Stories...

“Ascension…”

The following is a parable I wrote to memorialize a dear friend who passed this week.  She was an avid supporter of my writing, encouraging me to embrace my voice anew last year when I started this blog.  She was also one of my most persistent “encouragers” to finish the story “Nemesis,” messaging me every once in a while to remind me how eagerly she waited for its resumption.  I regret that I did not complete it before she died, though I suspect she will be reading it over my shoulder as I write it, should I ever pick it up again…

I was asked by her daughter to speak at her service tomorrow, and I struggled with what memories most needed to be shared.  It was then that I decided to write this story.  I could not imagine a more fitting way to honor our friendship and what she meant to me, than to write her her own story.  

Perhaps I will read this tomorrow at her funeral.  Any thoughts or comments?

***     ***     ***

“Ascension…”

Once upon a time…  A girl child was born.  She was birthed into a world devoid of color and light, and her heart grew heavy because of it.  A dense fog enveloped her village at all times, stealing all the colors away, leaving only shades of grey to consider.

Disappointed with this world she knew, she turned to the villagers and asked: “where are all the colors in this world?  They must be around somewhere…”

“No, child,” she was told.  “There are no colors here.  Best accept it like we have.”

“But…  What about beyond our village?,” she persisted.  “Are there colors out there?”

“No, child,” the villagers responded.  “Everything beyond our village is the same.  Best settle down and accept your place among us…”

But the little girl was not satisfied with that response.  She wanted more.  She wanted light, and color, and fun!  “One day,” she promised herself, “I will leave this place.  And when I do, I will search the whole world until I find the colors I imagine!”

So it was that when she came of age, the young woman left the place of her birth and set out to explore the world.  Armed with nothing but stubbornness and a conviction built on dreams, she stepped outside her village for the first time…

Initially, she was disappointed to discover that the villagers were right; everything outside her home was cast by the fog into the same drab shades of grey.  But unable to accept she might be wrong, she pushed onward, still convinced there must be something more enjoyable to see, somewhere…

She had many adventures as she wandered the world beyond, but none led her where she wanted to be.  Finally, exhausted and disheartened, she sat down upon the cold, damp earth and cried.  She cried until there were no tears left within her.  She cried until there were no ambitions left within her.  And when all was silent and empty within, she surrendered completely, accepting her failure…

But in that very moment, a miracle occurred, when a single shaft of sunlight broke through the perpetual fog, and lit the area around her.  She might have missed it in her grief had there not been a tiny pebble beside her that caught the sun’s light and reflected it in a spectrum of color.  So startled was she by that flash of light and color, that she hardly noticed the warmth flooding her heart, filling the emptiness within.  But that warmth was enough to get her on her feet again, and moving forward, armed this time with a tiny pebble she would name Faith…

And so her journey continued, day after day, step after step…

Until one day she noticed, by the tiredness in her limbs and the shortness of her breath, that the ground had begun to rise.  Eagerly now, she moved on, certain at least of the direction she must travel – up…

She clambered and climbed.  Some days were easier than others.  Some were nearly impossible to bear.  The slope shifted between gentle and steady, to steep and impassible.  But she faced every obstacle.  She continued to grow.  And when she lost her footing and slid back down the slope a ways, she would rest, take out her pebble Faith, and renew her commitment to this journey…

Until one day she became aware that the fog was less dense here, and the light somewhat brighter.  She rushed on, convinced that something remarkable lie just ahead!  And so it did…

For without warning, or prelude, or commentary at all, the woman broke through the last wisps of fog, to find herself standing near the apex of a mountain.  And here the sun was shining brightly!  She turned around to see where she had come from, and realized she had been born in a deep valley, steeped in clouds, and hidden from the world above.

But here on the mountain top the trees and grass were green…  So many shades of green, she could not begin to name them all, though she certainly tried, laughing all the while.  The rocks were shades of brown and grey, but there was not a dull or drab one to be found, as they all sparkled in the sun.  The sky was a blue so vivid that it simply took her breath away….

Mesmerized by the color and light surrounding her, the woman sighed deeply, releasing all of the doubt, frustration and disappointments her life had been riddled with.  And by doing so, her heart became light at last, light enough that she drifted up off the mountain, spreading newfound wings to catch the gentle breeze.  And allowing the Joy to carry her away, she set off to explore what lay beyond this hidden valley…

And as she drifted off, a small pebble fell down upon the earth, to settle neatly beside so many other sparkling rocks; a testimonial for all who followed, marking this moment, this life, this beautiful soul…

Rest in peace, Marsha…

 

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