Saturday, May 10, 2008

"Tarnished Silver"

This is the beginnings of a manuscript that I am writing about my first year living "on the mission field". It wasn't overseas the way I always thought it would be but right in my home town instead. I titled it "Tarnished Silver" because that year I managed to find beautiful treasures in the midst of seemingly worthless heartbreak.


There was an impetuous beauty about her movements and a coarse undertone in her voice. She dressed and acted like a sixteen year old rather than the ten year old I knew she was. She sat on my couch, one hand tugging at her blouse trying to get the too little material to cover her unformed chest. Her long thin legs crossed and uncrossed at the ankles as she voiced her frustrations with life. She cried as she talked about the man who had raped her two years before. I rubbed her back, at a loss of what else to do. Amazingly, in the midst of this I felt a ray of light seep into the otherwise dark and burdensome atmosphere. In fact, a real light was drifting through the open blind and almost seemed to reflect of the child’s blond hair causing the once lifeless strands to shimmer in the sun’s rays. It was then, as I watched something drab and unattractive transformed into something beautiful that I realized what I was holding. The lost and hurting child in my arms was in actuality a wealth of tarnished silver. Worth much to the God I serve, although in her present state she appeared to be more work than profit.

How did I end up with a fortune in tarnished silver sitting on my couch? It was a long hard journey and I was not always the best at following directions. However, the lost treasure in my soul had once caught my God’s attention and he had sought me out. Now, I was finally in the place to help him polish another jewel for his kingdom.


When I was sixteen I decided I wanted to go on the mission field. It wasn’t my original plan. All my life I had planned on two definite things: get married and have lots of kids. Now, suddenly, through some unexpected directions I was realizing a desire for something different. I wanted to tell children who had never heard that Jesus loved them… that he did, so very much.I attacked this new dream much the way I did everything else: with all I had.
By the time I was eighteen I had come to the conclusion that I wanted to support myself financially on the mission field rather than be supported by a church. I focused my attention on earning a living that would basically carry itself. I decided on real estate since both my father and my eldest brother worked in that field. My first house I bought with one of my brothers. The proceeds from the sale of that house paid for a year at Bible College. When I returned home I immediately set my sights on another house. My offer was accepted and I started the dreaded paper work that is involved with buying a home.
Then it happened. I was sitting in a church service and God said, more clearly than I dared admit, to give the house away. I didn’t think it was possible that God would ask me such a thing. I was five short years away from seeing all my plans become reality and that house was the key. Every cent I owned was sitting in a down payment check. But alas, it was true. He would not be swayed from his decision. With trembling, I obeyed. A few weeks later I was signing over the house to a family in my church who didn’t own one.
At the time I assumed that the lesson God wanted to teach me was about His provision. How wrong I was! The lesson wasn’t about provision but about pride. After the house was gone I was back to square one: no savings, living in my parents house without any direction or certain plans. When someone asked what I was doing, I had no answer. I felt people’s disapproval keenly. I literally cringed when people asked me questions and went out of my way to avoid people I knew would. One night while praying I realized that the hardest part about giving my house away was not the money I no longer had, but the answers I could no longer give. My plans had crumbled at my feet but yet, in the midst of that, I felt the Lord’s promise clearly in my heart. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from me.”


Her name was “Becky” and that gap-toothed smile stole my heart the moment I saw her. The pink jacket that was carelessly slung on her shoulders was dirty and useless against he brisk winter wind. I opened the door wider to allow her and her friend into my warm living room but they didn’t come in. “We just wanted to know if we could borrow your shovel.” She asked, nodding toward the orange plastic snow shovel leaning against the porch railing. I nodded my approval and after promising to bring it back the two disappeared around the side of the house.
Two hours later I went outside to run to the grocery store. I noticed the shovel was back in its place and began my trek to the car. Half way there I stopped and looked around then realized what was different. My sidewalks were shoveled as well as a path from my porch to the front door of my vehicle.“Tasha!” Tasha!” Two little voices called my name from across the street. I looked up and waved. “We shoveled your walkway!” They told me, huge smiles on their faces. I hollared back my thank you and still grinning, climbed in my car.


A year after my house had been given away I started working fulltime at Community Bank, N.A. Each day after work I would go for a walk. Oft times I would find myself wandering down the same street. It was known as the worst street in town. The “ghetto” of our tiny village. Every time I walked down that street I was amazed at the amount of children that were playing outside. The adults would sit on the porches and the kids would play on the side of the road. I smiled and waved whenever I went by and the kids always smiled back.
I remember walking down that and praying, “Lord, this is a mission field. They’re all right here, sitting outside their homes. All you’d have to do is move among them. Why doesn’t the church do that?”
One day I walked by a house that had a for sale sign in the lawn. I pulled out a flyer. It was an adorable little house, almost like a cottage, with beautiful gardens in the back yard that sloped down to the river. “See, Lord,” I prayed again, “This would be perfect. You should have a Christian family move in here.”As I walked that street months later I noticed that the for sale sign I had seen was still there. “Lord, I’m serious. You should have Believers live here. Why can’t other people see this opportunity? If I had the money I would move here. But since I can’t, will you please send someone?”


Helen, the ten year old girl who had been raped at eight, touched the keys on my piano and she walked by it. “Do you play?” She asked.“Yes, I do and my roommate Delite does.” I told her, waiting for a response. She didn’t disappoint me.“Will you play something?”I smiled and sat down, playing a random worship song from the stack of music.“I love that. The music makes me happy.” She said.


I was late for a birthday party. I was struggling into my tennis shoes when my dad called me. Biting back a groan I hurriedly finished and rushed down from my room on the third floor. “Yes?” I asked as I walked into the kitchen. My parents were sitting at the table.
“Do you have a couple minutes to come look at something with me?” My dad asked.
“Well, I’m late already. Will it take long?”
“It shouldn’t.”
I shrugged. What was a few more minutes? My parents and I climbed into their Saube and headed out.
“There’s just a house I’d like your opinion on.” My dad explained. I had no idea where we were going so I was surprised when we turned down the same street I always walked on. I was even more surprised when we pulled up in front of the little cottage.We climbed out and the real estate agent met us at the front door. She let us in and we wandered through the tiny house.
After looking over everything my dad asked what I thought. “It’s adorable.” I told him truthfully. Maybe he was thinking of buying another rental house. I could insist that he rent it to a Christian family.My dad was true to his word and we didn’t stay long. As we were driving back home he asked me if I’d like to buy that house. I laughed a little, “I would but I can’t. I barely have six hundred dollars in the bank.” He didn’t say anything more.


Helen and Becky both were laying on the living room floor with me. Candy Land was in the center and they both were laughing hard because I had drawn the peppermint stick and had to go back to the beginning.Delite came through and sat down at the piano. She glanced through the music and started playing This is Life by Laura Woodley. I started singing with her. Eyes can’t see the way you hold me or how I’m hidden in your heart. Minds don’t know all that you’ve told me or how I ache for where you are…Helen jumped up from her spot on the floor and leaned over Litey’s shoulder as she continued. I come in empty and I leave filled. Bring my sickness and I leave healed. Broken hearted you mend every piece. I come in captive and I leave free…When she finished Helen sighed. “That song makes me cry.”


“Your mother and I will give you the down-payment money.” My father explained to me as we sat looking at the contract that had been drawn up. “You should be able to get the loan in just your name, especially since you work at the bank.” He laughed a little.Before I knew it I was signing papers and pestering my boss to get my loan application filed so a closing date could be set.
Here I was praying for someone else and all the while God was preparing this place for me. I laughed at the irony of it all. The closing date came and the house was officially mine.My friends, Delite and Keturah, agreed to live with me to help with the mortgage and utilities.The first day that the house officially belonged to me I stood outside staring at it for almost a half an hour. Lord, let me make a difference.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Fiction: The story of a girl and her glass heart (rough draft)

The Story of A Girl and Her Glass Heart

Once upon a time in the land of the glass hearts, there lived a young girl. This girl, as all the girls did, carried with her a heart . While she was young it was kept safely on the nightstand by her bed and every night she would look at it and smile. It was so perfect; pure, clear, everything a beautiful heart was suppose to be.
Eventually the time came that her parents gave her the heart to carry with her always. “Be ever so careful!” Her mother warned. “It will break if you aren’t gentle with it,” Her father reminder her. And she was. She kept it cradled gently in her hand as she wandered through life.

When she was still a young girl, no longer a small child yet not yet a woman, it happened. She was sitting there, her heart in her hand, and he walked by. It wasn’t on purpose! It just happened that neither of them were paying attention and when they passed, it fell, swiftly, with a slight “whoosh!” and hit the pavement with a bump. The girl was horrified, the boy never noticed. He had only passed her, after all, and had someplace to be. He heard her cry but thought it was nothing more than offense that he hadn’t stopped to chat.
The girl fell to her knees next to the heart. It was still in one piece but cracks were beginning to show. Picking it up carefully, she held it gently in both hands. She looked around and realized that no one saw. Not a single person had any idea that her heart was broken.

That night she went home, the heart hidden in her hands. Now, I will tell you that just the slightest change of circumstance might have completely altered our story, but things happen the way they will happen. In this case, it happened that the family was very busy that night. When the girl walked in people were bustling about and no one paid her much mind. Her mother stopped, for just a moment, to give her a kiss and ask about her day. But since she was so very busy, when the girl lifted her hands and began to open them to show the broken heart, all she saw was a glimpse of perfect glass and so she said, “What a wonderful idea, my daughter, to keep your heart hidden so carefully with two hands! Now it will never get broken.”

The girl went back to her room and sat on her bed, staring at the broken heart in her hands. She looked at it carefully. The cracks were very real but she realized that if she held it together with both hands, one could not see the cracks at all. In fact, it still looked like it had before. Perfect. She thought of her mother’s words and felt a tear fall. It would be horrible to hurt her mother by showing her the broken heart.
So, in that moment she made a decision and with both hands cradled around the no-longer-perfect heart, she continued through life.

The years passed and the girl was successful. No one had any idea that her heart was no longer whole. Everyone who knew her thought that she had kept it safely hidden in her hands to keep it from breaking but in truth she kept it hidden to keep it from falling apart. The problem with this is that no one really knew what her heart looked like. All they ever saw was the tiniest glimpse whenever she felt safe enough to lift her hands a bit. But it wasn’t enough to really see what it looked like, only enough to show a bit of perfect clear glass.

She couldn’t do much, with both hands being occupied, so she kept mostly to herself. When she did do things, everyone thought she was wonderful because she was so very careful and never was seen dropping her heart or letting others hold it like many of the girls her age. Mother’s would tell their daughters, “Look, see how careful she is! You must be like that. Your heart is meant to be treasured. Follow her example.” Whenever she heard the mothers, the girl would smile. She felt relief. This was, of course, the best way to handle everything.

After awhile she forgot that her heart was even broken. It just stayed so nice in her hands and the only time she looked at it was when she was showing others, so all she ever saw was the perfect part.

Somewhere, during this time, the girl met a man. He was known as the Heart-Healer. A more wonderful man was impossible to find. He was loving and caring, kind and compassionate, and he healed. Oh, did he heal! That was his business. In the land of glass hearts, there were many broken ones, and this man would fix them.

The girl became friends with him because her parents were. He would come over for dinner, many a night. He would spend whole days with just her family. Talking, sharing, laughing. The girl knew he healed hearts, so it is a wonder that she never showed him hers.

The reason, of course, is that by the time she knew who he was, she had forgotten that her heart was broken. She did so many things with him. She let him closer than she ever did anyone else. He was her love.

When she became a woman he began asking her. “Please, show me your heart.” And she would laugh and lift her hands just a bit, enough to show a perfect clear glimpse of glass. He would smile and kiss her forehead, then begin talking about something else.
Time after time, he would ask, and she would laugh and show him a bit more. Never enough to remember that her heart wasn’t perfect but enough to show the parts that were. Then it happened. One night, they were laying outside on the grass, staring at the stars. He sat up slightly, leaned over her and said again, “My darling, please, show me your heart.” She looked at him and whispered, “There is nothing to show.” But he kissed her cheek and whispered in her ear, “You are my love. I need to see your heart.”

Her hands were shaking, but she opened them and to her horror the heart fell apart. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she suddenly remember that her heart was in pieces. “It’s broken.” Was all she could say as she stared at the glass shards that had left scars on the palms of her hands where the edges had ripped into her skin when she had gripped the heart too tightly.
The Heart-Healer, who loved her so much, took her hands in his and began to kiss the cuts and scars. “My beautiful one.” Was all he said.
“It’s broken.” She whispered again. But instead of responding, he began to laugh.
“Yes, my love, it is broken. But I am the healer of hearts.” He took the heart carefully from her hands and held it tightly in his. After awhile she fell asleep and did not awaken until morning.

When she opened her eyes, he set the heart carefully back in her hands. She took a breath and looked. She stared at the heart. It was indeed a heart again, but it was still in shattered pieces just melded back together. “But,” She gasped, “it’s not perfect. I thought you were going to heal it.”
The Heart-Healer smiled at her softly. “Look again.” She looked back at her hands and just then a glimmer of light hit the heart. Usually when light would hit one of the glass heart it would go straight through, but with this heart, the light danced across everything around it.

“I am more than just the Heart-healer.” The man told her. “I am also the Heart-Maker. This, “ He pointed towards her shimmering heart, “is what my hearts are meant to look like.”

“But it’s broken.” The girl said again.

“But, only in brokenness can it truly be whole.” He then reached down and pulled out, for her to see, his own heart. It was glass, just like hers, and it was in shattered pieces, just like hers.

“Heart’s were made to see. Perfect hearts are kept so sacred that no one can really see them. But hearts like these, they can shine light just like they were made to. Wholeness does not come from perfection. Wholeness comes from purpose. There is no purpose in a perfect heart. There is purpose in a broken one.”

The End

Informational Beginnings.

Just a girl, in my twenties, married to a boy. Settled upon a small farm in Northern New York where I attempt to blend the full time work of a farmers wife with part time work at our community bank.
I grew up here and there around the country. Spent a small portion of my life in different countries. Never thought I’d find a man who could make me truly want to marry but I did. Never thought I’d find a man who would be a compassionate leader and a loving husband and know my God AND fall in love with me. But I did.
My extra time I spend writing or attempting to write. Mostly stories about my God. A few children’s stories to fill my nieces and nephews time. Randomly I pull out all the stops and write a piece of strange, bizarre, interesting; but totally irrelivant- poetry or fiction. But mostly I just write about my Jesus… who rescued me. Who set me free. Who brought me light in the midst of darkness. The one who continues to follow me through my confusion and fears even now.