Sunday, July 20, 2014

After the Storm

Wet footprints chased her down the dunes.
She walked in darkness.

Clutter filled the sand, the waves, and the sky. What once stood as a charming seaside home was now nothing more than a pile of bricks and rubble standing silently in the blackness. Clothes, shoes, books, and splintering wood bobbed in the deep, polluted waters. The wreckage of a ship tumbled onto the rocks, tossed by hesitant waves not yet weary of pouring out their anger.
The tattered condition of the beach perfectly mirrored her body and heart.
She wore no shoes, not because she didn't have any, but because she was too weary to tie them. Though she may have wanted to, she didn't bend down to pick up any of the mess, either. Her heart was too exhausted. Instead, she halted in the middle of the fog and sat down in the sand.
Like the Northern Lights, nothing was a separate object. Each color somehow found its way into its neighbor’s territory, causing the hazy stars to blur with beach debris in a mist of confusion.
Weary, weary, weary, she breathed in the moonlight. Weary, weary, weary, the waves answered. The fog and blurry moon rocked her tired and dreamy mind back to the scene of the storm.
Waves the size of mountains rolled across the sandy shoreline. Each one could be seen from a distance and held its own level of terror. The sizable ones collapsed over her head, drenching her in mud, seaweed, and rocks. She was thrust headlong into the beach, searching wildly for a way out of the current and a gasp of air to fill her burning lungs. The sand burned her too, leaving red marks, huge welts, and peeled skin on her nose, cheeks, and arms. She would surface finally, draw in air as if taking her last gulps, and crawl to her knees with a fit of choking, only to face the next wet blow.
The smaller waves didn't tower over her like sky scrapers. Instead, they came only to her waste, but still tripped her, and tossed her on her back, throwing her violently onto the dunes. Though small, they still carried pain with them, and some gave reflections of the larger waves.
But waves were not the only thing to flash over the chilly horizon.
Aggressive wind blew from far off lands, swirling around her head, slapping her salty hair across the wounds on her face causing them to sting unbearably. It raged over the sea waves, doing everything in its power to knock her down and cause her pain. Raindrops and hail the size of oranges pounded onto the ground leaving craters in the slimy sand. They fell on her head, knocking her over, or onto her arms and legs leaving bruises and open gashes.
But she hadn't given up. Through a night that seemed like eternity, she faced each new wave, each ball of hail, and each gust of wind. All night, she fought on that bloody battleground.
The girl shivered and pulled her freshly wounded knees up to her chin. She wanted to throw up from the memory.
It’s over, she told herself, opening her eyes and squinting to lift the haze of dusk. But she believed only half-heartedly. It couldn't really be over, could it?
“Why did you do it?” the voice of a man echoed behind her in the darkness. She jumped in fright and shrunk away from the figure, too afraid to let anyone touch her.
The man wore a crisp, white robe untouched by the storm’s evil fingers. She looked down to see her own clothes tattered, beaten, and covered in seaweed. The man knelt down next to her and gently stroked her hair. “Why did you do it?” he repeated.
This time she didn't shrink away. For a moment, there was silence. But the strength of the man’s eyes urged her to find a voice. “Because there was a battle,” she whispered through cracked, bloody lips, “and my Lord asked me to fight for Him.”
She looked to the ground let the tears rain down her cheeks. “I almost gave up. My heart is so worn.”
He stared at her with love in his eyes. “Don’t cry, child.” He stood to his feet and ushered to the sky. “The storm is over, night is gone. Come, walk with me to the sunrise.”
It was then she noticed a streak of pink light up the sky. Then a streak of orange, and one of yellow, too. Her heart skipped a beat. She blinked and rubbed her eyes. Had morning really come? She looked to the man.
“Come,” he held out his hand. “The storm is over.”
She tried to get to her feet, but fell back in exhaustion and a rage of tears. He reached out a strong hand to help her up. She touched him.
Her fingers met the scars.
“Come,” he whispered again, pulling her to her feet. "You have no reason to fear, only to trust." She grasped his hand tightly this time and took a step, but faltered. He caught her. "We'll make it to daylight," he said, pulling her into His arms. “We’ll make it,” he said. Then he hoisted her up again and carried her to the rising sun.