does not matter) for the moon, though it was large and bright in front of me, was a full, visible circle. The steps I had climbed lead to an entrance through the face of the moon, as though the moon might a palace. I thought at once it must be a palace, for though there were no guards, nor pomp, nor noise to suggest the fact, a sort of quietly regality hung about the place; the same sort of regality that shows on the faces of kings even when they have gone into hiding. I waited a moment, and then I crossed under the eve of the opening. At first it looked like mere pock-holed rock, rude and rough, but as my eyes traveled back over it, I began to see arrangement. Did I miss a carving? A picture? An engraving? I continued through the moon and as my feet touched the inside of the rock, the staircase made a gentle sound like a tide receding, and I was not at all surprised to find that it was fading away when I glanced over my shoulder. A second set of doors lay ahead of me. Great, heavy, black doors they looked. I was afraid of them. I had not yet been afraid, but I had been merely wandering. I had lost my house, but I may have been merely dreaming. But now, these great black doors were staring at me, penetrating my bones and everything I was made of. I wished someone would come and open them for me. But no one came. I screwed up my courage and put my hand to one of them. “Don’t be afraid,” I heard a voice say. I was never sure if the voice came from within the moon, or from without, or was somehow in my own head. But like many other things in this story, it did not matter. I opened up the right door easily enough and slipped inside. It was quite different than what I expected.

Firstly, everything was a sort of sweet, cold blue. Even if it was another color than blue, it was still blue. I have often heard from those who make a study of such things that color effects emotions. If that is true, than the colors on the moon must all have blue inside of them, for all the colors made me feel the same way. The blue was not that of winter exactly, nor of spring and all its rain. It was of a different season, I suppose it was the season of the moon, though we have it here on earth some days, but very rarely, perhaps one or two days in a year. It was penetratingly cold, like the chill that pricks your arms when a strain of music comes to your ear that matches you all the way inside though you don’t know why. It was quiet and thoughtful, but it wasn’t vulnerable like the Greek’s Crete. I had the feeling that if one ever tried to storm the moon they would be utterly destroyed.

The walls of that place were clean and bare, but beautiful, made of white-blue stone. I put my hand up to it. It was cold, but my hand was warm when I pulled it away from the wall. I noticed a side table with a wash basin and a mirror hanging above it. I looked into the mirror but did not see myself and thought it must be a curious painting, made to look a perfect reflection of the hall. As I stared long into the mirror-painting, I began to see a face that was not mine. It was beautiful and full of light, so glorious I could hardly stand to look at it. I moved away from the mirror and as I moved, I saw that the light had faded. Standing in front of it once more, the light returned. The face was saying something to me. “Wash,” it said. “Of course,” I thought. “I must be filthy from traipsing about in the garden.” And so I began to wash my face. As I did, my own face began to show up in the mirror. But it was still dirty. I scrubbed and rinsed again, my face dripping with cold, muddy water, but the dirt would not come off. My face faded once more and the other face returned. “Go into the room down the hall and show yourself to the lady of this House.”

I turned to do as I was told and wiped my face on my sleeves as best I could. As I walked down the hall, I saw the doors that must lead into the chamber the face in the mirror spoke of. These doors were shining with a sort of white glory. The doors were made of solid pearl, embossed so that at first one might take them for a gate. There were clouds seeping under the door and through the crack between the doors, so that when the light that shone from the pearls reflected into the clouds, the whole doorway was lit up with a dream-like splendor. I trembled as I moved my hands to open the doors. As I did they burst open and clouds billowed out of the room like giant swans ducking their head beneath the arch and swimming out on the air. As the room cleared, I was surprised by the simplicity of the room. There were great, white pillars lining the room, and a blue marble floor that lined the room, but there were no tapestries, no paintings, no jewels or even servants. There was only one lone lady, sitting rather simply on a throne with her lap slanted instead of being rigidly straight and her head in a hand which stemmed from an elbow resting on an arm of the throne. She was very quiet. She had a great amount of black hair which tumbled all around her starkly contrasting her pale-white skin and flutter of a blue dress. The fabric which hung in great delicate folds seemed to be as a part of her as her hair, as though her mode would never change. Like the moon, I do not believe she had changed since the beginning of time. When she saw me, she raised her head slowly and turned to face me, resting her hands gracefully in her lap. As she moved, there was slight breeze that fluttered through her hair and dress. “Come here, child,” she said in a soft, piercing, blue voice. The sound of her voice had the faintest tinge of a sweet bell. I came forward until I was a few feet from the throne.

“Do you know why you have come here, child?” She asked me, looking into my eyes and then looking thoughtfully at a fold in her lap. “No, ma’am. I thought you might know… ma’am,” I asked stuttering to remember my manners. “You have forgotten a great many things,” she said gravely. I was not a young child, but she looked at me as though I were an infant. I began to bluster, “what have I forgotten? I have remembered a great many things! I have remembered to keep my imagination. I have not forgotten to keep my wonder alive from my early youth. I have tried in all my ways to be good, and to remember what I was taught. What, ma’am have I forgotten?” I spoke very rapidly and without much thought, for I was tired and knew that I had not done something right, which made me want to justify myself all the more.

“You are still very young, though you have many earth years to your name. I believe you are younger now than you were last year,” she said with a laugh in her voice. “You have begun to despair, thinking you are the one in control of your destiny. Even when you climbed the stairs tonight, you let a bit of pride hang on to your shoulder. You believed yourself great just for not being afraid of the stairs.”

She continued to look at me, seeing that I was still teeming with thoughts of my own grandeur, for indeed I thought I was grand. I had remembered many things which others in my time had forgotten. My mentors were from days of old, and I prided myself on that. I was becoming a good scholar at a good school and was sure to be successful. I had fought the world; indeed, I had even conquered my fears. And yet, I felt that I had done a grave wrong.

“Ma’am,” I asked more timid now, “what is the wrong that I have done?”

The Lady rustled her hair slightly and a few small clouds formed at the top of the ceiling. “Were you able to wash your own face?”

“No, Ma’am,” I replied.

“Do you know the reason?” The lady asked me, a quiet, somber smile spreading across her continence and shining through her eyes.

“No Ma’am, I do not,” I answered, very much wishing to know the answer.

“I will tell you something,” the Lady said rising from her throne, very tall, very white, very quiet. “The mirror in the hall is not a reflection of yourself, for a reflection is never the true thing. Rather it is a window from your point of view. It is your eyes hung on a wall; the way you view the world. And since your own eyes will never see yourself, you could not possibly see yourself in that mirror. You will never know who you are, though you may fight, and run, and fly to the four corners of the earth. But if you know the One who knows you, you will have no need to know yourself.”

“But my Lady,” I said, further remembering my manners, “I did see myself. I saw myself after I saw the other face in the mirror. I saw how very dirty I was and that no matter how I scrubbed I should never be clean.”

The Lady smiled at me gravely, and spoke lowly, as if she were sharing a great secret. “You saw yourself through another’s eyes. You could not see yourself through your own eyes, and even if you could, you would not see yourself as you really are. Therefore the Other had to show you yourself through his eyes. You may scrub yourself raw, and even look sparking clean in your own eyes by the means of a faulty mirror, but to him you would be as dirty as when you began.”

“Then how am I ever to be clean in His eyes?” I asked impetuously.

“Child, you often strive for the wrong things. You want to be good to please yourself instead of doing what is right because it is Right. You lean far too much on your own understanding of the world, which is horribly limited and rudimentary. You look at the world from inside out and not outside in. But worse than all of these things, you do not enter into His House. In that place, there is only Him. How am I to teach you child? You who are used to figures and numbers that run on clocks to measure time, and money that runs your life from the moment you are born to the moment your body is laid in the ground. You who depends on the talents of your shell and mind to propel you to the finish line. Oh child, you shall never enter into rest, the rest of the living and the dead, until you understand that there is only Him. Can you conceive the idea of nothing else in existence but yourself and Him? That is the key to true living. Once you realize that there is only Him, He shall permeate every ounce of your being, every moment of your life. The moon could be gone in the blink of an eye. I might fade away at any moment’s time. You, and your talents, and your strength could be gone in a mere breath. But He shall never fade. If you lean on and live in only Him, you will find that you are outside of fear. Life will have meaning for He is the meaning. You will go and come when and where He bids and you will be doing exactly as you ought to. You will no longer have to fight and fend for yourself or struggle for survival, for He will bring you to His house, and care for you as His child. Do you understand young one?” She paused and looked at me as she paced a length in front of the throne.

“I think I understand a little, my Lady,” I said, feeling that I had been corrected in the most correct and right way.

“You asked how to be made clean in His sight,” the Lady said.

“Yes, Ma’am, I did,” I replied, hoping she would give me the answer.

“Nothing you can do will make you clean. And so you must let Him wash you,” with these words, she sat down once more upon the throne, and it was then I noticed a great many clouds had filled the room. I nodded my thanks and as I turned, the doors swung open once more.

I made my way towards the wash basin and looked again into the mirror. The face began to appear once more. He spoke my name as though he had been waiting for me. I sighed with resolution. “Please Sir,” I said, squeezing my eyes shut, though His light still shone through my eyelids. “Wash me; make me clean in your sight.” Instantly, there was a rush and a flurry as the face stretched out of the mirror and became a great man with a heavy sheen of splendor wrapped about the shine of His glory. I stumbled back but He caught me in His arms and set me firmly on my feet. His eyes were too beautiful for me to look at and I cursed myself that I had ever thought I was good. How could I ever have thought such a thing? The man lifted his hands and placed them in the wash basin. The water in it became cleaner and brighter than I ever thought possible. It shone like liquid diamond. The man took off a sash at that was slung across His shoulder and dipped it in the water, and then turned to wash my face. I threw up my hands in protest, for I did not want to spoil anything that belonged to Him, but He shook His head and placed the sash over my eyes and face to wash them. The sash must have held a great amount of water for I felt myself tumble into it. I was swimming in soft, hot waters, and I felt as though my very bones were brightening beneath or inside the cloth and the weight of His hands. He wiped away the grim and dust gently off my face and when He took the sash away, I was the same size I had been before; I am not sure that my size had changed. He lifted my chin and looked deep into my eyes. I blinked and found that somehow, I could bear it. He looked deep into the oceans of myself that I cannot know and knew me and loved me so perfectly I thought my heart would break if I did not stay with Him always. He took my hand and simply pointed to the mirror. I still could not see my face, but in the place of my face, was His. Not that I had become Him, to even think such a thing! No, no one could ever be like Him. But He had enveloped me in Himself, so that when He saw me, He saw me filtered through Himself. My horrid thoughts, and feeble actions were no longer hanging like a broken bridge between us. I knew I had found my Father and my home, and I did not wish to leave. I did not want to go back like a lonely creature, back to myself. He spoke my name once more and said in his gentle, thunderous voice, “I shall never leave you dear one. Even when your eyes cannot see me, I shall always be right beside you.” Then the moon was fading away and I was in the palm of His hand. He was filling up the whole sky and lowering me back into the churned up cloud of my house. As His hand placed me back by the window where I began my journey, my abode became fixed once more and the grass was no longer as tall as trees, and my blanket was back around my shoulders as though it had been lovingly wrapped around them. I sighed, with laughter and tears mingling in my eyes, and returned to bed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Puddle

"Why don't you two go play out in the rain?" a mother asked her two daughters. Both were sitting idly and terribly bored on a bed that wasn't theirs in a room that wasn't theirs. They did not yet have a home. One of them had straight hair, the other had sweet curls. Both were brunette. "Alright, come on," the straight haired girl said, calling to her sister. They bundled up significantly for the rainy weather, perhaps overdressing a little in case of a better adventure than simply wandering outside the road of a hotel.

Heavy raindrops slashed against their faces as they made their way down, down, down the stairs and out onto the blacktop. The rain made the boring asphalt look like onyx or black diamond as it sparkled beneath the sheen of rain. The blacktop road had plenty of dips and curves in it so that it was a land-mine of puddles. Racing from one puddle to the next, the girls began to tire themselves but were not tired enough to retreat back into their hotel room and back to boredom.. They would much rather be tired and wet than bored. Rain had ceased to fall, causing the blacktop to look like dark iceThe straight haired girl continued walking a few paces until she came upon a very large puddle, almost a small pond, that they had not yet come across. Her younger sister squatted down on her heels and drove a leaf through a smaller puddle back and forth, watching the rivulets shimmer and make wakes over the leaf's shoulder.

Gazing deep into the pool of water, the straighted hair girl saw her reflection. It was a perfect outdoor mirror. But then it changed to an almost real little girl looking up at her from under the water. Was there a little girl there? Was there someone else? The straight hair girl wrestled with the thought of touching the water, of moving its surface. To undo the quiet stillness of that pond may forever drain that world of its existence. If she touched it, and nothing was there... she didn't wish to think of it, now that she saw the excited face gazing up at her, just as she gazed down. The reflections in the water were perfect. The trees quivered and shook in the wind and the white from the sky was in the pond. Oh what if I, thought the little girl, could fall into that lovely bit of sky, right through the pavement! What if I found a whole new place under my shoes, but way up in the sky at the same time? She did not formulate so many words, but her heart was thinking it. The temptation was too much. She gathered up herself, feeling as though she were about to jump through a magic painting. Her head told her, just you wait! You're going to get your feet all wet and jump into a puddle that's all. She screwed up her courage and with one last look of the downy, white heavens rushing through the trees and playing songs with the wind and the waters she closed her eyes and jumped into the puddle. Her feet hit the pavement. It was as predicted. But she did not sigh. She held onto whatever had gotten into her blood and did not let it out in a sigh to go back up into the wind where it came from, perhaps back into Pandora's box.

"What did you find?" the straight haired girl's sister called from behind. "Oh, just a puddle," she said, still standing in the fragments of the sky-lit waters.

Crazy Things

Some days, I wonder what it would be like to come to school with my hair dyed red and cut in a super short, artistic style. What would people think of me? Would they treat me different? I would throw back my head with its shiny, short crop of hair and laugh!

Sometimes, I think it might be nice to run away to a convent and become a nun. But perhaps I would be too happy, too shut away, and too free from problems. I can deal with problems inside of walls, but "we can't run from our problems, we have to face them..."

Other times I see myself with a little gauzy bonnet on my head, smiling and cruising down the lane in an ever-so-fashionable Amish carriage pulled by a trusty black horse. No traffic, or road signs, or cars. Only another buggy here and there. I might wave and smile too jubilantly though. I might get stern and silent faces in return. Oh dear me, am I allowed to be joyful? Even the Man of Sorrows went to a wedding feast! And then they would gently but firmly pull me from my lovely carriage... back to dishes?

Or maybe I could be a secret agent?
How much does it cost to live up in the woods by yourself?
If I had enough balloons, I might do exactly what that guy in "UP" did...
And while I rattle off these ridiculous ideas, my siblings all look at me as if I've gone off my rocker and landed on the moon!
But these are just the crazy things. Wait until tomorrow when I get my head on straight. For now it is backwards, like the owls, and I am sitting in a hollow tree, dreaming...
Oh, dear Lord, I just want to do what you want me to. Help me to be brave!

Honesty at a Bus Stop

My mom and I thought this was so sweet! I hope I can teach my brother to be like this (with a better choice of wardrobe perhaps =)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Verse 7

Psalm 37:5

Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him and he will help you.

Couldn't have said it better... I can't wait to meet King David in Heaven!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Short Story: Pain Like A Heart Beat

My Mom's day through my eyes...

It was rainy outside; reminiscent of a beach day. The greens and browns outside where enriched by the thick, straddling blanket of cloud. She slammed the car door shut behind her. Slippery, wet moss teased her shoes as she made her way to the front door, and the flowers that always attempted to grow were poking their air-starved heads out of the ground. They always died before they had a chance to bloom; yes, they always died. She knocked on the dingy red door. Tears were still in the back of her eyes and pounding on the back of her head, all jammed up inside where tears are kept. She had cried more often this year. She remembered when she stopped crying; when the lady who was her father’s wife couldn’t sleep because of the noise. Her father told her not to cry anymore. So she didn’t.
She knocked on the door again. Her hands were small folds of thin skin and bones. Once upon a time she had strong, sturdy little hands; hands that could throw a ball as good as any boy. Once upon a time she was thick and full enough to fill out a pair of jeans. But that was a long time ago, ten years ago, a decade ago. Three children came bounding up to the door. It was locked. The house door was almost never locked, but the children had been home alone. She came inside and opened the half-broken door to the hall closet and took off her clogs. Instantly she lost three inches and became much shorter than her oldest daughter. She looked like a sickly pixie with tired eyes. She came into the house. Her attitude was sloped and limp like her shoulders. The house was messy, again. Had she come in but three minutes earlier she would have been pleased. But either she was too late or the mess came too early. At any rate, the timing was off. Just like the timing of this wretched disease. Just like the timing of her life. She came and sat down on the discolored furniture. Her toes got stuck in the thick, ugly line that split the living room carpet down the middle. Her skin burned. Her head ached. Her nose throbbed. She hurt. She hurt. Everything was falling apart and everything hurt.
They told her to go to yet another doctor. How many doctors would she go to before it was all over? They sent you off from one to another when they couldn’t tell you what was wrong with you, and then they looked down on you like you were some kind of hypochondriac when they learned how many doctors you’d seen. She curled up on the blotchy couch that matched her blotchy skin. When her husband came home, she almost cried again. She felt apathetic tears begin to water slowly in her eyes. Her body was fighting apathetically. Her fevers were apathetic in their rage. Her skin was apathetic in its healing. Her husband just held her hand. What could anyone do? There was nothing to be done. If only she could have cancer so that she could cut something off and be done with this pain. But no, she was subject to a dull, eroding ache.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Insomniac Deals With Mornings = Blah...

For the past week or so, I have been having a terrible time getting up in the morning. Normally, I'm bad enough in the morning with my groggy eyes that are as blind as a bats and the freezing air ready to nip at my cold-blooded skin the moment I get out of bed doesn't encourage me. But lately I CAN'T get going! It probably has something to do with the fact that I suffer from insomnia and have decided to enjoy my condition by staying up late and thinking. I figure "if I'm going to be forced to stay awake, I should just enjoy this time and not TRY to fall asleep. I think there is nothing worse than TRYING to fall asleep... I can't wait until Heaven where there will be no sleeping or eating or drinking or anything that you have to do to survive. I mean think about it, if we didn't have to eat, we could in theory just sit and think for years without any disturbance of having to try to survive. Trying to survive is so very... vexing... It wastes time. Sleep wastes time. Don't get me wrong, my favorite part of the week is Saturday mornings when I wake up late and just lie comfortably in bed, but thats not really sleeping, thats resting. You can't enjoy sleep because you are too busy running around in your dreams and you hardly ever have an idea that you are sleeping, so you might as well be REALLY awake in this reality where you can get some work done! Anywho, I've been barely rolling out of bed at 6:00.. and I have to be out the door by 7:17... and I stand around for just a few minutes and suddenly... I HAVE ONLY TEN MINUTES TO GET READY! I don't know what happens to hours in the mornings. I swear that the clock plays tricks on you... I've come to school a bit late a couple days last week and I just skipped French on Friday because all we do is sit and read our books and I wasn't feeling well, so I just turned in a note when I got to school. I know its silly, but I felt empowered having time in the morning. I love mornings, when I can get up when there is light outside and have PLENTY of time to wake up (I'm like a school computer, I take awhile to get off and running). I also like to SEE the morning, but I can't ever see the morning when I'm holed up in a building. Ah well, hopefully I will have years of mornings where I can just sit and watch the sun come up and then around 10:00 be fully awake! So, heres to those who, like me, love mornings but have trouble getting up; In Heaven there will be no sleep to fall into or crawl out of... hallelujah!

By the way, this was posted late at night. I may regret it in the morning.

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