"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow." ~ Helen Keller

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Short Story For You - "A Word to the Wise"


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Dear Readers,

It has been quite some time since I shared any of my stories with you. My blog posts lately have just been musings on life and my ramblings. Well, here are some fictional ramblings that I hope you enjoy. Nothing preachy, just a little story I did for writer's group I am in. After reading it, I realized there was a bit of a Thanksgiving message in it. 

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving!!  :-) 

"A Word to the Wise"
By Chris Janzen

I know my time here on earth is fleeting.  Every day I get closer to flying away from here. But while I’m here I’m determined to fulfill my destiny, and to be a blessing to others.

When I was born in the spring I was so tiny. No one would have guessed I would blossom into the object of beauty I am now. People often stop and stare at me. They carry on about how gorgeous I am, and oh the smiles of wonder that light up their faces when they see me and my friends in our finery. 

It’s been such a good life. I know I’ve achieved the purpose God had for me. I’ve grown and changed a lot, with His help. In these last few days as my friends have been leaving me, one after the other, I’ve had a chance to reflect. 

I remember that day back in the spring, before I was even here. My family looked up at my tree and thought it was dead. There was talk of chopping it down.  Thank goodness for the mother, who told her husband, “Let’s just give it a little more time before we do anything we’ll regret.” A few weeks later I peeked out, green and shiny, a sure sign my tree wasn’t a goner. Then some of my friends started popping out too.

Oh the rejoicing of the children when they saw the green leaves starting to fill in our oak tree! “Look mama! Look daddy! I told you he wasn’t dead!! He just needed more time!!” Yep, I guess you could say I’m a late bloomer.  I don’t think that is such a bad thing, as long as you bloom some time! And bloom I did, all summer long. 

The children would brush by me as they scurried up the tree, dangling from its sturdy limbs, then seeing who could climb the highest.  Then one day their daddy came out with a big rope. I was nervous! Wasn’t sure what was about to happen. He threw that big rope over the largest, strongest branch, then from a ladder tied a big knot in it. Then..do you know what he did? He tied an ugly rubber black circle to it. I thought it was just sheer tackiness.  But then, out came the children, squealing and giggling. They climbed on that strange object and swung and twirled and had the biggest smiles I had ever seen! Tacky looking or not, anything that makes those kids that happy has to be a good thing. What fun they had on it throughout the summer days, twirling, swirling, and giggling. 

On especially nice days, the mama would bring a blanket out and spread it under our limbs. They would all share a feast and then snuggle up against the big, welcoming trunk and read and read for what seemed like hours. I loved hearing those stories, each one so different and entertaining. Often the children would fall asleep, their head resting on their mother’s lap. The look of contentment on the mother’s face as she stroked their hair is an image I treasure. 

There were hard times too. In September it rained hard and the wind blew so fiercely some of our neighboring trees lost their limbs in a mighty crash. We grieved for the loss of the old timers, but they had enjoyed many days in the sunshine, and it was their time to go.
Now I’m one of the old timers, and it’s almost time for me to go. But I purposed in my heart when those limbs were lost, that I would live every day to the fullest, and bring as much beauty and joy to the world as I possibly could.  

My green started to give way to yellow and gold, then orange, and now a brilliant fiery red. Soon I will turn brown and it will be my time to fly away. Where am I going? Well, don’t you worry about me.  All my brothers and sisters and friends will gather together around our beloved tree and keep him warm this winter, protecting his roots. Then we, like everyone, will return to the earth, where we originated. 

It is a wonderful blessing to be a part of the cycle of life and beauty. When I die, I know I am laying down my life for a reason. Next spring, new baby leaves will spring forth, encouraging those who have endured a long, cold winter. They will give joy all summer long and then thrill and delight those who gaze upon them in the autumn. They too will follow in the steps of all their ancestors when it is time, and let go, their death making way for new life. 

I’ve heard that many people are afraid of dying. But you all aren’t that different from us. You are put here on earth by our Creator for a purpose. You have a limited time to do you work and accomplish what he put you here for. 

It is easy for us, but I understand that people have many different purposes and callings. But, when your time is through, just like us, you will fly away to a better place, leaving wonderful memories in the hearts of those you have inspired and delighted. The ones who love you will be sad when you go. But perhaps in the spring, or the summer, a new life will come forth, and your friends and family will think of you and smile. They will remember your true colors and all the joy you gave them. That is what I hope for myself, and my wish for you. 

Well, it’s almost time. I’m so tired. I’m going to let go now, the last of my group. Winter is here. But don’t be sad for me, and don’t be sad for yourself. Winter is necessary and a part of life.  So is death.  

I am told that it is only when someone or something you love is gone, that you can truly appreciate it. That sounds very wrong to me. I think you should appreciate it now, while it is still alive and you can make your feelings known.  But then, I am just a leaf. You will have to decide that for yourself.  

"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself."
-  William Blake, 1799, The Letters