tales2apoint

…stories and poetry to touch, teach, & turn the heart toward truth.


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A False & Futile Reality

I allowed myself, over many years and through many self-serving practices, to create a dreamworld in which I thought I could escape from what I considered undesirable. This was a world where nothing existed except for what I desired. If I chose to remove God from it–which I usually, if not always, did because I envisioned myself as the god–I simply chose to ignore what I knew to be right.

This was my world, and it was my law which was given the illusion of power. I even allowed my world the luxury of believing there to be no consequence for sin. The only sin I declared to exist was that which I did not want, and its consequence was simply to not exist.

In my world, God was the transgressor, because He was the One telling me that what happened in my world–the very existence of my dreamworld even–was wrong. He insisted that I would suffer consequences in the real world–His world–for my rebellion. In stubborn, idiotic incredulity, I simply created counter laws in my world which dismissed his laws. I was a rebel.

As a jealous and selfish little god, I was quite territorial of my imaginative haven of rest. The more God impressed Himself on me–infiltrating every bulwark I raised to protect my little world from His assaulting love–the more desperate I became to protect myself–and my little world–from being removed from my imagined control. The deeper I went into my dreamworld, the longer I could stay and avoid the undesirable truths of God’s holy reality.

Many years later, and only slightly wiser, I began the strenuous and lengthy process of deconstructing my safe haven of denial. I quickly learned that this is very difficult work–nearly impossible. The first step I had to take was to admit, even to myself, that I am a completely lousy imitation of a god. The real God is no longer wrong. I am the one who was wrong all along, and I am needing to readmit that every day.

The things I allowed myself to do with such illusions of freedom in that world are being forced to cease. They do not want to be abandoned…at all! The little god in me–what the real God calls my flesh–still lives under the illusion that he deserves a place of royalty in my heart. He alone believes I owe him some twisted form of loyalty, but what he doesn’t realize is that, compared to the real God, he doesn’t have even half a leg on which to stand.

Even yet, he was the god of my secret world for so long that I sometimes get lost in the real world, and find myself wandering shamefully into my not-so-secret, less-than-private world of secrecy and escape. When this happens, I often find myself bewildered and sickened by my own foolish ignorance. How could I go back to a place that leaves me feeling so miserable? Worse yet, how could I let my flesh be a god to me, when the real God literally gave His life to free me time and time again from all the misery I suffered so long when I would try to hide from the truth?

God’s truth is so beautiful, that it invigorates every inch of me with awe, love, and hope. Even still, that measly old god, called flesh, seeks to preserve every possible claim he can over my old world–my old self. Between his stubbornness and the steady encouragement of his accomplice, the devil–who is at the same time his worst enemy–my little world of selfish pleasures has managed to remain year after year, day after day, haunting me.

It needs to be ended. I am ready. I am desperate for the real world, the one in which the real God is always God, and His goodness and truth are allowed to be alive in the real me at all times.

I am ready for complete sanctification. I am ready to be holy. Dear God, please make the real me emulate the real You. Help me to forever abandon my futile attempts to control. This is my most beautiful dream. This is what You desire. Give me the desires of Your heart.

Amen.

Washed Over Me – Adam Cappa

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Adam is a new artist to me, but already one of my favorites. He seems to have a real heart for life, and it shows in his music. I hope you really catch the lyrics and the story playing through the video. What a beautiful picture of what this life can be like, when we’ve been cleansed!


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What will my next story be about? You decide!

I want to write a new short story…but I need your help!

Please leave a one or two word comment on this post, and I will weave all of the comments into a story! I will need names, locations, activities, personality traits, plot themes, and whatever else you all can give me. We are starting from a blank page.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Follow my blog to see what kind of story I end up posting. While you wait, feel free to read some of my other stories and poems. I’d love to hear what you think!


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Beauty out of Fear

I am cold, not wanting to forget it.

I am tired, not wanting to admit it.

I am used, not wanting to remember.

I am done, but life goes on forever.

I’m afraid, crippled by reality.

I’m wounded, a war-ravaged city.

I’m controlled, no one’s but my own.

I’ve begun, but I’m all alone.

I’m in pain, but lies disguise the truth.

I’m trouble, as foolish as my youth.

I’m a fool, but have chosen nothing better.

I am dead, smoking gun and scribbled letter.

I’m bitter, not wanting to forgive them.

I deny, but shame is still my anthem.

I’m guilty, but humility is weakness.

I am lost, but love this wilderness.

I worry, but nothing will improve.

I’m stubborn, my pride won’t let me move.

I chose this, but how do I unchoose?

I would win, if I knew how not to lose.

I give up, no reason to go on.

I am new, the old ‘myself’ is gone.

I’m redeemed, I know now why I’m here.

I’m broken but fixed, beauty from fear.


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Story of Hope, Chapter 11

A soft sniffle broke through Olly's weighty thoughts as he walked with Nina away from Jamin. He looked down at his daughter's lowered head. In the corner of his eye, he noticed a gloved hand reach quickly and silently up to wipe something from her eyes. Nina was crying. His heart sank as he realized what he'd just done.

Why hadn't he even considered Nina's thoughts and desires during his exchange with her young friend back there? Did she think she was in love with this young man? Why hadn't Nina or Monica told him about Jamin? Why was Nina meeting with him in the streets after dark? Was their rendezvous really as innocent as they'd both claimed? He was not prepared for a teenage daughter! He was still very numb to the idea of Nina being sixteen years old. She was only a little girl in his mind, in his heart.

What would Monica be saying right now if she'd been privy to his calloused response toward the polite young man? He could see the disgust in her eyes now, and hear the criticism she would be hurling at him for not caring any more about his daughter's feelings. She was one to talk.

He could hear Monica's incriminating words from not even an hour ago proclaiming the severity of his absence. With fresh conviction, they came ringing back to his ears, and his heart sank deeper. Should he be keeping these two young hearts apart? Was he replacing his absence in Nina's life with anarchy? Did protecting Nina have to look this way?

Olly had already severed fellowship with his wife this night. He didn't want to lose his daughter as well!

Coming to an abrupt stop, Olly turned toward Nina and looked gently into her eyes. “Were his words truth?” he asked her before he lost his nerve.

Trying to look strong, she nodded, “Yes, Daddy.” There was no deceit in her face.

“And you feel the same way about him that he does about you?”

She nodded, hope growing.

For good measure, and to lighten the mood, he asked with a twinkle in his eye, “And you really are sixteen? That's not just in my imagination?”

She managed a small laugh, and rolled her eyes. “Yes, Daddy, I really am a big girl now–believe it or not–and yes, I like him very much. Will you just give him a second chance before he rides away and I may never see him again?”

Now he felt like crying, but he gave a slight nod, and looked behind them to where Jamin and his ride were clodding away. “Young man!” he called.

The clip-clop of the horse's hooves paused on the hard surface of the street, and Jamin's head spun in their direction. “Sir?” came the uncertain reply.

“I…may have spoken a bit in haste. If the two of you would like a few more minutes together, perhaps you could walk my daughter home. I will meet you there.”

Still looking at Jamin, Olly squeezed Nina's hand, which was still in his, then turned–head whirling–and started home. Before he rounded the corner of the street, he turned to look back at them once more, and smiled–just a little bit–when he saw Nina running toward Jamin's glowing face.

There wasn't much to compare in this world to the joys of young love.


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Story of Hope, Chapter 10

Were his fears about to come to full realization?

Jamin braced himself for what may come when he looked up and saw a burly red-headed man behind Nina storming across the street toward them. He’d never heard a description of Nina’s father–not even his name–but one look into that man’s eyes told him this was her father. That look was unmistakable, not to mention the haunting resemblance to Nina’s own eyes.

A prayer filled Jamin’s heart, as a groaning sigh escaped his lips. Nina’s face filled with confusion when he gently stepped away from her. She noticed the direction of his eyes, and her’s followed. A gasp escaped her soft, pink lips, when she caught the intimidating sight of her father’s approach.

“Daddy?” she started.

“Nina,” his voice was tight with concern, “I, uh, certainly didn’t expect to see you out here. I thought you were at Anna’s?”

“I was on my way home when…Daddy, I want you to meet Jamin.” She looked between them with unmasked hesitancy, but the honesty in her eyes and voice seemed to diffuse her father’s tension a little.

“Young man, it doesn’t seem we’ve had a proper introduction yet. I’m Captain Oliver Swarth.” It was obvious that he hadn’t said all he’d wanted to, but Jamin was deeply grateful that Captain Swarth was giving him a small chance to prove himself. He wasn’t about to let it pass.

“Sir, I’m pleased to meet you,” Jamin dipped his head respectfully. “My name is Jamin…Opalinksi. My uncle is a farmer several miles outside of town, and we have a produce stand at the city market. I had the privilege of meeting your daughter while working the stand several weeks ago, and came to town tonight in hopes of finding her. I was about to give up, not knowing her last name or where she lived, when I saw her walking here. I was also hoping to meet her family, and, well, it looks like my prayers have been answered. I hope you will take my word concerning my very honorable intentions toward your daughter. It would be my deepest regret to think that my interest might cause turmoil for your daughter or for you, and if that is the case I will seek to be as compliant as possible to your wishes as her father.”

Captain Swarth looked surprised at Jamin’s monologue, but any violent or negative reaction seemed to have been avoided. He hoped.

“Well, Mr. Opalinski,” Captain Swarth looked intently into Jamin’s eyes, “I appreciate your willingness to be upfront with me, and I’m sure you’re intentions are honorable enough for someone…of your age, but I’m afraid, honorable or not, my daughter is not available for your attentions at this time. Nina is not yet of an age that I consider appropriate for any relationship with any young man, honorable or not. So, you would excuse us, my daughter and I have a home to return to, as I imagine is the case for you as well.” He nodded, looked at Nina, and finished, “Have a good evening.” Captain Swarth turned to leave, arching his arm for Nina to take in her hand, “Nina?”

She seemed as stunned as Jamin, but followed silently with a soft nod. Her eyes met Jamin’s briefly as she turned. Through the bewilderment, he saw a regretful apology, and the swelling of silent tears. He attempted a reassuring smile, wishing there was something he could say, something he could do to change the events taking place before him.

Truth be told, though, the captain’s calm-spoken rejection of him had stung more painfully than any violent reaction might have. He was at a complete loss, and felt the verification of every fear of inadequacy he’d ever known. What was he going to do?

Trying not to lose his composure, he turned back toward Cowboy and climbed atop the saddle. He felt like a complete idiot now, with his stupid suit and worthless hat. It was no wonder the whole town had stared at him as he’d searched for Nina. He was just a naive, ignorant country boy, smitten by a girl he couldn’t have, and too ignorant to know it.

It was going to be a long ride home, and a very, very long winter. Jamin’s fears had become reality tonight, but they weren’t the fears he’d expected. This was much more devastating than he was ready to handle. 

Nina was the one person who’d been a real beacon of hope to him in the past couple of months. The thought of seeing her, of being around her, had been his fuel for waking up each day, for pushing through the fears and insecurities. It was her silent acceptance that had shown him who he could be. Did her father have any idea of what he’d just done to Jamin? Did Captain Swarth even care about Nina wanted? Jamin knew that Nina felt as strongly about him as he did her. She’d said it herself!

Why had Jamin chosen to remain quiet back there? Why hadn’t Nina tried to defend him, to defend herself? What was he going to do without her?


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Story of Hope, Chapter 9

In the time succeeding a serious conflict, the emotions left mangled in its stay are more complex and abundant than most humans are able to manage in a healthy fashion. This was certainly the case for Olly. How could his volatile interaction with Monica–which had just come to an extremely abrupt end–have gone so poorly as to have all but ended their entire twenty year relationship?

What had Monica done to him? What kind of monstrous things had she convinced herself to believe about him? How would he ever reconcile this betrayal–this lie?

There was little that proved to be more disabling to Olly than when someone simply didn’t listen to his words–or believe him if they did. He sought to be an honest man. Monica should have known that. Instead, Monica seemed to have rebuilt a very mangled version of herself in his absence, and had justified the complete removal of him from her new construction plans. He felt crippled by her rejection.

While she had been spending her years creating a world for herself without him, he’d been building one with her as his corner stone. He knew their marriage hadn’t been what either of them had dreamed about in the beginning. Over the past several years, since he’d become a sailor, there had been little about their marriage that had even seemed like a marriage. He knew this.

Aside from the rare letter and his times of leave, they never saw each other. He knew he’d been a lousy husband, but that had only spurred him on in his dreams of creating a better life for them. He’d held so long to the dream that things would get better, that he simply took it for granted. He’d never considered that Monica might not be there to live out those dreams with him.

They were dreams he’d dreamed for her as much as he’d ever dreamed them for himself. He’d saved his money year after year, every penny he could, to one day deliver his family together to a new place–a new quality of living. Monica wouldn’t have to worry about surviving anymore. She wouldn’t have to be alone without him again, like he knew she had silently desired for so many years.

That was something about Monica that he’d always admired. She rarely complained. He knew she had been unhappy all these years apart. For him, that had gone without saying. He apparently had been assuming blindly all along that she was holding on to his dreams as much as he had been. Though, looking back, he couldn’t remember ever sharing those dreams with her. She’d never known. She still didn’t.

He’d planned to come home in a grand fashion, swing her swiftly off her feet, and carry her off into the sunset. Instead, he’d come home and thrown her fragile world deeper into the darkness and bitterness she’d chosen for herself.

The reality of what she’d done came back to him with renewed freshness, now, and he began to feel the true gravity of what had taken place in his absence. He understood that she’d assumed it was a similar lifestyle of unfaithfulness that had carried him along all these years, but any man on his ship could attest to Captain Olly’s abstinence. It was a matter of regular discussion and scoffing among them. What sailor didn’t have whatever pleasure he desired? This had been the way his shipmates had seen things, and their lifestyles made that very evident–as did their general dissatisfaction with those lifestyles.

He’d been as honorable as he could have ever dreamed to be, and this was how she repaid him?

No. He wouldn’t allow himself to go down that path. Bitterness on Monica’s part had brought them much of the way to this place. His own bitterness would be of no benefit.

He needed to figure out how to fix this. He had to get his wife back! It was not over.

Oliver took to the streets, determined to prove to Monica the depth of his love and faithfulness. His reaction toward her had been strong and full of hurt, but his love and devotion remained unchanged, and she needed to know this. His mind was racing to think of where she might have gone. His heart was aching in its desire to know her love once again. How would he tell her? How would he show her the truth? What if she still didn’t believe him?

He was becoming a fool for her, and he felt like a young man again–trying to woo the woman he loved.

But why? Why did he love this woman who had betrayed him? What did Monica possess that was worth his love and devotion? What was his reason?

Was it the length of time she’d waited for him? Was it the fact that she’d cared for their daughter in his absence? Was it her beauty that smote him or was it the fact that she didn’t want him? Was she just some conquest to him, like the seas he’d sought to master?

With ease, Olly reasoned away each of these thoughts, and found his way to the true reason he sought her. It was because he loved her. That was it! That was the reason. She hadn’t earned it. She may never deserve his love. She may never even accept or reciprocate his love, but he still loved her. He truly was becoming a fool for her, and it was perhaps the most liberating state of being he’d known.

Olly smiled amid the gloom of his heart at losing his love. He hadn’t just lost her tonight. He’d lost her many years ago, and it had taken him this long to discover it. He realized again that he’d become a fool in more ways than one.

Olly smiled, though, because he now saw the truth as it was for the first time. He knew also that, by seeing the truth, he might actually find a way to embrace it and allow it to change him–to change them. Now that he had the truth, he could show it to Monica. She could see it as well!

Fully consumed in his hopes, he picked up his pace and began toward Mrs. Townsend’s house. That was where she would be. That was where he must go.

He never made it, though, because what he saw next stopped him still, and once again changed his life forever. He stumbled upon the sight as he nearly ran around a corner onto a new street. There, across this new street, just below a glowing streetlight, stood his daughter–his precious Nina–wrapped in the arms of smiling young man.