Short Story – Praying for Rain

Welcome back! Today I’m sharing part 2 of the story I began to share last week.

And I also promised a reveal of the title because I couldn’t think of one last week . So, without further ado, let me introduce ‘Praying for Rain’ (part 2)! The title is short and simple, and, I think, suitably captures what this is story about. I hope you enjoy the conclusion! 🙂

~

Another week passes, then another. The horizon remains empty, and the house grows quieter. Everything takes on a dreamlike quality, as if we are moving through a sea of molasses. It takes ten times as long to do my chores. It’s just too hot.

The sky stretches above the fields, tight and blue.

The sun mocks us.

Dust covers everything.

I walk with Papa to the fields. Everything is the same. The plants droop, the ground beneath is cracked.

The corn is dying.

Papa caresses a leaf as he always does, tender in his devotion to his crops. But this time, the leaf doesn’t whisper in his palm. It gives a small broken crackle, and falls apart. Papa stares at the leaf in his hand. I watch, heart aching. Then slowly, he balls his fist around the leave, squeezing until his knuckles turn white. When he opens his hand, dust falls like rain to the dry ground at his feet.

He turns and walks away.

I am left alone, surrounded by acres of corn that has given up hope. My heart aches fiercely behind my faded calico apron. It beats until I feel as if it will choke me. My throat tightens, and tears well over.

“Why?” I whisper. I turn in an aimless circle, trying to comprehend the loss of hope as the cornfields blur in a haze of hot tears.

“Why?” I say it louder, as the tears fall faster.

“God, don’t you hear me?” I shake my fist at the unrelenting sky.

“We need rain. Can’t you see? Just look!” I gesture angrily at the fields around me.

“We need rain.” I cry harder, tears rolling down my cheeks. They create shining tracks on the film of dust that covers me.

“God! If you are there, if you can hear me, then answer me!” I scream up at the sky.

“Send us rain!”

Then I collapse in a dusty heap on the parched earth, my tears soaking into the ground as soon as they roll off my face.

~

Tomorrow arrives, then tomorrow, and another tomorrow. I am numb with despair.

Every morning I stay in bed until I am forced to get up by Mama’s call. I don’t look at the sky. I know what it holds, or rather, what it doesn’t hold.

Every night, I crawl into bed. I don’t pray. Instead I let the tears roll silently down into my ears until I fall into a restless sleep.

I dream of an angry God, holding back rain as a punishment on poor farmers.

I dream of the sky taunting us with the hope of thunder and lightning, but holding back the promise of rain.

And then worst of all, I dream of rain. Sweet, cool refreshing rain that soaks into the ground and brings life and hope once again.

But then I wake up and realize it was just a dream and that I am living in a nightmare.

Hope died with the dust that fell from Papa’s hand that morning.

The rain will never come.

~

I lie in bed, after living through a day that was the same as yesterday. I wonder briefly if tomorrow might break the pattern of dusty monotony, then decide that no, it will not. Tomorrow will be the same as today – hopeless and rainless.

I can hear the low murmur of Papa and Mama talking in the other room. They thought I hadn’t heard them talking earlier, but I had. They were murmuring about giving up the farm, of going to the East to live with Mama’s sister. Whispers that signalled the final end of everything we’d ever hoped, dreamed and lived for.

Tears come much easier now than they used to, and so I lie there, stifling in the darkness, stifling my sobs. Sleep eventually comes, long after their murmurs have stopped and the harvest moon has risen. I am restless, drifting in and out of nightmares that are too close to reality.

Then a noise cuts through my shadowy dreams, jerking me awake. I lie there, panting softly in the heat, straining my eyes in the darkness.

The noise comes again, a strange intermittent tapping that seems to be coming from the roof above me. The tapping grows in intensity and loudness, as if someone is throwing stones randomly from the sky. I cast about in my sleep-fogged brain, trying to identify the noise. It seems vaguely familiar, as if I had dreamt about it long ago.

Then the truth hits me with the force of a train. I leap out of bed, tripping over my discarded clothes in the darkness, crashing into the door. I tear it open, heedless of my elbows or the clothes or the hinges.

“Papa, Mama!” I scream.

Dashing through the kitchen, I pull open the front door.

It is as if heaven stands before me.

The smell of life comes flooding into the house, dispelling the smell of the dust that has filled our nostrils for so long. I look out through tear filled eyes at the rain that thuds onto the ground.

Somehow I find myself in the front yard, screaming for joy. My face is turned up to the sky that drops its long awaited gift upon the earth. I run and jump and skip, my heart singing for joy.

I turn and see Papa dancing with Mama in the puddles of water that have quickly accumulated on the ground. I can’t tell if they’re crying or laughing – I don’t know myself whether I’m crying or laughing. Rain pelts my head and runs heavy down my face, washing away the dust of despair.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I cry over and over again, laughter bubbling up between sobs.

I run to Papa and Mama. I can see the joy dripping from their drenched clothes, feel it radiating from their gleaming smiles. Papa’s eyes flash with light, Mama stands straight and strong.

We join hands and dance together, as the rain pours from the sky.

 

close-up_drop_black_blue_rain_4502_1680x1050

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Short Story – …?

Hello everyone! Today I have the first part of a short story for you all to read. It was born on Monday after a brain wave and 2 hours of writing. 😀 And, just to up the tension a bit, I will be revealing its title with the second part next week. (That’s definitely not because I haven’t thought up of a good title yet, or anything. :P) I hope you all will enjoy it!

crops died

Every morning, I stare out over the horizon, longing to see the clouds that mean rain is coming. Every morning the horizon remains empty, curving downwards like a celestial frown of disapproval at my hope.

Every evening, I kneel on the worn floorboards and pray for rain. Every evening I lie on my sagging bed in the stifling heat, wishing for the coolness of a storm. Every evening I drift off to sleep, dreaming of the elusive pattern of raindrops on the roof above me.

But every morning, I wake up. And it hasn’t rained.

~

Papa stares out at the horizon with me, every morning. Then he strides off to inspect the fields. Sometimes I tag along with him. The ground is hard and hot under my feet. Dust puffs up and coats my legs, my dress, and my mouth.

Our fields stretch out almost as far as we can see, up to the horizon. We walk among the rows of corn, planted with such hope and anticipation last spring. The plants droop, tired of the sun, tired of trying to grow. The corn is shrivelling on the cobs, the small kernels withering even smaller, unable to draw sustenance from the barren land. Papa caresses the limp leaves with his work worn hands as he passes through the field. I look up at his face, trying to read what he is thinking. But his thoughts are locked behind the sunburn, and his eyes are hard and sad. Just like the ground we walk over – they let nothing out and nothing in. He doesn’t smile much anymore.

Mama seems to shrivel a little more every day, just like the corn in the fields. The heat gets to her. It wearies her, she says. It wearies me too. It saps all of our energy, taking with it our hopes of a good harvest and another solid payment on the mortgage. Everything is showing signs of weariness. The limp, dust-stained dresses I wear. The shrinking portions of food that Mama serves up in the dusty kitchen. Everything is full of dust and is heavy with the burden of despair.

The days become a monotonous cycle. The same old chores, the same old food, the same old dust, the same old heat. And still, no rain.

I pray more now, hoping that perhaps God might answer if I keep up the petitions long and hard enough. Like that story of the persistent widow that Pastor Brown preached on last Sunday… I murmur prayers while I sweep the dust out of the house, while I feed the chickens, while I walk with Papa among the fields. “Please, send us rain.”

The prayer for rain rings in everyone’s hearts. When we go to town for Sunday church, we sit on the benches in the schoolhouse-turned-church and sing hymns, all the while praying for rain. We listen to Pastor preach about persistent widows, and Joseph’s coat of many colours, and how the Prophet Elijah held back rain as God’s punishment for Israel’s disobedience.

I wonder if perhaps God is punishing us for disobeying him. But it isn’t just us. It’s the whole town, the whole state, and maybe even the whole country. Words like ‘depression’ and ‘dust bowl’ and ‘heading North with the harvest’ are whispered between people as they file out of church after the sermon. No one stays long to talk. It’s too hot to be standing around in the glaring sun-filled schoolyard.

I walk home between Mama and Papa. We’re silent.

~

Summer slips by fast. The days all seem to melt into one hot nightmare. The corn shrivels even faster than Mama does. Papa grows quieter. And I pray even more.

One morning something cruel happens. Papa and I are standing together, looking at the horizon like we always do. It is hazy, but empty. We turn to go in, but I look back just once.

My heart stops.

There is a cloud.

I tug on Papa’s sleeve, calling for him to look. The cloud seems to grow bigger, and another one joins is. I look up at Papa, and for the first time all summer, I see a gleam in his eyes.

We watch all morning, sitting on the porch steps in the dust. The clouds grow bigger, blotting the horizon. The wind picks up, brushing my face with its cool fingers. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the wind. The dust rises from the ground, choking us as it dances in the air.

But still we stay. Watching. Waiting. Hoping. “Please, send rain.” I whisper. The clouds grow bigger, and my heart leaps within my chest. Even Mama is watching, leaning out of the kitchen window.

But as we watch, the clouds turn away. Like a child moves his toys in play, they seem to be moved by an unseen hand up in the sky. They turn west, and then grow smaller. The wind dies down. The dust settles.

And then the clouds slip over the horizon.

My heart sinks like a stone, dragging my hope down with it. Mama shuts the window. I can hear dishes clattering like the tolling of funeral bells. I look at Papa. His eyes are blank once again.

~

Part 2 coming next week! 🙂

(Read Part 2 here)

Poem – Behold!

Ah, it’s a weekend again. What bliss… Weekends are like gold to me, now that school has started back up. 😀 (Except when I don’t finish all my work and then have to work on weekends. But I’m working on that. :D) What have you all been up to this week? My week has been chock full of school work (no surprise, that. :P) and not much else. Such is the life of a high school junior…

Today’s writing piece is another poem that I wrote just the other day. I’ve been reading through the Old Testament recently and really loving it! After reading Amos, I was struck with inspiration and this poem was born. The Old Testament really is filled with such beautiful and poetic writing, it’s not hard to be inspired! I’d really recommend going and reading some of it, if you haven’t recently. Yes, it’s a bit dense in parts, but oh the promises that God makes to his people are so wonderfully encouraging! I love it… So without further ado, onto the poem!

Behold!

He who treads

on the heights of the earth,

also walked among man

through the depths of the valleys.

He who stretches out the heavens

like a garment,

also stretched out his arms

on a cross.

He who touches the earth

melting it,

also touches my heart

turning it into flesh.

He who turns deep darkness

Into morning,

also turns deep mourning

Into joy.

He who causes nations

to rise and fall according to his plan,

also causes me to rise

and soar on eagles’ wings.

He who breathed

the earth into existence,

also breathes life

Into my weary soul.

 

Who is he?

Behold,

the LORD God Almighty

is his name.

amos 2

Top 2 Books – September 2017

Hi everyone! Today I’m back with a slightly-shorter-than-normal review of my favourite books of the month. I read quite a few books in September, but alas my time is running out today, so 2 is all I have time for right now. 😀

 

Yancey-Bible-Jesus-Read

 

This was (again) a book I read as part of my school work this year, and (again :D) I was very pleasantly surprised by it! Yancy takes the reader on a journey as he delves into the Old Testament – shedding light on the Bible that Jesus would’ve read. The Old Testament is the prequel to the story of Jesus, but so often Christians are put off by the sheer size of it, the dense prophecies, or the depressing stories. But Yancy takes the Old Testament and shines a light on the beauty hidden behind those initial barriers. Writing a chapter each on Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Deuteronomy, and the Prophets, he gives clarity to the story that each book holds.

The thing that I found so captivating about this book is the way that he points out how each book is part of a greater narrative, and how each story is woven into The Story. The Story of the world, and how Jesus has come to save it. This book wasn’t exactly light reading, as it had a lot of historical/theological information in it to process. But Yancy writes in a very clear, compelling and captivating way, and I didn’t find this book hard to get through at all. If you struggle with the Old Testament at all, or are just wanting to learn more about the backgrounds and meanings behind the OT books, then this book is for you! I’m giving this book a solid 9* out of 10, and recommending it for ages 14+.

 

beowulf

Three massive battles with monsters and dragons featuring feats of intense bravery and fortitude – it doesn’t get much better than that. 😀 Throw in that this book was written over 1000 years ago, but is still readable and interesting to a modern reader, and bam, you’ve got a rather interesting book on your hands. Now lest you think that I am an incredible nerd for picking up a 1000+ year old book and actually liking it, let me shed some light onto the situation. You see, I’m only a slight nerd, because I choose to take classes like ‘Middle Ages Literature’ and then actually enjoy the books that I read in that class. 😀 So yes, this is, yet again, another school book. But I enjoyed it so much I figured I’d spotlight it on here. After all, it’s not every month I read an ancient, poetical story full of monsters and daring deeds. 😛

Anyways, where was I…? Oh yes, talking about Beowulf. So yeah, it’s basically what I’ve already said – a really long poem about a guy that fights a monster, then the monster’s mother, and then a dragon. Which in itself doesn’t exactly sound thrilling. But it is! The writing is incredibly beautiful. Seriously, I wish that I could write some of the things that the author of Beowulf comes out with. The history behind it is fascinating. I’ve been learning about it in my class, and finding out so much history behind the story! Learning the history behind all the rituals detailed in the poem, the Scandinavian culture within which it was composed, and how it survived seemingly a million and two fires and finally got translated into English – it’s all so fascinating! Of course, I am a history nerd, so that might bias me a little bit. 😀

And yes, because it was written such a long time ago, the language is hard to follow. The story itself is interesting, but the rabbit trails and side-notes that the author takes are often confusing and slightly tedious. But apart from that, it’s a masterpiece! I’d really recommend going out of your comfort zone, and if not reading this book, then reading something else that you normally wouldn’t read. Because, as I found out when I read Beowulf, sometimes it’s good to stretch yourself out of your normal habits, because you can learn and grow and find gems of literature along the way! I’ve giving Beowulf 8* out of 10, and recommending it to anyone that is brave enough to take the challenge. (but probably 13+ :D)

That’s all for this week! Please feel free to share some of your favourite books you read in the past month. I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

A Place to Belong

* Apologies for this late post! I was gone all weekend, and only remembered after I’d left that I had forgotten to put a post up. 

This week I’m going to be sharing a sort of casual essay.  I wrote it as a school assignment, but it quickly turned into something much more personal than a simple essay. I hope your hearts are encouraged by this!

~

In this culture of vast variety, it is sometimes hard to find your niche. A place to fit in, a place to belong. You look around at everyone, seemingly so different from you, and wonder ‘Is it really possible to find a place to truly belong?’ I have struggled with those same feelings, and so I invite you to join me, as I explore just a little bit about finding ‘a place to belong’.

As a conservative Christian girl, my values are almost always the opposite of the world’s values. As I look around, I see sinful people who are bound and determined to do what they want, when they want and how they want. People who dismiss God and his Word the Bible, on the grounds that it is old-fashioned/irrelevant/not for them/flawed/etc. People who don’t care about others; they only care about themselves. People that have twisted love into a gross, lustful, self-gratifying thing that consumes their lives. People that only care about the next movie coming out, the new Instagram filter, their iPhone, their computer, or the new fashions on the runway. People who can’t fathom living without luxury, Wi-Fi, all their stuff. People who need entertainment 24/7, whether it comes from their phone or their computer, or their computer games or movies. People who have an insatiable drive to get to the top of the pyramid, whether it’s career or social or something else. They long to have the best car, house, family, wife, friends, or stuff. I see families being broken apart because of selfishness, lust, anger, greed, or just plain sinfulness. And as I look around at all this brokenness, at everyone who holds such different values and morals than me, I wonder ‘where do I belong?’

Because as I look at the world, I’m struck with the massive difference between their values and mine. I look at myself, and I see sinfulness. But I also see values and morals at a complete opposite end to the majority of the world. I hold God and his word the Bible in high respect. I believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and that I am a sinner saved by grace. I believe that the Bible is God’s inspired word to us, and should not be taken lightly, twisted, or dismissed. My whole life is completely changed because I am a Christian. I have conservative views on love, believing that marriage is something between one man and one woman, and that sex should be saved for after marriage. I believe that dating should have boundaries and goals, and that it is something that should not be taken lightly. I also believe that woman should dress modestly, so as to not make it hard for men to keep themselves pure. I have a high view of life, believing that children are a blessing from God, and that a baby is a person from the moment it is conceived. No child should be killed because it is unwanted or the wrong gender. I also take a high view of family, trying to honour God with the way I treat my parents and siblings, though I fail often. As for schooling, I am home-schooled which automatically makes me different and weird from the rest of my peers. Some of my peers look down on me because I am ‘sheltered’ and ‘enjoy learning,’ two things that are very different from their lifestyles. Even little things, that my internet is monitored and restricted sets me apart from the rest of the world that craves 24/7 entertainment. Pretty much everything in my life from school to personal values is completely different from the world.

And honestly, it’s hard. It’s hard not being able to fit in with the crowd, not to understand the inside jokes, not to be ‘one of them’. Though I know deep down in my heart that I am doing the right thing, sometimes you just want to belong somewhere.

And you know what? That longing is something that has been gnawing at the human heart for all of time. The longing to have that hole filled, that heart-longing satisfied, the desire to find a place that you can truly say you belong. But since sin entered the world, people have become lost. They don’t know where they belong or how to have that hole filled and that desire satisfied. They search and search, but never truly find.

Some go the way of love, trying to fill the hole in their heart with relationships and promises of love and all they find is that people are fickle and at the end of it, the holes in their hearts are deeper than ever before.

Some go the way of entertainment, trying desperately to satisfy that heart desire with movies and books and friends and phones and unlimited wifi. But there is always some unattainable ‘something’ that they can never quite get, and so that heart-desire is never quite satisfied.

And some try and find a place to belong in their work, striving to fit in, to achieve the goals, earn the money, and climb the pyramid. But then either something snaps and their carefully crafted lives come crashing around their ears and they’re left with nothing, or they come to the end of their carefully crafted lives and realize that everything they’ve built… means nothing.

At the end, their hearts still have un-filled holes, their deep desires for something more are unfulfilled, and that cry for some place to belong goes unanswered.

But that is where I am different. Because of one thing.

My heart has been filled with unspeakable love. My desire for something more has been fulfilled, and my heart-cry for a place to belong will ultimately come true.

Because of Jesus.

His life-changing, glorious, all-consuming, sacrificial and amazing love has come into my sin-filled, holey, desiring heart and turned it upside down and around and torn it apart and recreated it and… filled it. In him, all heart desires are satisfied, all the holes are filled, and he has promised that one day, people changed by him will no longer live in this sinful, messy, broken world where no one can truly belong, but will be with him in the most glorious place we could ever imagine. Heaven. And there we will no longer wish to be a part of the crowd, to have a place to belong. Because there  We. Will. Belong. There we will see Jesus face to face, and all our heart’s desires will be immediately and completely and utterly satisfied. There. With Him.

So, as I look around at this broken world that I live in, and wish that just once, I could be part of the crowd, to have a place to belong. I stop. And remember. That though this world has troubles, take heart, because Jesus has overcome this world. And he has overcome my sin on the cross in the most magnificently sacrificial love we could ever imagine, and he has filled my heart with his love. And because of this glorious truth, I no longer need to wish for a place to belong. Because I have the hope that I know, one day, I will have one. In Heaven. With Jesus. My ‘Place to Belong’.

 

c s lewis