order on the hill

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photo credit: jane doe

her favorite bridge is iconic, a beautiful, majestic work of engineering and design.

when she first moved to the new city, it took her breath away.

she stepped outside the clay hut at night, the bridge before her, soft lights illuminating the green patina.

from the east and the west, drivers climb a steep elevation to get to the entrance of the bridge where they cross over into the city.

at the end of most work days, save for bank and school holidays, heavy traffic climbs the hill to cross the bridge.

the east bound hill has single lane traffic in both directions, but the west bound hill is different.

while one lane of traffic descends the hill toward the freeway, two lanes ascend to the top. these two lanes converge to one lane near the top. a trusty stoplight meets the drivers and manages traffic flow over the bridge.

chaos had ruled these two lanes in rush hour for as long as she’d lived there.

in those days, he drove her to and from work. they often took this route home in the evenings. it took about the same amount of time as taking the freeway.

driving this route had purpose attached to it.

the two ascending lanes were meant to accommodate two full lanes of traffic. spirits of chaos controlled these traffic lanes.

many drivers straddled the dashed lines in the center of the two lanes beginning at the bottom of the hill. their actions reduced the capacity of these lanes, nullifying their intent.

in addition, traffic backed up beyond the safety of the turn lane on the highway below. danger increased exponentially for those waiting to ascend the hill, as well as those simply traveling west on the highway.

it was a bad situation all around.

honking ensued. road rage followed close behind.

the chaos, unrest, anger and selfishness weren’t just influencing other drivers. he was influenced, too.

the weekday commute home was miserable. and some days, it was down right terrifying.

she did what she knew to do. holy spirit helped her.

each night in the car, she released kingdom order into the chaos on the hill.

she released angels to cause drivers to use both lanes as per the original intent.

she blessed the drivers. she released peace.

it got worse before it got better. she kept at it.

on the morning drives to work, they often took the freeway.

he was amazed as she commanded traffic to move at posted speeds, releasing angels into it to do her bidding. it moved.

finally, one evening on the commute home, what she had prophesied over the traffic on the hill became reality.

both lanes ascending to the top were in full use.

the honking was over. the rage was gone.

peace reigned.

the kingdom had come.

(copyright 2017 jane doe)

 

 

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did it get better?

“did it get better after you went back?” the question hit her in the past and right between the eyes.

she answered him without missing a beat. it was an easy question to answer, even in telling the truth.

“no, it did not get better. it got quite a lot worse before it got better, train wreck that i was at the time.”

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photo credit: pixabay

she recalled fond memories, the beach, the mountains, his red porsche, other foggy details. he had been a true friend.

thirty-some years earlier, they’d met at a 7-eleven in pacific beach in san diego. he took her under his wing and looked out for her when her life had fallen apart to an even larger degree. this time, it was just further away from home.

the tipping point had been her parents’ divorce. when that last bubble burst, she ran fast and far, driving across the country on her own at the age of nineteen.

he’d spent time and energy tracking her down the day before, finally sending an email to her boss with her name in the subject line. when the boss asked if she knew so and so, she stopped breathing for a minute. “what?!?!” he asked her again. “what?!? wait. you have an email from so and so asking about me? how did he get your email address?’ he’d played detective on the internet to get a message to her.

she’d last tried to contact him in 2014, but they never really connected then. she knew he was on the east coast now. funny. she was back on the west coast.

she found his profile on facebook. in one moment, she sent him a friend request, and two minutes later, she’d messaged him to call her.

playing detective herself, a google search yielded several photos of him from 2006. he was older, but he still looked great. she was older, too.

two hours later, she was fielding a customer’s question and he called. as her cell phone rang, she saw the area code and knew it was him. she told the customer she’d call him back. answering the incoming call, she almost screeched his name as she pushed the answer button. “david, is it you?!?!?”

for twenty minutes, they played catch up, asking each other questions, laughing, talking. it was delightful conversation, one that kept her smiling long after they ended the call.

the drive home from work was a photo montage in living color, time spent reflecting on what her life had been when he befriended her. she knew she wouldn’t have lived to tell if he hadn’t shown up at the 7-eleven that day.

jesus gave her the whole slide show. as she watched, she shook her head and let out a low whistle. oh, my goodness. he had been a gift of stability when she’d had none.

she saw more redemption in that 6-month time frame than she’d been aware of before. healed fragments returned to her soul, happy to be home again.

holy spirit whispered, ‘ to whom much is given, much is required.’ she nodded, smiling.  she knew about much being required. it was okay, even welcome.

that jesus, he just never stopped looking out for her.

in that tumultuous season, he’d sent help in the form of a handsome, kind italian man with a big heart, an easy laugh and a passion for soccer.

she let the tears of gratitude join her smile. she was so thankful.

thank you, david.

(copyright 2017 jane doe)

through the woods to grandma’s house

the little dirt path through the woods was playful and mysterious.

old cedar trees towered above her, their exposed roots threatening to trip her if she wasn’t careful. she’d stubbed her toes on those roots many times.

the woods sheltered her from the hot sun in summer and frigid winds in the winter. she also escaped the multitude of bats buzzing her head on hot summer evenings.

she walked that little dirt path through the woods to grandma’s house almost daily. she’d skipped, run, laughed and cried walking through these trees hundreds of times as a little girl, a young woman, a teenager and adult.

grandma and grandpa lived in a small two-bedroom house. it was white with salmon-colored shutters and a detached garage. they built the practical abode for themselves after her parents married and she was born.

visitors entering the front door saw the television a few feet in front of them. a coat closet housing extra chairs was immediately on your right with a half-wall to the left, serving dual purpose as a bookshelf on its other side.

the living room furniture included a handsome taupe-colored sofa. its  fabric had a delicate, subtle pattern woven into it. there was also a wooden rocker and matching blue chairs with the same pattern as the sofa.

grandpa’s blue chair was next to the bookshelf, facing away from the large picture window. grandma’s blue chair was a rocker with a matching ottoman. she sat at the other end of the north-facing window. she sat in that chair for endless hours, using the abundance of natural light to crochet doilies, scarves and other wonders made with yarn and a crochet hook.

the back side of their house was more interesting, more colorful, less formal. after visitors wandered the little dirt path through the woods, the sidewalk appeared to guide them to the back door.

most folks walked up the few steps to enter the house this way. the back entry offered a small sink for washing up while the opposite wall offered a strategically placed closet for depositing smelly barn clothes. the basement stairs were straight ahead. several stairs on the right took you up through the kitchen door.

countless meals, cookies and loaves of homemade bread were cooked and baked in the small kitchen. the same number of card games were likely won and lost at the kitchen table. if that table talked, oh, the stories it would tell.

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photo credit: pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

each growing season, grandma tended a massive garden. some years, it was next to a corn field, and some years it was soybeans, depending on the rotation. you’d find raspberry bushes, rhubarb plants, green peas, ground cherries, corn and kohlrabi. grandma had a spectacular variety of good things growing in the dirt.

grandpa could be found there periodically, mostly an unwilling helper. he often got in trouble with the tiller when he confused the garden plants with the weeds.

in the spring, summer and fall, they worked in the garden. grandma gave the orders, grandpa attempted to carry them out. it went badly at times. if the wind was just right, you’d hear them hollering at each other across the farm.

the south side of the house sheltered the real jewels: the zinias. she loved and remembered the zinnias grandma planted there each year. bold, brilliant and resilient, these laughing, sturdy flowers lasted deep into the fall until a hard frost took them out each year.

 

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photo credit: pixabay

 

she had always been with these two, it seemed, especially grandma. she could not, in fact, remember ever being without them. their home was her second home only a few steps away. the small house was her safe place, the door always open for cookies and comfort.

she had countless memories of saturday nights spent watching ‘the lawrence welk show,’ eating fried sunfish and playing 500 at the kitchen table.

she watched elvis rise to fame on ‘the ed sullivan show’ and cried listening to wayne newton on the stereo. she had a crush on him. his songs offered love, drawing her in as she searched for more of it.

the fancy taupe sofa was her bed for sleepovers and fun, her sick bed when she was ill. grandma lovingly tucked her in each night she stayed there.

it was hard to reconcile the dichotomy, knowing the same woman who loved her so well was the same woman who cursed her before she was born. there was more to this story than she had been told.

grandma loved her and mothered her. she was constant and reliable. she applied mud to the bee stings, wiped her tear-stained eyes and face, cleaned and bandaged the scrapes and cuts. she put ice on the bruises after the cows kicked her in the barn at milking time. she mothered her. she loved her.

grandma was always there, just like the chocolate chip oatmeal cookies stashed in the basement chest freezer. they weren’t hidden well and disappeared like magic. grandma knew but she never let on.

one day, as an adult, she finally saw what she had not seen before.

father god had given her grandma as her momma.

she cried. and she was so grateful.

(copyright 2017 jane doe)