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.


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Moments of Unparalleled Sequence 6

VI.

Across an abandoned soccer field a young man runs. It is dark, but for one street light. No one else is outside tonight, and he likes it that way. At the clumsy direction of his inexperienced feet, a soccer ball bounds across the grass before him. He veers left, then dodges right. The field is empty, but his mind is full.

Questions. Confusion. Frustration. He isn’t sure how to play soccer. He doesn’t know the rules of the game. He doesn’t know the tactics. He only knows that the ball needs to into the goal. He needs to hit the net.

Silently, a bat flaps across the field, fluttering through the still night air. In the distance, a horn is honked, a dog barks, a semi engine moans. These distractions don’t matter. He blocks them out of his focus. He has to hit the net. He maneuvers awkwardly onward toward the net. His foots misses the ball. He kicks it in the wrong direction. That’s okay; he’s learning.

He swings his leg back and narrows his focus even more. Twenty feet away, the net awaits. He swings his leg forward. Twelve feet. Five feet. Into the goal! The net is thrown backward by the force of his kick.

He did it.

The real competition hasn’t come yet.  He has a lot to learn, but he did it!

‘That’s what time is for.’

 Moment by moment, day by day, he is free to change–free to be the way he was created to be by the perfect One who made him, forgave him, and saved him from his prison. These were the true moments of unparalleled sequence…unparalleled importance.

{This is part six of six. To read the first five parts, scroll down my homepage. I will post the whole story in its entirety tomorrow.}


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Moments of Unparalleled Sequence 5

V.

Aln opened his eyes. Dark.  No more soccer field.  No more counter top fridge.

‘You did it.’

 Before the sleep even began to leave his eyes, tears drowned them. It hurt. Pain filled his eyes as reality stung his heart. He really was stupid.

‘I’m all in now. There’s nothing left to hide behind.’

 No more shallow. No more casual. No more feigned boldness. He’d finally crossed the line he kept redrawing. And it wasn’t even for love!  It was just another prison—just like he knew it would be. He was just weaker, even more pitiful.

Last night he told himself he was strong. Last night he said he was free. Last night he lied.

‘Now I’m just stupid. Selfish and stupid. A selfish, stupid prisoner.  Again.’

 By now his pillow was soaked. Except that it wasn’t his pillow; this wasn’t his bed. Why was he here?

The body to his left began to stir.

Experience. He had it now.

Aln’s eyes made contact with Branson’s.

Reailty. He never escaped it.

His own regret was mirrored in the eyes of this near stranger.

Love. He didn’t find it.

“I’m sorry; I’ve got to go.”

Experience wasn’t worth it.

‘God, forgive me. I need You.’

{This is part five of six…come back soon for part six! I will post the whole story as one post after all the parts have been posted.}


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Moments of Unparalleled Sequence 4

IV.

“What’s your name?”

“Aln.”

“Never been here before, have you?”

“Nope.”

“Can I get you a drink?”

“Sure, thanks.”

“Have a seat. I’ll be right back.”

‘What are you doing here? This is stupid! No, it’s what I want.  I don’t care if it’s stupid anymore—I’m stupid!  No you’re not.  You know better. Obviously not.’

“Here’s your drink.  May I join you?”

“Sure.”

“So what do you think of the place?”

“Loud.”

“You could say that!” Pause. “So I’m guessing you’re not much for conversation?”

“It depends, I guess.  I’m just a little on the fence about being here.”

“I understand, man.  I see a lot of that.  This is a pretty shallow joint, I’ll admit.”

“So why do you work here?”

“Well, I’m sure it’s not because I’m shallow! That would be too obvious.”

“Well, I’m just saying, you don’t come across that way.”

“Yet here I am, talking up the cute guy.”

“So you think I’m cute, huh?”

“Now look who’s being shallow!”

“Fair.”

“So what are you planning to get out of this little…visit of yours?”

“That’s what I’m on the fence about.  I mean, why else do people normally come here?”

“Company?”

“Partially, I’m sure.  Company all the way back home?  Company until both are feeling a little more fulfilled? Company until self-satisfaction has all the cards?”

“Well, it’s all about self-satisfaction from the beginning, isn’t it? I mean, Jesus doesn’t usually hang out here.”

“What would you do if he did?”

“Be really intrigued.”

“So, what now? Am I being shallow enough?”

“I guess so! I almost forgot you were new at this.”

“Flattering. Thanks”

“No skin.”

“So, is it time for the next step?”

“Look at this guy! Goodbye fence!”

“Sounds good to me.”

“That’s just because you’ve had enough to drink, but who cares! I get off in twenty.”

“I’m in! Oh yeah, what was your name?”

“My bad…I’m Branson.”

{This is part four of six…keep reading for part five! I will post the whole story as one post after all the parts have been posted.}


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“Calderwood” Part IV

A story is more than just an explanation of events. It reveals life. It unveils the unseen elements of everyday life that are not always noticed at the time they occur.

These are the reasons I love to write stories. I love to think back through a memory and pull out all of the thoughts that went along with an activity and recreate them on paper in such a way that even the simplest of moments seem almost magical in the way they all work together into something so much bigger than anyone could have imagined at the time of their occurrence.

It’s the bigger picture of life–the elements of life that show there is a purpose for even the most unexpected and coincidental of circumstances–that makes life so beautiful. It is the complexity of life itself that makes a story worth telling. I cherish the moments that come to me as such clear examples of this orchestration of events into a larger plan.

The morning after meeting the young stranger in the canoe was one such example.

*

I was moving before my eyes were even completely open.

The morning sun had just started to lend some light to my tree sheltered cabin, and, as my eyelids moved out of their sleeping rest, my eyes caught the silhouette of a fleeing intruder.

I grabbed for the large knife hidden just beside my bed, and lurched after the shadow.

“You can either stop now, or wait until I stop you!” I growled, “The former would be better for both of us.”

It didn’t work. The intruder dashed out the door, and I followed just a few steps behind him. My newly awakened body wasn’t extremely anxious about moving this much freshly awakened from a deep sleep, but I pushed forward and started gaining on him. The light was stronger in the clearing outside my cabin, and I could now see that the trespasser was none other than the young stranger I had been hosting. With this knowledge, I slowed my pursuit and changed directions. He was running toward the river, and I was pretty sure I knew why. If he was planning to lose me in the woods and then escape in his canoe, I would just beat him at his game and go straight for his canoe. I solidified my suspicion of his intent, when I realized that he really didn’t have any other options.

Why all the secrecy? I wondered again, as I jogged silently toward my writing sycamore.

I reached the canoe just as he came out of the woods a few paces downstream. Because of the darkness and the fact that he was spending more time looking behind him, he didn’t see me waiting by his canoe until he was only a few steps away. He shouted a yelp of surprise when realized my presence, but froze as our eyes connected. For a moment, the night was still again.

There was a dark stubbornness in his eyes, unlike any I’d seen before. I remember the thought crossing my mind, as our eyes locked for those few moments, that whatever he was running from had to have a real hold on him. He was a young man overcome by something he’d tried desperately to hide, and my lack of pretense was a language with which he was not familiar.

The stillness between us ended quickly, being that he was much less interested in waiting than I. Realizing that his flight instincts hadn’t helped him as he’d hoped, he went for the next best thing–fighting. He was surely a trained fighter, but I had a knife and he didn’t. Before he’d moved more than a step toward me, I gave him pause with the harshest growl I could muster.

“Don’t be a fool.” It was all I said, but the flash of steel from my hunting piece in the moonlight spoke loudly enough to convey my implications to him. He stepped back in aggitation, and threw the pack he’d been carrying down on the ground.

“Fine, if you want your junk back, you can have it. I don’t need it anyway! I can take care of myself.” He spat the words, more than spoke them, but his eyes were fixed on the ground. He was still such a kid; couldn’t even look a man in the eyes.

“If you needed supplies, all you would have needed to do was ask.” The sternness still hadn’t left my voice. “Why…”

“Don’t ask me any more questions, okay.”

For the first time since I’d met him, my young guest, intruder, thief had let down his guard, looked me square in the eye, and had spoken plainly.

“Look, I know I should have just talked to you, but things aren’t that easy. The more you know about me, the easier it will be for them to track me. I never should have stopped here, and I apologize that all I’ve been is trouble. All I really want to do is get far away from this place, and I would really appreciate it if you’d just let me go. If you have supplies that you’d be willing to give me, I would be very grateful, but I really just need to get out of here.”

He fell silent and his eyes fell too. The troubled youth that I’d seen looking through his eyes only moments ago, now enveloped his entire posture.

“You don’t need a fight. You need a friend.” My voice had softened now, and, stepping forward, I put my hand firmly on his shoulder. “I don’t know who or what you’re running from, but I do know you’re going to need a better plan if you’re going to make it in these woods. You won’t find many in these parts as gracious as I. You’d probably be dead if you’d broken into anyone else’s home tonight. You don’t know how to hunt, trap, or lie for that matter.” I waited for his reaction. “If you’re going to live the life of a loner, you’ve got to be able to take care of yourself.”

“I can take care of myself.” He interjected.

“I think tonight’s events prove otherwise.” His eyes admitted his agreement.

“Now, if you want to get in that canoe and head off into the darkness, that’s your prerogative, but these woods are not tame. The farther north you travel, the more dangerous they become. This river, for one, turns into white water just a day and a half upstream from here. Then there are the mountains, and the Namerians beyond them. If you want to survive, you’re going to need a plan. That’s just all there is to it.”

He stood looking torn for several minutes, then nodded like he’d arrived at some internal resolve. “So you’ll help me, then?”

I laughed, “Well, it appears I just volunteered myself!”

He smiled, but his determination had returned. “What do we do first?”

“I’d say we should move this canoe off the water to start with, but first things first. For the last time, what is your name, son?”

The last bit of reluctance fell away from him, as his eyes looked through the growing dawn into mine. “I am Gnamel, son of Leen, nephew of King Garman of Calderwood.”

~By C. Evans


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When I Dreamt of Captain Hook and His Demons

Captain Hook is real.

He is a dark lord.

He’s in my basement.

I have managed to stay in the light all night,

But he is a master deceiver.

All of my allies have fallen through

The dark doorway that leads down

To where he waits grinning, snarling.

I will never forget the sight of him

Reaching out like a shadow

To grab my friends

And plunge them into darkness,

The whites of their eyes shining in terror

Through charcoal grey shadows.

Am I a coward not to go after them?

Should I surrender to his death?

Could I win this dark game with living death?

Even Peter Pan couldn’t stop him this time.

All the lights in my house were on,

But one by one he tricked my allies.

One by one they turned them off,

Then he drowned them in his darkness.

He is a liar.

Peter Pan is  gone,

Dressed now in shades of black death.

His shadow betrayed him.

Hook’s blackness is spreading.

I’m stuck in the kitchen.

This is my last stand.

The house is surrounded by his night riders.

I long for dawn.

I need more light.

There is no way out,

And He’s coming for me.

He knows my secrets now.

He knows my weaknesses.

He knows I won’t wait him out.

He knows.

He’s inside my head.

There is darkness inside me and he found it.

But he won’t win!

I run  to the drawer by the microwave.

I grab the flashlight,

And reach for the basement door.

“Stand back Mr. Hook.

I’ve come for you,

and what you took from me.

They’re not yours.

You can’t have them.

Get out of my house!”

Good morning.


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Calderwood, Part III

Realizing it would be rather rude of me to remain in silence with him obviously intending to rest beneath me, I offered a leisurely greeting to break the silence. My thought that he was unaware of my presence was quickly confirmed as his entire body lurched and his eyes shot up with almost terrified surprise.

“I had no idea there was anyone around!” Obviously. “Have you been sitting there all along? Why didn’t you say anything before?”

Apparently, he wasn’t too interested in not being alone. Rather than respond to his unnecessary shortness, though, I replied with a more congenial question. “Nice day to be out. You been traveling long?”

Perceiving now that I meant no harm to him and that he was the one being intrusive, he offered a gentle nod and confided that he had been traveling since yesterday morning from Gleshna, the king’s city. He followed by asking if I lived nearby.

“Just beyond the river’s edge,” I replied. Coupling the knowledge that he was avoiding notice with my suspicion that he’d rowed quickly past Torren without stopping, I suspected he was more than ready for a place to rest. “You’re welcome to rest there a while if you desire. Want some help tying up your vessel? “

His earlier hesitance now seemed almost completely gone, and he offered a grateful smile. This young man was obviously not accustomed to the elements of the woods, and had probably managed next to no sleep the night before. To confirm this suspicion, I asked half-heartedly, “Not many places to stay around here are there?”

He offered a sheepish grin, as he confessed, “No, I tried camping along the shore last night, but…” He seemed too ashamed to admit that he’d been scared, but it was evident in his expression.

“Well, I always sleep better inside too.” I offered. “When I first moved out here, it took me a week to sleep through the night without being awakened by the noise of the night. These woods never sleep.”

“Apparently not,” he replied, shaking his head. “How long have you lived here, then?”

“About eleven years now.”

That interested him, but I wasn’t sure why. He had a hunger in his eyes, like a man who longed for adventure, but had yet to taste what he sought. “Where did you live before?” The boat was securely tied now, and after grabbing his pack of belongings, he climbed up the bank behind me, and we both started through the trees to the clearing where my cabin stood.

“The son of a fisherman,” I paused briefly, remembering the smell of saltwater mist blowing on the wind, “Grew up by the sea and moved here when I was old enough to leave home. Always wanted to live in the forest, so here I am.”

He looked a bit disappointed now. “Why do you like the forest so much? I’ve always thought the sea was better.”

He was direct; no doubt there. “Just water.” I replied, “Too lonely. I like the feel of life all around me out here, helps me remember I’m not alone.”

As we arrived at the cabin, I stepped onto the porch and opened the door. “Well, this is it,” I offered. He looked inside and his eyes went straight to the pears and squirrel jerky on the table. I showed him where the bed was, told him to help himself to some food, and let him know I’d be back in a few hours. That was all the invitation he needed. He had three bites of jerky down before I made it out the door. As I returned back to my writing, I considered the fact that he hadn’t mentioned a word about himself. He didn’t seem untrustworthy, just green, inexperienced at life. I would have to see about getting more out of him after he slept a bit. If he had really been as hungry as he acted, I thought, it was no wonder he seemed a little off.

I returned to the cabin at dusk, after picking some more fruit in the orchard and checking my traps. The place was quiet as I approached and I started to wonder if my visitor had left prematurely. A loud snore from inside answered me quickly enough, and I realized that there was a chance that he might just sleep through the night if permitted. Clearing my throat, I opened the door and left it open to combat the growing darkness. After replacing the missing pears at the table with two more, plus a couple apples and some blackberries, I grabbed my cleaning knife and went back out to the porch to clean the two rabbits I’d found in my traps.

An hour later, I was enjoying the savory aroma of fire-roasted meat. Darkness had fallen now, and I sat calmly in the light of the fire, finishing the story I’d started earlier in the day about a bird I’d once watched from my father’s fishing boat. The creature had managed to catch a fish twice it’s size right out of the sea. I still don’t entirely understand how he did it, but he carried it right off into the horizon, popping up and down with the fish thrashing in his talons. It makes an excellent story. It’s one of my mother’s favorites, and I’m glad I finally got it down on paper. Sometimes the biggest challenge for me is not to find a story to tell, but to decide which one I want to tell first. I decided long ago that it is a good problem to have.

I had just pulled the rabbit off the spit, when I saw a sluggish frame meander out of the cabin and into the light of the fire. How timely of him to wake up just in time for dinner. I suppose the only thing stronger than a man’s desire to sleep, though, is his desire to eat. I knew this well, but seeing it happen so blatantly was somewhat comical to me. I nodded as he approached and he offered a yawn-like smile.

“It appears that your nose is working properly,” I said dryly.

“My mother always said my appetite was my strongest feature,” he chuckled. Seeing the sizzling hot food made him forget his sleepiness faster than a squirrel can scamper down a sapling, I noted mentally.

“Well I’m glad you managed to wake up while it’s still hot. Wouldn’t want a good helping of meat like this to get cold. Here have a seat,” I said, pointing to the log bench across from mine.

He sat, and readily started in on the food I offered him, after waiting minimally for it to cool. He had to be at least twenty, I thought, by looking at him, but he acted more like an oversized kid, who hadn’t seen enough of life to know how to act around new people. It was almost a naivety, I realized as I watched him eat. As I had wondered before, I became gripped by the desire to know his story. Who was he, and what was he doing out on his own sneaking around like this?

After he finally looked up from his food, I asked, “So what brings you so far up the river?”

A momentary look of panic flashed across his eyes, and he looked away. “Just needed to get away,” he mumbled, “like you, I guess.”

“Away from what?” I pressed gingerly. I hoped that by now he trusted me enough to at least be somewhat informative.

“Long story.”

This wasn’t working very well, so I tried a more direct attempt. “Is someone after you?”

This brought a mixture of fear and spite piercing from his eyes that I had not expected. “Look, you’ve been real nice and everything, but if all you wanted was to get another story to write, I don’t recall volunteering for it.”

That rubbed me the wrong way, and I shot him a look that indicated as much. I’d hoped that some sleep would help his edginess, but it apparently only gave him more energy to express it. “Well,” I said rising. “You won’t be able to make much progress on the river tonight. I’m heading to bed. You’re welcome to stick around until morning, but you’ll have to find somewhere to sleep.” And for a little self-gratification I threw in, “I wouldn’t roam around in the dark too much, though, you never know what you’re going to run into out here.” I heard him curse under his breath as I walked away, and I was glad he couldn’t see my smug grin as I disappeared into the darkness.