Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hope (05/04/06)
TITLE: Hope Fulfilled
By Gwynn Turner
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“If only I could postpone it for a little bit,” she thought. “If only I could just pretend the last two days hadn’t happened. If only I could have stuck to the plan I wouldn’t be such a failure.”
Failure. Such a familiar word in Hope’s mind. In her thirty-five years she had rarely visualized herself as anything but a failure. As a child it had seemed she could do nothing to please her father, yet she continued to strive to make him proud. It didn’t matter how many awards she won for her academics, her father had only seemed to notice the things in which his only child couldn’t excel.
Growing up, Hope quickly learned that Daddy expected her to have the same love of sports that he did. He began to take her to ball games when she was just a preschooler. Hope remembered that he got upset with her when she had gotten bored and wanted to leave before the game was over. She realized that it pleased Daddy when she enjoyed the game, so she became very good at pretending.
Hope tried really hard to become a good athlete, but she simply wasn’t good at sports. By the time she had entered junior high, Hope had given up trying to please her father through athletics and began to focus on her studies. “If I can’t be a good athlete,” she had reasoned, “then I’ll be a straight-A student. Then I know he’ll be proud of me.”
True to her word, Hope excelled in academics. By the time she was a freshman in high school, she was at the top of her class. As a senior, Hope was awarded a four-year scholarship to several prestigious universities. But Hope’s passion was art, so she turned down the lucrative offers to accept a lesser scholarship and pursue her dream of becoming an artist.
Hope’s father was quick to remind her that she was making the biggest mistake of her life and that she would live to regret chasing a dream that would lead to a dead end job. So Hope entered art school with Daddy’s failure label already in place. Although she eventually graduated, she never fulfilled her dream of becoming an artist. Instead Hope found a job at a local bank and spent her days wishing her life had turned out differently.
Hope had learned that she wouldn’t ever meet her father’s expectations, and long after his death she was still labeling herself a failure. In love, in money, in looks, and most of all in her weight.
She had struggled with an addiction to food for as long as she could remember. The bobbing scale had never been her friend and Hope had been bingeing and purging for as long as she could remember. Oh, there had been periods of stability through the years, but for the most part she had been in bondage for over twenty years.
And now. Here she stood on the other side of the bathroom door delaying the inevitable - facing the aftermath of the storm of food Hope had gorged herself on over the past two days. She knew when she stepped on that scale the waves of guilt, shame and failure would wash over her like a tidal wave. She knew that when that happened she would be compelled to find a release for that pain. Hope began to turn the knob, but stopped when she “heard” something in her head.
“Hope,” the voice said, “don’t go in there.”
Hope thought she must be losing her mind.
“Hope,” she heard the voice say, “Measuring your worth by that bathroom scale won’t change who you are. And it won’t change how I feel about you. I love you Hope.”
Something deep within her stirred and she had a vague sense of connection with this voice. It had to be God. But why was He talking to her? And why now? Hope couldn’t explain the overwhelming sense of longing she felt at that moment, but she knew only one thing. She wasn’t sure how to find Him, but she knew He loved her and she knew somehow He had found her.
As Hope turned away from the door, she knew her Father’s dream had been fulfilled.
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