Metros, Mirrors & Mutts

*This was a story that was written for entry into the June Storytelling Sessions conducted by Ekari and her team. The theme was “cold”. More about her at http://www.ekariwrites.com or on Facebook @ Ekari Mbvundula – The Writer.*

The wind whispered past him as if mourning , in its own way. Its whisper not being understood it instead, kept trying to push him down from his vantage point where he could clearly see the two sides collide in battle.

Shepherd remembered a time when the worst of their problems were loadshedding and “blood suckers”. How fast it had all gone downhill.
Our nation was given funds to accelerate our renewable energy generation but the greed of our leaders took priority and before we knew it we were put under interdict for being a danger to the planet. Meaning whoever wanted to attack us had full rights to do so. Private companies came through with their mercenary armies and took over large portions of land to set up MetroSanctuaries (a fancy for what was once called Smart Cities).

Some surrendered and lived in the Metros. The comfortable solution. You got a house, a job based on your bio and social data profile, and a Trace. The implant that allowed you to get notifications, communicate, download limitless media on to your glasses or DLDs. However, privacy was a myth. So was free choice because the Trace put you online to the Hive Mind.
“Only fundementalists have something to hide.” That was the argument that justified getting a Trace. A Trace also gave you a glowing scarlet ring around your pupils.
Mirrors were outlawed. Cameras and screens took their place. Because mirrors could switch off a Trace for a few moments. Those few moments offline the Hive Mind were enough for anyone to be a “threat”.

Others rose up, trying to take back the land by force. Calling themselves Ghosts. They went in with old weapons. Bombs, guns and machetes Vs. Laser Turrets, drones, and UV Blades. The Ghosts would have success in getting to the Metros and causing havoc but they hardly ever gained land back for long.

Then there was Shepherd and his crew. The ones from Smyrna, the roaming city in the mountains. He turned around to look at his “family”.

On one knee petting his Bulldog with his huge left hand, was the one who had proven his determination to be free by cutting off his own arm to cast off his Trace. Bongani.
Sitting next to him, fidgeting and tweaking the bionic arm she had built for him was Humayra. Her innovations had helped them escape the Ghosts on many missions and avoid Metro drones. Her Greyhound had a spanner in his mouth waiting to be told what tool to get next.
With the usual serious look on his face, sack slung over his shoulder, his Terrier digging at the ground next to him was the ex-Ghost, One Wire. When he opened his mouth it was either to eat or say something a little crazy. His serious face often left you to wonder whether he was being serious or not. One Wire’s suspicious gaze was cast on the figure seated next to Shepherd.

Small, agile, very intelligent and quick to learn. Scary how they found her. She had walked out of a Metro on her own accord but she couldn’t remember what had driven her to get off the Hive Mind.
Her nightmares would tell where battles were going to take place. In her sleep, she would expose the tactics of the Ghosts and the Metro army. Shepherd called her Tumi. But it was Tumi’s eye that was suspicious. One of her eyes had that scarlet glow as if she had a Trace but Humayra had continuously proved that her Trace was offline. One Wire was openly wary of her.

Tumi stood up.
“Now! You will be able to awaken many if you go now.”
Humayra gave her tools to her greyhound. “Just in time.”she chimed
Bongani stood to full height and flexed his bionic arm. It hummed to life as he clenched his fist.
One Wire put the sack down, opened it and threw the balls at his companions. They were about the size of tennis balls. Each of them caught their’s with ease. One Wire paused before tossing one at Tumi. She fumbled when she caught it and she accidentally activated it.

The ball opened into a large shield. Its size reminded Shepherd of those old satellite dishes. It helped shield from the fiery lasers of the Metro army but unlike the matte black shields of the Ghosts, these shields had a polished surface, like mirrors. These were their weapons to set some people free.

Shepherd opened a hatch in the ground and whistled. First, silence. Then one bark and the patter of many paws. Several muddy dogs came rushing out the hole. The last one had a leafy branch in her mouth to show that they had successfully made a tunnel to the Metro. The dogs that had been replaced by RoboDogs were good for something.

“Tumi, today you come with us.” Shepherd said.
“Why?”she asked wide-eyed.
“Because, as the Old Book says, these are the last days. And the love of many has grown cold. Trying to impose their will on others, each side calls freedom. Fighting darkness with darkness. But we are sent to reflect light. To offer choice to people inside the Metro. Switch off the Trace for those few seconds and maybe they will see what they have become and come to Smyrna. To kill the Trace. Not kill the tracked. For what use is a land that has swallowed innocent blood?”
“No. I mean, why now?”, Tumi asked.
“Because I believe you are one of us, the Children Of Light in Darkness.”
“COLD!” Came the untied response from the others.
“Shouldn’t that be COLID?”, Tumi asked.
“Technically, yes.” Shepherd smiled determinedly at the city. “But what fun would that be?”
Shepherd looked up to the sky. “Prosper Your servants this day.”, He asked earnestly.
He jumped into the tunnel and pulled Tumi in with him.
One Wire shouted after them.
“Who knows? Maybe today, you could earn yourself a puppy!”

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A Branch In The Tree

*This was a story that was written for entry into the Storytelling Sessions conducted by Ekari and her team. This was the first session my story had been accepted. More about her at http://www.ekariwrites.com or on Facebook @ Ekari Mbvundula – The Writer.*

Based on The True story

If you want to hear this story we must start from the beginning. And in the beginning we must disabuse our minds from two thoughts. You may not like either of them, but obviously (you being here) you like to hear stories so I will just use your love for stories as an excuse to tell you some uncomfortable truth.

First of all. Reality and fate are not married. That is to say, they are not one. While fate is a future that seems to ignore the freedom of choice that is inherent in all of us, reality says that our future is determined by our choices. By our free will. Let me explain. We have all come to a fork in the road, that point where we have to make a decision. Imagine if you had gone right instead of left. If you had said no instead of yes. If you had stopped instead of raced ahead. Imagine how different the future would have been.

If you don’t quite understand this, in the very least see this story as a letter from another reality. A story from the turn to the right.

Second uncomfortable truth. Love is not an uncontrollable emotion. Love far surpasses a mere emotion that can’t be helped. Love is alive. True love is an intelligent decision at the end of the day. Comparing love to lust is like comparing the mbaula to the matchstick. Yes, they all have flame but wind extinguishes one and invigorates the other. This is uncomfortable because true love is not all sugar coated. And this is a true love story so forgive me if it does not drip honey.

Our story starts in the garden. The birds are singing their carols through the warm, sweet scented air, the kind of fresh air we don’t get anymore. The rays of the sunshine filter through the tree canopies and each blade of grass that bathes in the glow of the sun radiates like precious jade. But the warm and vivid atmosphere is broken by the excited footsteps.

He could feel her before he saw her running towards him. They were connected like that. She was another part of him and every time she would come over to him he would fall for her all over again. He held himself back from turning around to see her coming just so he could surprise himself again. Just when he could hold back no longer, he turned around.

She was beautiful. Almost as if she were crafted from stardust and maple syrup and held together by the notes of a symphony. You could see the light in her eyes. That illuminated intellect shone forward before she even spoke a word and yet she was still so happy to learn. Her smile beamed with joy. A light that was only surpassed by the robe of light she wore. A robe like his own, only more… more… just more. He sometimes wondered what she saw when she saw him. Did he bring her as much joy as she did to him? Oh she was such a sight to behold. At least she was. For this was not the sight he saw now.

She was still beaming, bright, joyous, but something was wrong. It was first in her eyes. Like a beautiful palace with a broken glass window. And then as she came and stood right in front of him he couldn’t feel her warmth, actually it was a little cold. She wasn’t wearing her robe. Then a shiver went down his spine as he saw what was in her hand. He recognised it immediately.

“No. No! Eve. What has been done to you? Please don’t tell me you ate…”
“My eyes have been opened. I chose to open my eyes.”
“But you shall surely die!”
She laughed a little, it still had a melody to it but it was different. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
“That’s what I thought. But obviously….”
She smiled and turned around in front of him.
She was very much alive.
“Here. I brought some for you. Apparently, there was something He was keeping from us.”
She presented the fruit to him, and he brought his hand under her own. Her hands were no longer warm. Her eyes spoke with a deadly glimmer that told him that dared him to step up.

He knew that if he ate the fruit he would die. It wasn’t a question. But he was not ready to live without her. He had to make a choice. Either they die together or…..

He couldn’t complete the thought. He didn’t want to. Maybe it would open his eyes.

Then the thought struck him and before he set the fruit to his lips he looked her in the eyes. He embraced her in his strong arms and dropped the fruit. She went stiff in his arms and let the rest of the fruit she had carried fall on the ground around their feet.

What had she done? The thought made her go limp in his arms. He felt different from her. He felt…. There was no way she was going to be able to stay.

“It’s okay. It’s going to be okay.”

Her heart was beating fast. The air around her stopped feeling electric and she could feel a void opening up in her heart. She had never felt water come from her eyes, not like this. His robe cloaked her nakedness, she felt some relief but she knew what was going to happen.
And as if he could read her mind….

“I will go in your place.”
She pushed herself arms’ length away and looked up at him. He had a calm smile on his face, a resolve she had never seen in him. The joy was not gone but something was wrong. She stepped back and found that his robe had clung to her, had melded to her in restored beauty.

But he was now as she once was. She stepped back in horror and shame. Yes, he still stood tall and majestic but there he was naked with the fruit littered all over his feet.

They both could feel His presence now coming through the garden in the cool of the day. Adam stood his ground between her and He. He felt what he had never felt before. He had always felt such joy when He came around but now….

“What happened? Adam, why are you naked?” His voice was full of love and authority. Like the refreshing waters coming in a mighty torrent.
“She ate the fruit. I know she must have been tricked because You know she loves You just as much as she loves me. It’s not like her.” He looked over his shoulder at her. There were scarlet pearls of sweat marring his spotless brow. The resolve came back to his face. His voice was shaky but sure as he continued,

“Nevertheless. I know You have said whoever eats of it will surely die. And so I have decided that I will go in her stead, if you will accept my life in place of her own.”

storytellingmw

Djinn

*This was a story that was written for entry into the May Storytelling Sessions conducted by Ekari and her team. More about her at http://www.ekariwrites.com or on Facebook @ Ekari Mbvundula – The Writer. This is the unedited version of the story*

When his mother had told him that Father had called him out for a walk Kanu knew it was for something serious. But he didn’t expect Father to reveal his arm.

Father always smiled and even when he did not, he had a joy that was contagious. Kanu knew it wasn’t because of the stuff he owned. If it was father would be that red-faced emoji.

But whenever father said “let’s go for a walk” he got serious and it was time to listen. Kanu expected this on his last night home. But he did not expect this but he eagerly looked on as Father revealed his ever-concealed arm.

The scar was dark, jagged and sunken. It looked like someone had taken a hot iron to his skin and taken it from elbow to wrist. But what was really interesting was the patterns that glowed like broken charcoal embers whenever the moonlight touched the skin.

Kanu gawked for a little bit and naturally brought out his phone. Father snatched it and switched it off. “This is not for social media, Kanu. This is a story between Father and son. Of how a boy becomes a man. About angels, demons, sacrifice, myslef, your mother and your Uncle Terrence.”
“You mean rich uncle Terry?” Kanu said with a scowl. “The one who wouldn’t pay for school, or help out with Grandma, or even help his only twin brother when you struggled?”
“Yes. The same.” Genuinely hurt by the look on his son’s face, Kanu immediately put it away.
“Why do you always protect him? He treats you like you don’t exist.”
“You know how I always tell you to say your prayers and believe that angels watch over you? I think you are old enough to hear why I believe.”

It was on a night like this. A full moon. I was much younger and Terrence and myself were beyond twins, we were friends, if you can imagine that. We stood at the crossroads with the fermented wine and swine bone at our celebrating feet. We couldn’t believe we had summoned a Djinn.
“Don’t you mean a genie?”, Kanu asked.
“That’s what we thought. Three wishes and you are done. We found out that this was different when the suit clad being had us encircled in a seething hot circle made of dancing blue flames. But at one side where the circle should have closed there was another man blocking the only way out.

“Oh. You have more than three wishes, lads.” The Djinn said, “You have an unlimited well of wishes, right here.” He pointed at his chest proudly. “I guess you could call me the man of your dreams.” He looked over at the guy blocking the escape, he gave no acknowledgement of his witty statement.
“Tough crowd”

As long as you have this stone. You can have whatever you like…. At a cost, of course. He said as he touched the dagger sheathed at his waist.
“All you have to do is agree to the three wishes I make of you right now. Negotiable, of course.”

And negotiate we did.

In the middle of that flaming circle the Djinn made his wishes.
The first was easy. He proposed that we give him a 20% cut of all monthly profits we make from then on. We got him down to 10.6% before taxe. We were to place the stone on the earnings and they would get to him.

The second was more sinister. He said whenever we made a wish a relative of ours would have to die. We argued about it for a while. The value of life was the only issue Terrence had with this wish. But one thing made us finally agree. So I said something I am not proud of.
“They took everything away from us when dad died we see no reason why this would be a problem. As long as you agree to leave our mother and sister alone.”
“Agreed.”
He shook both our hands again and the flames grew hotter, the stone glowed in Terrence’s hand but the other being still stood in the escape.

He made his last wish.
“I want the life of Rita.”
The Djinn looked right at me when he said that. My heart stopped as images of Rita rushed through my head. Her smile. The way she laughed while trying to explain things. The way she cared for mother in ways only a lady could. How long she had been by my side through it all.

“Agreed.” I heard a voice say.
I was shocked at Terrence’s response.
“Terrence. No!”
He shook the Djinn’s hand. The Djinn laughed.
“But you both have to agree. After all you are your brother’s keeper.”
Terrence turned to me.
“This is our chance bro. Unlimited wishes for the rest of our lives. We don’t have to live like this anymore. Don’t let one girl get in the way of our success. We can give mum everything she needs and more.
His words bore into my chest. All the possibilities ran though my mind. Unlimited dreams achieved. Success on a silver platter at the cost of his heart. She had been nothing but good to him to the entire family and the only reason I wanted to be a better man.

“No!”
I smacked away the Djinn’s hand and turned to Terrence.
“Give me the stone!”
Terrence gripped the stone in his fist and brought it to his chest.
“Make me.”
The fight that followed was dirty and bloody. Punches were rapidly exchanged to the face. Kicks to the torso. Uppercuts. Blows that floored each one of us in turns. Grappling with each other for what seemed like hours. But I finally stomped on his wrist while he was on the floor, forcing him to let go of the stone.

Just as I was about to toss it into the flaming wall that surrounded us. Terrence pleaded with the Djinn.
“Djinn! Get that stone for me and I will give you more than three wishes. I will give you what you give me limitless wishes as long as I live.”
The Djinn smiled insidiously, stepped over to me with speed that almost seemed like teleportation, grabbed my arm, drew out his dagger.

The blade tore into my arm like it was butter. Both its edges were serrated like a bread knife and the blade made the sound like clattering bones as it vibrated of its own volition. The pain was worse than anything I had ever felt. It was like having a fever and having the breath ripped out of me as he drew the blade down from wrist to elbow.
All I could whisper was, “Help me.”
Then that hand intervened.

The being that had been blocking the escape held the Djinn’s arm stiff from going any further up my arm.
“You know the deal by which you are bound, Djinn.” He said sternly. “You cannot go against free will. You have no right to kill him nor to force him to submit. You can have the other one but this one has chosen the good.”
The Djinn almost seemed sheepish and then smirked. “He still has the stone.”
The being looked at me and sure enough in my bloody hand there was the stone still in my loose grip.
He looked me dead in the eye as he said.
“I know they took everything from you. And that you continued to pray to Our Master and it seemed that He did not hear you. But He has heard you and He has great plans for you. Not just on this earth and not just for a season. There is more to this life than material success and you know this. You know the value of love. You know that the things of value are not the things that are seen.”
Images of Rita flashed in my mind again.

I dropped the stone.

Terrence grabbed the bloody stone and cowered away behind the Djinn.
The being whisked me out of the flaming circle. The last time I saw your Uncle Terrence was on that night with a flaming wall between the two of us and that stone in his hand.

“The angel healed my hand and brought me home but this scar serves as a reminder that there is more to life. I may not be rich. I may not have all the things people desire but I have had peace, comfort and a protection that goes beyond what I can understand.”
He reached out his hand to his son.
“My son. I have nothing to give you. I am not rich. Actually we work extra hard to get by and we have had to deny ourselves of much. But this I give to you and never see it as a weakness.
I offer you the ability to let go. To let go of the hurt others cause you and to trade it for peace. I offer you the ability to let go of the double edged dagger of grudges and revenge and replace it with the shield of faith. I offer you the ability to let go of the heart of stone and replace it with a heart of love. You always have a choice. There is always a way out and I offer you the ability to let go of the easy way and seek the best way.”

The runic writing glowed in the moonlight as Kanu reached out his hand to grasp the hand of the man who had chosen to love, Rita, his mother, over everything that he could dream for himself.
You could almost see the glow transfer from father to son.

Excerpt From ‘Quiet Quickly’

And so she waited for him by the porch.
But when a car pulled up in the driveway it was not his and it was not him. But she recognized him from church. Nice young man.

She wanted to ask the him where he was but he didn’t understand her so it was going to be quite hard to communicate. But the look on her face must have told him what was on her mind.

He just came up the steps and reached out his hand for her hand and gestured toward the car. He had a winning smile but there was something about the smile that made her feel like it was forced. She had learned over the years to read people’s faces. And she knew he was hiding something. Harmless as a butterfly but even the butterfly hides it’s not-so-flighty past.

They got in to the car. And she kept thinking where he was.
Maybe he was just tied up.
Or kidnapped, tied up!
Maybe he had left town.
Running away from her!

She wished she had carried her notepad… He should be able to read. But she was so used to riding with him and chatting along the way that she had left it by her bedside. Ah but she did remember her small notepad. She carried it around so often she forgot it was there.

He couldn’t understand her but at least he could read…. She thought….she hoped. She whipped out her notepad and wrote her question and waited for the stop light so that he would be able to read without distraction and respond.

Meanwhile she also wanted to ask a couple of other questions. Who was preaching this Sabbath? What this guy’s name was ….which was kind of awkward to write because she met him every week at church and he always greeted her with a smile. What was the afternoon programme like? What was playing on the radio? Which most people found weird. She wanted to know what was making the bars on equaliser on the radio bounce up and down. It didn’t look like his music, close but not quite. But if she asked he would probably just feel strange.

She was nervous and she wanted to talk. Yes, being deaf didn’t stop her from feeling the silence.

​A Letter From The Pulpit

The church was packed from the front to the back. The crowds had been done with praising the name of LORD. The songs had swayed the multitude into an excitement an anticipation. And now they all awaited as the preacher was about to step out and speak. The song leader backed away into a seat and the pulpit stood empty. The spot light shone down on it as if an angel was about to descend with a message direct from God.

But there had been some nervous enrgy in the front as the leaders fidgeted and poked each other. They had walked in and out of the service with phones to their ears and cowls on their faces.

Finally the pulpit had an occupant. But it was not who they expected.

Where was the Pastor? He was nicely dressed and all but he was not the Pastor.

"I bet you are all wondering where the Pastor is."
He coughed, cleared his throat and looked at the front row of leaders and off to the side where undoubtedly there were more leaders gesturing at him to delay or just stop.
He determined to speak on.

"Well, he left a letter and I intend to read it. And while it may not be an epistle, I think it wise that it be read."

There was a dull hum of confusion from the crowd but they did not want to miss one word of the letter so as the voice read out the words the crowd hushed.

"My beloved church. And whoever happens to find this letter.
If you are reading this letter, as you can see, I am not in attendance today. It means I have finally gathered the courage to leave.

I could no longer tell the lies. I could no longer give you a sense of hope when I myself did not believe what I was preaching."

The narrator deliberatley, quickly carried on so that the crowd would stay listening. But you could hear the shock and the jaws drop in surprise.

"It is not that I do not believe in God. No. I believe He is and that He loves each and everyone of us very much. I believe that He sent His Son to die for us and that He lives now and that He is coming again to redeem His own.

This I know to be true. But it is everything else that I can't seem to continue to tell you.

How can I continue to tell the people that God is love when I see the joy that comes from every time I say you will recieve a double portion. 

Or every time I say come recieve your blessing and I see you scramble over each other to be the first, striving with each other. When I hear Christ say He who is greatest would be a servant.

Not that I do not believe God blesses. But his blessing extends far beyond material wealth. And if I told you this, I know many of you would leave.

I see it in myself and in you, my beloved. The need for self-gain. The need for the next service to be more exciting than the last. If I was to shout to this crowd about a holy life, a life like Christ's this mega church would become as empty as a tomb.

For the past couple of weeks I have been struggling with the voice of Jesus from the gospels. The picture of Him at Gethsemane. Would He struggle so much just so that I can use Him as an excuse to oppress or to take advantage of your pocket? As an excuse for you to continue to live as you please and not as God pleases and therefore live abundantly. A life content in Jesus.

His cross shows me the true character of God. I can no longer tell you about a love that is equivalent to a sugar daddy.

God has spoken to me and I thank God through Jesus Christ it is not about who you are going to marry or some money that has miraculously appeared in your purse.

He has shown me His matchless charms on the cross and that now He talks on behalf of me, for my salvation. How can I not go and cry out, Prepare the way of the LORD. For He is coming!

If I was to tell you this I know the smiles on your faces would disappear. And I couldn't bring myself to do it. I know I would have dampened your excitement.

Those who want to find me will fail. But those who wnat to find what I have found, look to His Word, look to His Bible. Pray to Him. Seek Him while He may be found. Because this world will not last forever.

He has searched my heart and I am glad I can not fool Him. He has bid me to go and I go.

Please, beloved forgive my decption. i have lead the sheep of His pasture away. But if you are willing (at least some of you will be after your wrath has subsided), turn to Him. He will in no wise cast you out.

Signed
Your former Arch Mega Apostle
Now a mere sinner saved by loving grace."

A few hours later the arena stood empty. The pulpit had one corner chipped off in the babel that ensued but it stood, silently intact.

One solitary figure, seated, stunned in contemplation. You hold your Bible with tears in your eyes as you read just how deep the Father's love is for us.

It fills you more than any worship service ever has.

“Over My Dead Body”

God was accused of being harsh of being unfeeling and that’s why He had rules. To be a tyrant to lord it over those He supposedly loved. Who, if left to themselves, would do even greater things. So God was asked to change His rules to accommodate for this and He said, “Over My dead body.” So some of those He “loved” broke the rules anyway and convinced others to do the same. And God could no longer have them safely in His home so they got kicked out and death came between them and God.
“Just change Your rules so that they can be united to you again.”
And God said “Over My dead body”
And obviously those who accused Him said, “Behold the Tyrant! He needs His rules. He will not change them because His rules are the only thing that keep Him safe. He does not know what it is like having to keep rules that can not be kept.”
So God said, “These rules can be kept. Watch.”
And He came down to those He “loved”, became one of them and lived with them and lived day by day according to His rules for 33 and a half years. The whole universe watching Him. He didn’t stumble, even when tempted over and over. He deliberately stayed Himself. Till it seemed like His rules were part of (if not His whole) character. And it looked great. He healed. He prayed. He laughed. He cried. He lived. Free. And those He “loved” started to see….love. They wanted to live like Him.
So much for “these rules can’t be kept.” 
Fine, but the ones he “loved” hadn’t kept them. So death still had to remain between God and those who wanted to love Him in return. Unless He changed His rules.
So God said “Over My dead body.”
So they said “Oh really?”
As He took the separation of those He loved upon Himself.
And they pushed Him closer and closer to death, something God had never had to subject Himself to. God was a Tyrant so there was no way that He would allow Himself to be subjected to such humiliation, torture and heartbreak. Such divide. He would surely sooner change His rules than do this. The closer He got to death He would eventually change His rules.
But God said “Over My dead body”
And He died taking on the separation and death. And yet, keeping His rules intact.
The refreshing rain of God’s justice, both of heavenly origin, met and like the rainbow lifted high in the sky, God’s character was revealed.
And God said (in a way that I still can not fully comprehend) “I accept My life and sacrifice. Death has no hold on Me. Rise My Son!” And God rose from the grave. Defeating death.
Ultimately saying “My rules can be kept. I have taken on the separation so anyone who wants to love me in return can do so over my dead body and rise again with Me. You can deliberately live day by day on this temporary earth like I did when I was with you so that you can live day by day for eternity in the safety and freedom of My character.”
“But You are a Tyrant!”
“Would a tyrant ever allow Himself to be subjected to death for others?”
“But Your rules can’t be kept.”
“Yes, they can.”
“You can keep them! They can’t!”
“I purchased their freedom from separation and give them the power to live like Me.”
“It’s too much.”
“What haven’t I done?”
“….. Just change Your rules!”
“Why?”
“Just change them!”
“To do so would be to change Myself and remove the safety of love and freedom of life itself.”
“Change the rules!”
“Into whose image should they change? To suit who?”
“To suit those you love!”
“Those who want to love me in return will find joy in being like Me, why would I take that away from them?”
“Change them!”
“To suit who?”
“ME! TO SUIT ME! NOT YOU! ME!”
“Over My dead body.”

4 Ways From Heaven

“You can’t keep doing this to yourself. It can’t be safe.”
“Oh, come on Becky. You say it yourself. Just because we don’t understand it, it doesn’t mean it is meant to hurt us.”

“I said, “HE”. And I was talking about God at the time. This… This… I don’t even know what to call this. I don’t think it’s from God, though.”

“Where does it say that in your Bible?”

“….”

“Listen. If it makes you feel any better, I will only do this when necessary.”
She looked at Becky with her hands on her shoulders as if she were waiting for approval but they both knew she was just doing that out of courtesy, she was going to do it anyway. And they both knew Becky was not going to give her approval either.

Slipping her hands off Becky’s shoulders, she stepped back and closed her eyes and got into the dreaded position.

She stretched out her arms as if she were sincerely reaching for the walls of the garage. As usual, her arms would start to shake from the effort and the heavy breathing followed. Then came the part Becky did not understand. The divide.

It was like watching a rift in space. The air around her would ripple and the ground under her feet would shuffle. Then where there was one person standing, there, right in front of her eyes would be four of her flanking each other. All looking exactly the same. The same clothes, the same stance, the same smirk of success on their face… or faces?

But Becky could tell which was the original because that was the one that would breathe the heaviest and collapse into her arms as the others took off in other directions.

“Don’t worry, I will be back for you.” They all said in unison. More to herself than to Becky.

It was always like this. Her closest friend would ‘divide’. She would climb the corporate ladder, be the super socialite, and the perfect take-home girlfriend/wife-to-be all at the same time. But nobody knew about this side. The side that Becky had to nurse. The one that was supposed to be pursuing God.

The one who would barely have strength to walk on her own. The one who would have outbursts and mood swings between barely being able to eat. And Becky was the one who had to deal with this side of her, and she feared to think this was the real her.

When this all started she was actually scared, they both were. Nobody is supposed to be able to physically do this. And she only used to ‘divide’ in two. And Becky wouldn’t have to take care of her, actually it seemed like she could now read and study and teach Becky one or two things. Becky actually began to envy her. But then she met Dylan and she had to ‘divide’ again.

That’s when the cracks started to show. And Becky tried to tell her but she said the ‘dividing’ helped her cope with life.

That she could be a better version of herself and literally be so much more.

Plus she was still pursuing God, granted, a lot less now since ‘dividing’ took alot out of her. But she was still keeping up.

Then Becky saw the shift when she hit four. She didn’t have to do this to herself. She seemed to do it for kicksor just to release stress. There was no need to be the super socialite she had become. She said she enjoyed it and that it would be fine but obviously it was taking more out of her than she thought. And the pursuit of God was a thing of the past now.

Becky would sit and nurse what remained of her. Try to read her scripture since she seemed to not be able to study for herself now. But it would always end with an outburst.

When the others would return they would each come back with their own adventures… and scars. They didn’t have to deal with the downs that was up to her and Becky.

Becky watched as her closest friend became more and more in everyone else’s eyes and yet become less and less. Only hoping that somewhere along the way she would realise that ‘dividing’ only proved to destroy the one life she has.

“If only you would pursue God first, He would direct your path. You would not have to ‘divide’. You would have one purpose, one goal and along with it, fulfillment. That is to worship the One True God, Who loved you enough to sacrifice Himself for you.

Yes, sure you won’t be able to do everything at once. Maybe that’s because you don’t have to. You only have one life. Why would you want to live it having to faces, let alone four!? You only need One.”

*Yes, I know a strange story. A little sci-fi-ish but I write this with the idea that ‘dividing’ could mean anything that we put between ourselves and God (work, addiction, ministry, fear, society, make-believe). When we try to live multiple lives and facets the enemy will constantly keep us busy with those facets until we lose sight of God. Don’t let it happen. You may end up hurting yourself and those who seek to love you, including God, Himself. What good is it for us to run ourselves through, gain the world and lose ourselves and eternity? Lose yourself in God and you will find more than just who you think you are. But who you actually are… and real life.*