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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Church (12/06/07)

TITLE: The Flutter of Wings
By Deborah Hale


I had been to this church many times in the past, but for the last year, I had stayed away. I could not bring myself to enter its doors. Every Sunday brought with it an internal struggle, which I could no longer ignore. I was determined to decide my future fate, once and for all. Could I embrace my beliefs again, or would I turn my back and walk away? Today the decision would be made.

As I entered the sanctuary, my senses were bombarded. The numerous prayer candles, I had once thought of as pretty, now bothered me as their flickering flames cast a garish orange hue over everything. The smoke from the incense was so thick, and the odor so sickeningly-sweet that it made me nauseous.

A feeling of unease settled over me. Around me were stained-glass windows, with pictures of Saints and Angels formed in the colored glass. As a child I had been comforted by their presence, naming off each one like they were close friends. Looking at them now, though, I found no reassurance. They appeared to be staring at me, like they could see inside my soul. Did they know what I did?

I looked at the floor, so I would not have to endure their probing eyes any longer. What had I gotten my self into? I should have known better than to come here. That's all this place was good for anyway - making you feel guilty. Why, oh why had I come here?

The choir had just started its first chant when I heard it - a faint fluttering sound, like birds had gotten inside the building. I looked up toward the ceiling, but there was nothing there. The only thing above me was the painted face of Jesus on the domed ceiling overhead.

As I looked into the eyes of my Savior, I found that I could not tear my eyes away from His face. It was as if He was reaching out to me, but the memories of my sins forced me to resist. I closed my eyes against the tears threatening to fall. The guilt of my past was almost too much to bear, and I was not sure what I should do. Could I let Him in again? Could I let Him see the secrets I had hidden away deep inside? If I did, would he turn His back on me like all the others?

I felt a slight shift in the air around me, and the feeling of someone putting there arm around me. I looked up to see who it was, and I began to shake with fear. Before me was the most beautiful, yet terrifying creature I'd ever seen. A man - with hair the color of a golden sunset, a body made completely of light, and wings whiter than freshly fallen snow stood next to me. He was an Angel.

Looking around, I saw that I was not the only one with a Heavenly Guardian. They were everywhere. I was enraptured by their presence, and awed by their beauty. Many lending comfort, others singing, some simply soaring overhead. No one else seemed to notice them at all. Obviously I was the only one who could see them.

Tears erupted, and I wept into my open palms. "I'm so sorry," I cried. "Please forgive me." Through my pain, came a sense of forgiveness, and I knew that God had forgiven me. The guilt and heartache, I had held onto for so long, had been taken away. I was clean and whole once again.

When I opened my eyes, they were gone. Even so, I felt at peace. I had reached out, and God had answered. I took a chance, and he gave me a gift. It is something I have never forgotten.

Now, every time I enter the sanctuary, I do not have to wait long for that comforting feeling to return. It overwhelms me. I have never seen the Angels again, but I know they are still there, watching over us all. And sometimes, when all is still and quiet, I swear I can hear the fluttering of wings.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 12/15/07
Great descriptions and visuals. There were a few places where this felt forced, but this was a lovely story overall.
Dee Yoder 12/16/07
It IS a gift to see behind the veil of the earthly into the spiritual realm! It's a gift I would treasure also. I especially like the sentences where you describe the angels in the sanctuary.