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by Jan Ackerson
9/25/2006 / Short Stories
My body had nearly recovered from the accident that changed everything; no one had yet found the right therapy for my injured heart. So when my husband suggested a trip to Mackinac Island, a place we had enjoyed several times in the past, I stammered in protest. I just dont seewhats the point?
He draped an arm around my shoulders. The point, my love, is that you need to get out of the house, and enjoy a place of beauty and peace.
Too weary to fight, I let him win. He packed our bags, helped me to the van, and chattered for the entire four-hour drive. I simply closed my eyes and let his words flit about the interior of the car and fade away.
When we arrived, I clutched my husbands arm tightly and we boarded the ferry to the island. The waters of two great lakes splashed and sprayed our faces. Seagulls squawked overhead. For a moment I lifted my face to the sunshine, a feeling I had nearly forgotten. No, I mustnt let any happiness inI tucked my chin into my chest.
At the end of the ferry dock, a dozen little shops advertised bicycles for rent. My husband grasped my elbow. What about a tandem? I know youd be able to ride one of those! Ill do all the hard work up front. Cmon, lets get one!
I dont thinkI just cant. But his enthusiasm was stronger than my fear, and soon we were pedaling down the busy main street of the island, past souvenir stores, a street performer playing the hammered dulcimer, and confectionaries where the smell of newly-made fudge drifted into the noisy avenue. I heard myself say Mmmmm, a sound that came from a place inside me that I hadnt visited in a long time.
Within minutes we had left the town behind. We stopped at a rocky spot on the shoreline, and my husband held my hand as we carefully made our way to the water. Honeylets wade. Please? he pleaded. Fresh air seemed to have weakened my resistance; we took off our sandals. The lake was numbingly coldin just seconds, we were stepping out, laughing and shivering. Whats that sound? asked my husband.
I dont hear anythingjust the lake. I said. What are you talking about?
I think it wasyou laughing? Could that be it?
Immediately I slammed shut the door to my spirit. Lets get back on the bike.
I said little for the next several minutes, as I studied the feeling now forming somewhere in the vicinity of my heart. I rested my head briefly on my husbands strong back, and gave the feeling a name: hope.
After a time we approached the part of the island containing historic buildings and a centuries-old fort. In the distance, we heard the make-believe soldiers firing their muskets. Unaccustomed to exercise, my legs ached. We alit and sat on a stone bench. Im tired. Can we get something to eat?
Just wait here, said my husband, and before I could protest, he sprinted off in search of food.
Dont leave me! I cried. Utterly alone, I hugged my knees and bowed my head. Dont let anyone talk to meIt wasnt a prayer, reallyI hadnt talked to God since the accident. But the posture and the petition felt familiar, like times of prayer Id known in the past. I relaxed and waited for my lunch, gradually becoming aware of a voice Id been ignoring for weeks.
Isnt this beautiful? He whispered. Do you hear the water, and the birds, and the horses hooves? Cant you feel the breeze, and the grass at your feet? And take a deep breathcan you smell the flowers, and even the dirt? Can you be thankful for these things?
But Lord, I whimpered. I cant see them. Ill never see them again. You just dont understand what its like to be blind!
My child, I understand all things. I have wept with you, and now I long to rejoice with you. I give and I take away, and my ways are not your waysbut I want you to trust me, and praise me. Even though. Even though. I am enough. Beloved, I am enough.
When my husband returned with the ice cream, I turned my head toward his voice. A smile lit my face, not entirely due to the waffle cone of mint chocolate chip that he pressed into my hand.
Jan is a Christian who has traveled through sorrow and depression, and has found victory and grace. She dedicates all writings to her Heavenly Father. Check out Jan's website at www.1hundred-words.com
Copywrite Jan Ackerson--2006
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