Monday, February 18, 2013

And Then There Was God ~ Monday's Writing Prompt

Here it is again, my precious little readers: writing prompt Monday. This week's writing prompt is brought to us by the lovely and talented Stefanie Gaither at The Secret Life of Writers. Because of their juicy little writing prompts, I now look forward to Mondays; I mean, who doesn't like to get their creative juices flowing?

Some *rules* to keep in mind as a reader. The image given is meant to inspire anything--a thought, a line, a title, a poem, a song, a haiku, a short story. Whatever inspires. Then, you go from there: attach your wings, study the muse, and soar!

It's not meant to be poured over and fretted upon like you might the start of your novel. Or critically edited and over-analyzed like you would before submitting. It's just meant to be fun. So here is how it inspired me today. Please don't fret too much. Just enjoy!

"And Then There Was God" ~ by C.M. Albert, 2/18/13

The cleaning fumes are overpowering, but don't distract me from my mission. The scent of pine and leather lingers in the air, reminding me of where I am and what I'm about to do. It drapes more heavily on my shoulders than if Father Joseph had been standing directly over me giving me the lifetime of penance I would surely receive for the dark thoughts racing through my head.

On my knees, I can feel the knots from the aged, wooden floor burrowing firmly in my flesh. I relish the pain it delivers; it matches the ache that's nestled deeply inside me. The coldness that surrounds me races through my veins and feeds my heart. It's the first time I've felt full inside a church for years.

My eyes remain closed, but I can sense the stream of light trying to break through the gloomy air, forcing its way into my line of vision. I will not turn toward the light. It's too late for that. The darker corners of the church are what beckon me now.

I don't even know why I came here.

The lie drapes itself across my tongue like the silk that hangs loosely from the crucifix staring down at me from the highly polished pulpit. Mocking me. Daring me. Screaming for me to open my eyes. To be present. To look into the eyes of Christ and tell Him the dark and grievous act that dances along the inside of my temples, pushing for release.

I am tired. Only nineteen, but far too old and tired for my age. For this body. For any body to bear on earth. Life. It once beckoned to me: sold me on its sweet fragrant gardenia; with the joy of racing down a hill on my beach cruiser, aerodynamic against the wind; filling me with the luxury of a crunchy, red apple's juice before it trickles down my chin.

Those are luxuries I lost months ago. With a simple act of violence so betraying it ricocheted from my body to my heart and settled deeply inside of my brain, haunting me every waking minute. I couldn't walk the halls of the university without seeing his face. I couldn't sit in his class without shame and disgust creeping along my skin; it sent me straight home to shower, rubbing my legs raw until they bled. Even now, I can still smell his woodsy scent on my skin. No wonder I can no longer tolerate the sun. Or trees. Or the sound of gravel crunching beneath my boots as I hike. What used to make me feel strong now makes me jump inside of my skin; terror warming my body as it crouches in fear. I will fight next time. 

The chapel's bell chimes loudly, echoing off the silence that envelopes me. There will be no next time. I came here for the peace it once brought me. Before man turned to monster. When I still had all my youthful, ignorant faith inside my heart.

This is his special place. The place he used to bring me late at night. We would hold hands in the dark recesses of the church's sacred pews. His voice warm and gentle, telling me stories of the prophets and saints who stole his heart and led him to religion. His path had not wed him to preach from a pulpit, but to create a sense of mystery from the safety of his classroom. A mystery so enticing it wove its way into my sense of wonder, raping the holiness that had already lived there.

Now his church is my special place. The last place I will draw a breath. The last place I will be rejected. I hold no misdirected hope that God will do anything but reject me; I'm ready to accept the darkness that already fills me. There is no more light left for God to see or for him to find me.

My soul is consumed with bitter anger. It trembles in constant fear. It has wilted under the tarnish that brands me anew. There is no savior for me. He abandoned me once; even as I abandon him now.

I can feel my body succumb to the pills I had thoughtfully mashed together. A toxic blend of powder, scattered like ashes across the communion table's marble slab. A place reserved for holiness and dreams; the pure of heart. I took joy snorting from a spiritual place, sending death deeply into the recesses of my darkness. 

Curled on the floor of the alter, I open my eyes toward the light now streaming in. Darkness crowds my vision, but still the light creeps past those tiny glass panes and one last time, finds the last secret corner of my heart held for Christ and light.

And then there was God.


  1. This is such an emotional piece. Her despair is palpable. I love your closing lines, the sense of God welcoming his broken child. (Did I read that correctly?) Exquisite writing.

  2. Thank you so much! That really means a lot to me. I love these quick writing prompts because I don't have a lot of time to mull them over too long or over think things. I just have to go with my first instincts. I felt so much for this young girl as I was writing her piece. I know this sounds silly, but I honestly get emotional every time I read the last line and think of her pain and journey and sense of loss and isolation; feeling betrayed by this man and by God. Feeling alone, with no hope. Only to find God in those last seconds; to learn He's never really left her at all. *goosebumps* =)

  3. Awesome. I don't think I need to say anymore, really.

    1. Thanks Dylan! That means a lot coming from you =) I got emotionally attached to this girl. I cried at the end when I wrote it - even though I knew where it was going. =)

  4. I felt every word.
    Because this is something similar to what I've lived through and experienced first hand...

    I was raised Catholic and even so I was cursed and damned. For being me.

    I was shunned and cast away for being true to myself; and for being honest with the people who are my own blood.

    Confusion, anger, hopelessness, anguish, loneliness and sorrow gripped me and with every moment that I lived in this thick haze, I could feel my soul dying and a part of me started to dissipate into the emptiness that burrowed inside...

    ...I soon chose loneliness as my constant friend and companion. My bittersweet lover, it was; always there, without fail, when there's no one else who would care to listen.

    It was a strange time...I questioned God and at a certain point I considered myself an Atheist...I was full of anguish...and would often drown myself in vices because it was my escape from the hurt.

    My surrender came about when I was diagnosed with a tumor. I decided to stop fighting and just give in.

    Questioning God and his motives no longer mattered. Being shunned no longer mattered.

    After I got my test results...I went to church. I walked up the aisle, and sat down on the cold, wooden bench. The place was empty. It was just me.

    I stared into the large, gray marble crucifix that hung so high. Hints of light pierced through the stained glass windows as their colors painted the altar.

    I took a deep breath and I collapsed on my knees, and with my face buried in my hands, I cried rivers of tears for I felt that the life I had been given was that of constant struggle.

    And even though I had tried to end that struggle by heading towards the point of no return, my efforts had failed, only to bring me back to where I was once again.

    Barely breathing.

    In my final attempt for salvation, of whatever was left of me, I got down on my knees and prayed for my life and for my family; that if I were to leave them, I would trade anything for their well being.

    And so it was.

    I made my peace with God.

    And I now refer to myself as a spiritual person, rather than one who is religious.

    I have been living for more than two decades and yet my eyes tell the story of one who has lived a thousand lifetimes.

    I flat lined and here I am today. I am blessed. I have my life.

    It has taken me time to respond to this post of yours...because I know what this feels like...

    1. Dylan, your response is so beautifully written in and of itself, it could be your own blog post =) You know I heart you so much. This is one reason why. You are not afraid to be YOU and share YOU. It's refreshing to be friends with someone so honest and self-actualizing. I am so sorry you went through all of this, but I do believe trials like this make you the strong, amazing person you are today. I am just so glad you chose LIFE instead. Thank you for taking the time to read & comment on this. To know my writing has touched even one person who will ermember it - that makes me the happiest girl in the world! {hugs}

  5. Chilling, beautiful, and sad. Well-written!

    1. Thank you so much! This means the world to me. I know it's silly to say about my own story, but I actually teared up when I wrote the last line. I knew it was coming, but I wasn't ready for it yet. =)