Creative writing piece I am working on… some of you have read this before. I made some changes.
by Michelle Vera
I'd never been in the home before. As I walked the halls, I could hear the music playing through built-in speakers. I felt at peace while also wondering if I'd get caught in this home and thrown out onto the street. What am I doing here? What do I think I'll find?
As I walked down the halls, I realized it was the most beautiful home I had ever seen. The walls were white with a rustic look to them. In fact, it was a look I would choose. I noticed several paintings that looked like art I had created throughout my life. I came upon pictures that looked like my family at various stages through life. Surely someone I knew lived here. But who?
I continued until I came upon a room that looked inviting. Floor to ceiling bookshelves lined the outer perimeter of the room. Books from all points in time, for all subjects, sat upon the shelves as though they were asking me to open them. Of course I obliged. I did not want to be rude. I sat in the middle of the room and began reading several books. Time escaped me and I realized it was now late morning. Certainly someone would be awaking and would be able to tell me why I was here.
I left the room and found another down the hall. This room was filled with awards and trophies, degrees and diplomas, resumes, published articles, and pictures of me with people from around the world. I stepped closer to view each one, trying to understand why someone would have all of this stuff that spoke of the honors I had received and the accomplishments I had achieved. In each picture, I was shaking the hand of someone who was smiling as I offered them a check. Each amount was more than I would earn in a year. Each person was smiling. The accolades spoke of a person who sounded like me but obviously had much more time on her hands, because I could never do all the things this person had achieved. Could I? It was pretty clear I was in the home of my twin and she was pretty amazing. She had accomplished things I only dreamed of completing.
My heart began to ache as I realized while looking around this room that it was clearly divided. One side of the room contained all of the degrees, awards, trophies. Displays of accomplishment for someone who was driven, probably did not have much time for friends or family, and most likely sacrificed much to reach these great heights. The other side had the pictures with smiles, the accolades of helping people, and published articles about church revival and how Jesus was calling the church to be a people who loved others and reached out to those in need. How could one room show such different worlds by displaying the same items: memories of accomplishment?
I left the room with a heavy heart wondering a few things: How did I never know I had a twin? Why were the names on all of the awards and publications missing? Why was I feeling so sad about viewing someone else’s life? This person had accomplished wonderful things and seemed to be doing very well. But I felt emptiness in my spirit. A heaviness.
I found a beautiful ballroom beyond the bedrooms and study. It was decorated as though a wedding would be occurring soon. Everything in the room was just as I would choose for my wedding. It was very beautiful and yet very simple. This contrasted the rest of the house. The walls seemed to be made of gold, which appeared to make the rustic look while it gleaned through the white paint. There was a sweet aroma that made me want to close my eyes and drift back to sleep. The music was relaxing and caused you want to be swept away. I continued to walk to see if I could locate a couch. Surely a home like this would contain a couch.
I came upon a dining room that was elegant and wonderful. I wandered in and took a seat at the table. I drew my finger around the table setting's fine china. As I pushed my chair back to arise and enter the living room, I noticed a person standing in the doorway looking as though he was waiting for an invitation. Why would the owner of this home wait for me, a stranger, to invite him in? I went to speak and he silenced me politely.
"I have been waiting for you, my child."
"Me? Why were you waiting for me?" I replied. I was taken aback when he went to speak again and came out of the shadow.
"I have been knocking while you have been walking around, but you would not let me in."
"Knocking…I did not hear any knocking."
"You were too busy looking around in awe, being busy, and trying to accomplish your task of finding a place to rest."
"Come into the light and show yourself, as I do not know who you are."
As he stepped out of the shadows and entered the room, I fell to my knees. Jesus? Standing in front of me? How was this possible? Why did I not recognize Him? Where was I and what was going on? I needed answers and I needed them quickly…and it was clear I was only going to be able to ask one person.
“Lord? Is it really you?”
“Yes, it is I.”
“How did I not recognize you and where are we?”
“This is your home that I have prepared for you. You did not know this because you have been so busy trying to be successful that you have forgotten me and left me behind.”
“I did not forget you, Lord. I just haven’t had much time to sit and talk with you. I pray to you every day and I go to church each week.”
“Yes, those are true statements. However, you have not allowed me to speak to you. You have lived these past years as though I were a drive thru attendant. You provide your order. I come through for you. You say ‘Thank you’ and go on your way.”
“Oh it hasn’t been like that. Surely I have taken time for you. Remember that morning.”
“Child, relax. Take a seat at the table again. May I come in and dine with you?”
“Of course. Of course. This setting is so beautiful. This house is amazing. But how can it be mine where there are pictures and articles and things I don’t recognize?”
“You are about to make a change in your life. I am about to come powerfully and shift your priorities so you can focus on me and the life I have destined for you.”
“You mean that is me giving checks to people? Those are my articles about the church loving our communities? Those are accomplishments I could only dream of.”
“Oh, but you have not dreamed in a long time. You have been so busy running from place to place, task to task, activity to activity, that you have not had a dream within you for a long time.”
“I do think you may be right about that.”
“Oh, I am. But tonight that changes. Tonight you get to dream again, revive that child within you who is begging to be released and fulfill her destiny. Allow your dry bones to dance again and release that inner child. Become who I have created you to be. The choice is yours. This table is set and is always here for you. You may come any time and dine with me. You may walk through the house and organize, add, and remove things as you see fit. You can rest in the bedrooms, linger in the living room, bask in the music of the ballroom, or simply dine with me here in the dining room. The choice is up to you.”
I was speechless. How could it be that I never knew this was here? How could I have missed such an obvious place of love, freedom, and joy? We continued to dine and talk. At times during the meal, I laughed. Other times I cried. As I sat there, the heaviness lifted from my heart and I knew I was home. I did not want to leave this place. I felt so peaceful and rested. Completely rested, which was something I had not felt in years due to the demands of my work. It was clear what I had to do.
The alarm rang, startling me as I grabbed the front door knob. I shook my head. I was lying in my own bed, within the walls of my bedroom where I had gone to sleep the previous night. My daughter was shaking me, “Mom! Please wake up before I break your alarm!” I was dreaming? I had not really wandered through a mansion made just for me? I wanted to go back to sleep!
“Mom, may I ask you a question? I heard you talking in your sleep and you noted that you wanted forgiveness for putting things in front of Jesus and your family. I want you to know that I love you and I know you have done what you have had to do to support us.”
I could feel the tears falling down my cheeks. I hugged her. I knew what I had to do and today was the day I would do it. Today was the day I was going to make the changes I should have made years ago. The conversation at the table was going to change the rest of my life.