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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)

TITLE: Restoration
By Mary Shores


No sound was heard, except for the sound the small hammer made as she used it to nail up each piece of her torn cloth. Nature seemed to momentarily hold its breath, waiting for the task to be completed. The torn edges of what used to be a quilt she methodically nailed to the old oak tree with its branches reaching toward the clouds. She had cried so many tears that what she had to do now, she did almost without thinking. It was too hard for her to try to understand anyway. She only knew that if she didnít nail up these bits of what was left, she would have to carry them around with her forever.
She remembered what the quilt once looked like, all soft and warm hugging her on her bed. The many different colored squares of soft cotton flannel invited her eyes to dance from piece to piece as the patterns were interwoven and perfect. Pink polka dots next to light blue stripes, yellow and blue plaids and purple paisleys all worked together to create a harmony of color, texture and beauty.
One night a stranger had broken into her home taking whatever he thought was of value and when she went to her bed she found nothing but a pile of ripped up shreds of cloth, an unimaginable sight. Her quilt, large, soft and warm, had been reduced to bits and pieces that didnít fit together anymore. At first she thought she would remake the quilt but the project soon overwhelmed her since she lacked the vision to see it to its proper end. Peace that once had covered her like that old quilt was replaced with a hollow, empty coldness that even a quilt could not warm. Her heart had been ripped along with the quilt and she knew this wound was beyond her ability to repair.
Gathering up her scraps of cloth she walked deep into the woods, where she would go when she needed guidance. Listening to the wind blowing through the trees, the birds singing to each other, and the music of the crickets helped her to not feel so alone. But she needed something bigger, older and wiser to restore her peace. She needed God.
It wasnít as though the cross of Jesus was a place she could actually travel to where she could throw herself at its foot and plead for help. As she surveyed the large old oak tree she knew that she had found something that could work. Its branches rose upward as though it were a cross, except it was filled with life and not death. Birds had made their nests and raised their young in this tree, and an amazing number of bright green leaves adorned its many branches. She longed to climb the tree and feel the strength of its branches upholding her, but instead decided to nail her pieces of cloth to it as a way of getting Godís attention. Surely he would have to notice that her pain was real.
It was the heat of the day as she dragged an abandoned ladder up to the tree. What a pitiful sight, she thought, as she glanced back at the cloths blowing in the wind. As badly as she wanted to get away from that spot, she felt compelled to stay. She didnít know if she had enough faith for anything to happen.
A gust of wind caused her to shield her eyes from the dirt and leaves as she was going home. She wondered if this sudden storm was a response to her offensive act. As quickly as the wind had arisen it was again silent, even more silent than before.
As she turned to look at the tree, she saw hanging on it a beautiful coat carefully stitched together using all of her ripped up pieces of cloth. In her eagerness to feel the warm, soft cloth against her skin again, she put it on without any rational thought about where it came from. Gratitude and love sprang from her heart as she started to twirl around. The tree no longer held her broken pieces and even the nails had disappeared. She accepted her gift with joy. She felt loved and whole once again as she stood clothed in her colorful, quilted coat of righteousness. She knew then that God could turn even the most useless torn up threads into the most beautiful tapestries, if only she would let him.

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This article has been read 544 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Birdie Courtright08/25/06
I like your ending--I was wondering where this was all going and wasn't disappointed. Great imagery.
Marilyn Schnepp 08/27/06
Without the paragaraph spacing - this is difficult to read. Thank you for sharing.
Edy T Johnson 08/28/06
Everything in your story reached completion with your summary message. I like your captivating style of writing, too.

My only suggestion is the final scene at the tree, with the coat, would be more believable if you could indicate this was a dream or allegory rather than a literal event.
david grant08/29/06
Like the idea and the plot, but felt the writing, tho beautiful, was a little too complicated for the simplicity of the story.