Friday Fictioneers: Digging For Water

I was reading some of the entries for Friday Fictioneers this week as I am often wont to do and then on my way in to work this story came to mind.

photo by Connie Gayer

Unblocking the Wells

by JE Lillie

“Oh Lord my back hurts.”

“You must master your body to make it your slave.”

“But why do I have to do this alone?”

“The harvest is great but the laborers are few.”

“I wish I had never even heard that missionary speak. Whatever possessed me to leave the comfort of my home to come to this God-forsaken place to dig a well?”

“I am here. I sent you, and I tell you anyone who offers one of these little ones a cup of cold water in my name will in no-wise lose their reward.”

 

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In Other Words: When the Pillars Shook

In Other Words

This post is in response to Patricia’s Quote Challenge/ In Other Words.

Patricia’s contributors are asked to take a quote and from it create a post of our own.

This week’s quote is:

“When they discover the center of the universe, 
a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it.”
Bernard Bailey

When the Pillars Shook

by JE Lillie

Uzziah was gone! He may have been a leper. He may have been a fool. But he was my king and more than that he was my friend. I wept for days until the tears would come no more and then I sealed myself in my chamber.

I tried to pray. I arose every morning to the Shema. It had never been just words before but now words were all I had left, vain repetitions, little more than the chanting the pagans did in their temples. I  felt guilt. I felt anger. I felt abandoned.

For months I struggled on like this. The Great King was silent. I snivelled my prayers day by day growing weaker in faith stronger in blame. Grimly I thought to myself, “And so ends the great prophet.”

It was a morning like every other. We were nearing Sukkot. I arose feeling no great joy in the upcoming celebration. I began to mumble the words of the prayer as I had every morning since my bar mitzvah.

“Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Achad.”

Something stirred beneath my feet. I looked down to see what I had stepped on that had unsteadied my stance.

” Barukh Sheim k’vod malkhu…”

And the world as I knew it was suddenly gone. It was as if a curtain had been pulled back tearing away the darkness of my room. I was in the temple or a place that looked like the temple. The air was filled with the thick smoke of incense. A fire burned on the altar of incense and behind that stood the Great Ark unveiled

I grasped my chest and inhaled violently in fear as I realized I was looking on the forbidden place. I covered my eyes but the smoke came alive and ripped my hands from before my face even as the pillars of the temple began to convulse.

The doors to the Holy place flung open and Adonai entered. His train was the smoke and the smoke was his train. It encircled Him like a shield and His eyes were the fire. Every step of His was an earthquake and every movement the explosion of a thousand suns. I was blind but could see more clearly than ever before. I stood at attention before him quivering and at the same time was prostrate on the floor shrieking.

“V’ahav’ta eit Adonai Elohekah b’khol…”

My words were drowned out by the shuddering of the walls about me as The Nameless One gathered himself to His throne atop the mercy seat. The golden cherubim came to life and spread their wings as four creatures more alive than anything on Earth cried with the voices of a thousand waterfalls, “HOLY!”

All my dry dust prayers blew away in the sound and the fury that was Heaven and I cried,

“Woe is me! I am undone!”

Of course I wasn’t really. The angel came and burned away my wickedness with fire from the altar and instead of dying I was commissioned.

One thing I have learned is that life will last as long as we shake in time with the pillars of that temple rather than trying to walk to our own rhythm.

Friday Fictioneers: When Grandma Played

photo by: Jan W. Fields

I am sharing from Friday Fictioneers’ prompt once again. Close to 100 writers share stories on this prompt spot hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Please click the link to track their tales after you have read mine below.

When Grandma Played

by JE Lillie

 I was born with a needle in my veins. The “system” had me by the time I was six months old…would’ve kept me to if it weren’t for grandma.

 ADD, ADHD,  oppositional defiance disorder made me a real joy to be around. When I would act up Grandma would just go to the old piano pull out her hymn book and start to play.

She’s gone now but on very stressful days  I can still hear her playing “This Is My Father’s World.” That memory holds me and helps me deal with the men and women I counsel at the center.

Braided:Weekly Writing Prompt 18

This week THE SECRET KEEPER  has given us these five words to help us in our creative process:

| WAIT | MEET | TEAR | ACCEPT | CEASE |

Based on these themes, I have chosen to write a a short story this week entitled:

“Braided”

by JE Lillie

I  gazed into the mirror hardly recognizing the man staring back. My beard had gotten long and gray.The hair that lay over my shoulder in that long braid was threaded with the same silver that speckled my chin. I looked so tired and old. When had that happened?

The answer flew to mind immediately…no delays there. Life had changed a year-and-a-half before when she left to “find herself”. I wept. I shouted. I begged. I threatened. Nothing worked. She packed and was gone.

That’s when I began the fast. I made a Nazirite vow that day. Maybe it was a little extreme. Maybe it was a little Old Testament. Maybe I couldn’t do the sacrifice part with the lamb, but the rest I was determined to accomplish. I was going to show God I was serious about wanting her back.

In those first months I sent flowers and cards. I called her cell and texted when she wouldn’t answer. I spent my mornings and evenings begging God for her return.

About month five, I began to hear that Inner Voice repeat again and again “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.” I studied the verse from Isaiah; Ruminated on it. I learned that the word “wait” meant to be braided together with God, intertwined completely with His will.The day I learned that, was the first day I braided my hair symbolically to embrace God’s will whatever it was.

Somewhere in the journey the fast stopped being about my marriage and started being about me. In the braiding and unbraiding of my hair a hundred times I learned I was not the man I should have been. I stopped crying for her return and started crying for my own return to the true Lover of My Soul.

She was getting remarried to a good friend of ours even as I looked into that mirror and saw the old man before me. That hurt, but I knew one thing. I no longer needed the braid. God’s will had been done and in spite of my pain I was at peace with it. And that was worth waiting for.

I took the scissors and cut through the braid. It was time to move on.

Friday Fictioneers: Leviathan Lives!

PHOTO PROMPT - © Dale Rogerson

PHOTO PROMPT – © Dale Rogerson

It is time once again for Friday Fictioneers. 100-ish writers gather from all over the globe to write 100 words on a photo prompt supplied by our hostess Rochelle. You can find the other 100-ish of us by clicking on the underlined link which will tak you to Rochelle’s blog. From there follow the little blue frog.

My piece this week is a bit conceptual. I looked at the prompt without my glasses and saw a snake. From that point on this idea was stuck in my head.

Leviathan Lives

by JE Lillie

This was Eden. That stupid girl, that foolish boy ruined everything. Yet, I am the one left slithering on my belly in the muck.

Even “He Who Shall Not Be Named” was against me that day. He saw my glory and demanded it be taken away. As He did in Heaven so He has done on Earth.

“Thy will be done!” they pray!

“Enough!” I say!

He has had His way for far too long. It is time for me to crawl from these tidal waters. It is time for the sons of Adam to behold the beast that restores the world.

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Friday Fictioneers: Letters From Malta

PHOTO PROMPT - © C. Hase

photo by: C. Hase

It is time once again for Friday Fictioneers the flash fiction writing group led by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Click the word “Fictioneers” above and it will take you to her site. A quick click on the little blue froggy and you will be deluged in a sea of stories based on the photo prompt above.

Here is what I took from the picture.

Letters From Malta

by JE Lillie

 What’s left of the ship still surfaces during low tide. I come to see it everyday, still amazed we all made it out alive. Paul said we would. God tells Him things and no one doubts that now.

When he got bitten by the snake after the shipwreck everyone was sure it was the gods’ judgment, but the man walks in the miracle. He didn’t even swell.

Now he’s been invited to the magistrate’s house. We hear there is dysentery there so of course off we go. Paul says “Every problem is just a miracle in disguise.”

This is a snapshot of Acts 28, Paul’s time in Malta.

Friday Fictioneers: What Remains

PHOTO PROMPT - © Douglas M. MacIlroy

Photo Prompt by: Douglas M. Macilroy

Every week 100 fictioneers gather around the water cooler at Rochelle’s place to share their scintillating stories based on a photo prompt chosen by Rochelle. This week I have a feeling the stories may take on a more frigid overtone but you be the judge! Click on the photo above and it will take you right to Rochelle’s site and the rest of the stories!

What Remains

By JE LIllie

Proctor Johannes’ voice boomed out across the silver dome, “The Scripture has taught us that in the end  all of creation would be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things would remain.

“We are that unshakeable thing! Look at us! What calamities have we survived? The Earth has spurned us and the sky has frozen us out, but we have not shaken!  We are greater than the wrath of the Lamb.”

The congregation shrieked in approval. I stood in my usual corner as far from the proctor as I could. Meanwhile, the asteroid above moved into position to drop more of the wrath we were supposedly greater than.

I chose that day to flee to the mountains.

Help Needed

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Hello WordPress Family. I am sending this word out to all 707 WordPress followers plus my 500 Facebook Friends and 121 Twitter Followers in hopes that at least one of you can help me.

As some of you know I am in the process of publishing my first novel. It is a coming of age story and one of the characters in it is a nun who has left her order for the Protestant church. My publishing editor has given me a list of to-do’s as we begin the editing process and one of the things on this list is to interview a sister who has left her order in the Catholic church and has joined the Protestant church.

Here is how you can help. If you have walked this pathway or if you know someone who has could you possibly make the introduction with the possibility of an interview. It can be done in person, via phone, in written form or using Skype.

Thanks JE

The Daily Prompt: Connecting the Dots & The Blood Of the Martyrs

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Connect the Dots.”

The Daily post gave us this instruction today,

Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.

Pg. 82 of the book nearest to me read, “As new tombs were needed the tunnel was lengthened and new chambers were excavated on both sides…

Here is a short story based on the book this was taken from, The Blood Of the Martyrs.

The House Of Worship

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by JE Lillie

It had been a month since I had seen daylight. The catacombs were not just the place we buried the dead. They had become our sanctuary in every sense of the word.

The number of martyrs grew by the day. Johanan had been fed to the lions a week ago and then his wife Cybele had been burned at the stake as her children watched just two nights later. Nicanor and Lavinia had been sold as slaves in the market, confirming my mother’s decision to stay below ground with the dead.

The dead or what pieces of them could be salvaged were brought to our little family sheltering in the catacombs and we saw to their Christian burial. The hidden cemetery was filling fast so  “As new tombs were needed the tunnel was lengthened and new chambers were excavated on both sides. My hands did some of the digging.

My fourteenth name day came and went while I dug away in the catacombs making a space for the newest family of martyrs. In the process we were told to make a chamber wide enough for the church to meet in.

I still remember the night we Christened that new section of tunnel. We, the soon to die, sang hymns among the dead and relished the thought of the Coliseum if only it would take us into the sun and out of the musty, dirty darkness that had become our house of worship.