“a sunbeam lent to us too briefly”

The news reported that he died on his knees, palms and forehead to the floor, praying and flash-frozen by fire. Amidst images of dust and destruction, they proclaimed him a hero for his devotion to duty, remembered him ambling in clouds of incense-perfumed air. In my memories of him from childhood, he is always feeling the earth with his fingertips, whispering into the mountain, barefoot. As with all tales of glory though, they left out two things: first, that the town wanted to go back for him, and second, that he was just an old man set in his ways, who knew nothing else but the job he was born to do. This stubbornness took the thirteen of us too. When the shelter of the refugee camp no longer protected, but smothered us with guilt, we went back for him, leaving our wives within campsite walls. We cried and attempted to pull him off his knees and away from the crumbling town, but then, the mountain coughed — an explosion, a black cloud, and a river of fire that engulfed us all.

If you’d asked her a year ago, she would have told you that a person’s most precious possession was her pride. “You can’t please everyone”, she’d say. “So there isn’t really any point in seeking any validation but your own.” Falling in love made her crave the approval of another, made her long to be trampled on and dominated by the person strong enough to become the great exception to her rule. Pride abandoned, she was hurt, and then healed by the hands that broke her. Now she says, lovers are users, but are fighters too. Our greatest war is with ourselves, learning how to both hoard and surrender our vulnerability before God and anyone else who matters.

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5 thoughts on ““a sunbeam lent to us too briefly”

    1. thanks so much! it means a lot to me — these are the only two paragraphs i got to write for a creative writing/fiction class before i had to swap it for a psych class :(

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