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  • Writer's pictureKatie

The Wilted Gift

This was the second story that I wrote for YWW. The prompts I used were; a church bell ringing (although it was only the mansion in my story), gravel on bare feet, the taste of the sea, and a wilted bouquet. This is a reminder to us that our righteousness was and never will be good enough to enter God's kingdom. Only His righteousness, superimposed on us can bring us into His 'Mansion'.

There was once a little girl with a beautiful garden. She had worked hard to see the flowers grow and not be overcome by pests. There were great, delicate hollyhocks, and tiny, intricate alyssum. There were bushes of roses softly shaded by crape myrtle. No weeds grew among her flowering marvels and the ground was soft with fertility so that she had no need for shoes. The garden was all she cared for, and yet…

She missed Him. Who was Him? He was the Shepherd. The Shepherd was perfect. The Shepherd had more than a lovely garden. He had a mansion. She wanted to be in the mansion.

Epiphany struck. She would bring Him a present. Then, He would let her in. The flowers she picked were the best in her garden. They were perfectly shaped and carefully tended. Not a bug or a blemish besmirched her masterpieces. Then, she was flying downhill, unworried about the bits of gravel poking her bare feet, or the tall whipping grass slapping at her face. Her flowers were elegant and her heart merry. Down the hill, the mansion waited, shining in its glory like her flowers under the sun. She looked down at her feet and stepped around some large rocks. Then, she looked up. The mansion was bigger, more intricate than she imagined. Within its surrounding spires, a tower loomed, not ominously like that of a dungeon, but like a tower of hope, heralded by its golden thrumming bell. She looked at her flowers. They were not messages of hope, nor were they golden, but they were a gift and the Shepherd would like them. She sprinted faster now, hair flying behind her. She found the road that led to the mansion and flew in expectation to her destination. A bridge before her spanned a rippling brook. She waited for a wagon to pass before looking at the mansion again. It was magnificent in grandeur, simple in beauty, and the bell was still crying hope to the countryside. She looked at her flowers, they were gray in comparison, but they were still soft and pleasing to the touch. The Shepherd would like them, wouldn’t He? Again, she ran on, even faster, desperate to reach the mansion and look inside. No longer was the sun merry, it was tense with anticipation. The breeze stilled to see the outcome of the little girl’s journey. Her tired feet slapped against the cobbles of the square before the mansion. She went straight before the beaming doors and stopped. She looked at her flowers and gazed at the gleaming architecture of the mansion. She heard the bell sending music around her and felt the eminence of the mansion’s perfection. Again, she looked at her flowers. They were colorless, textureless, and emanated no life in startling comparison to the mansion.

The Shepherd could not take this. It was ugly. It was drab. It was useless.

A tear slipped down her cheek and between her lips. It tasted like the sea, bitter with salt, with crushed hopes. What could she give the Shepherd that He did not already have? Nothing she grew in her garden or made in her house would ever compare to His work, His mansion. An old man passed beside her. “Knock and you may enter,” he said, seeing her desire. She said nothing, and he shambled away. She stood for a long, long time. The sun was disappointed. It was turning its head to the other side of the world. The breeze was moving on to a less somber scene. Finally, she cast her flowers away and set her face toward the mansion’s beautifully crafted doors. She would knock to prove the old man wrong, though she wanted him to be right, then, she would trudge back up the hill to her home and her garden.

She knocked, turned, and began walking away.

Suddenly warm light erupted around her. A voice called, “Where are you going, dear child?”

She turned around. There was the Shepherd, radiant in glory. Immediately, she was on her knees heart pouring out before Him.

“I have nothing to give you! No present can let me into your mansion!”

He smiled warmly, more warmly than the sun. “Would you like me to give you something worthy of entrance?”

“I only wanted to live in your house with you,” she wept.

“Then come child, take my gift.”

She watched as he took her flowers, bringing them to new life and grace that triumphed over any blossom in her garden. He held them out to her. She took them in wonder.

“Now you have a gift worthy of my house. Will you enter?”

As she looked at His beckoning face awed that she hadn’t needed her gift at all, she lifted her hand for Him to pull her up, and they entered the mansion together surrounded by the light of His glory.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

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