A Pastor’s Ponderings: After Christmas

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By Dave Holland

Dave HollandMiss Judith was an older schoolteacher in the 1930s, when it was believed that a woman’s place was at home with her family. In her youth she had a few suitors vie for her affections, but she never really felt loved, so she never married.

Her fifth-grade grammar school students thought of her as an old maid. They whispered cruel jokes when they thought she couldn’t hear them. But she never let on that their words hurt her feelings. Miss Judith enjoyed her students and she loved them regardless.

Christmas with her sister’s family was a highlight of her life. It was such a hoot to watch her nieces and nephews open their gifts. Gift wrapping galore, delicious food followed by scrumptious desserts and children running about trying out their new toys. After Christmas she would board the train that carried her home to her little, quiet high rise in the city.

The city looked gloomy that day, a light drizzle was falling on the black pavement. She was glad to be home in a peaceful house even if it was dreary. Some would call her life lonely. She thought life had simply passed her by.

Judith’s place was well appointed with elegant furniture. The apartment was odd in that it had no masculine mess, no newspapers lying about, and no tools in the closets or sports equipment in the corners. Neat and tidy was teacher Judith’s residence, it had the muted hush that only a home without children had.

As the day wore into dusk, she felt the need for an afternoon nap creeping into her system. Wearily she made her way to the couch and she lied down. She hoped to avoid the lonely discontent that was her nightly attendant.

She slowly drifted into a dream. Just past the veil of her dim reality, she passed into a bright garden-like meadow. The place sparkled with light from a blue sky, yet strangely, there was no sun. She walked beside a gently flowing stream among the low growing grasses. She had an odd sense of peace.

Where am I? She pondered. She was in a place stranger than life but more real than a dream. In the distance, she saw two women approaching on the other side of the stream. One was tall and lithe, more beautiful in her primitive vitality than any woman Judith had ever seen. She must have been over six feet tall. The muscles in her arms were taut and her legs pulsated with vigor. She seemed like an Amazon native but was elegant with the loose flowing white cotton dress she wore.

Beside her was a weak creature, a woman who limped as she walked. She was not unlovely but her pervasive sadness overshadowed her entire being. She resembled the taller woman as if they were sisters. Though slower, she seemed to be on the same journey upstream as the other traveler.

The companions saw Miss Judith and beckoned her to travel with them, they on their side of the stream and she on hers. They never spoke but their hand motions conveyed their hearts—they wanted her to go, so she followed on this mystical journey.

Amazon woman, as Judith came to think of her, was so intent on her trip. She strode with such determination. Meanwhile, her companion soon fell behind. Judith felt sorry for her and wanted to say to their leader, “Slow down, let the poor woman catch up.” But the guide’s pace only quickened in intensity with every passing mile. Driven like a woman possessed by hidden purpose she quickened her pace to a light run. Judith envied her fitness and the resolve that drove her.

The school teacher struggled to keep up and occasionally glanced back to see the poor, pathetic companion fading behind in the distance. The weaker woman was going slowly, but she would not give up the journey.

Amazon woman was still gaining speed, stretching her leg muscles making every stride progressive and productive. Her arms stroked the wind plunging forward in an earthy rhythm harmonizing wind, sky and earth. Where did such a creature come from? Judith marveled. The middle-aged school teacher was clearly not used to such rigorous exercise. Something about the air in this place enabled her to continue to run.

Faster they ran, each on their own side of the stream. Limpy was far back in the distance, barely visible to the naked eye, struggling on. Finally, Amazon slowed down and rested beside the stream. As Judith followed her gaze into the distance, she saw a man approaching. Judith drank some water quickly as she was captivated by the figure entering this drama.

The man was older than the teacher, as fit as the Amazon, but scarred and rugged. Amazon’s demeanor was completely different in the presence of this man. She was now at rest. Her countenance conveyed energy and vitality, yet she was still, waiting. He was the first character in this dream traveling downstream.

Was he coming to meet this trio of travelers? Could he bring conversation to this silent place? Judith now knew intuitively that HE was the destination of the journey. Amazon’s untamed beauty, athletic prowess and driven nature sat still in His presence.

The man looked up at Judith, He on one side of the stream and she on the other. His mouth moved as if to call out to her. She heard only a whisper, so she waded into the stream to draw closer to him. His chest heaved as he seemed to bellow out and Judith heard his voice faintly say, “Come closer.” She stepped further into the water to approach Him.

“Can you hear me child?” the rugged one asked.

She managed to eek out. “Yes, I hear you. Where are we sir?”

He answered, “We are where the ordinary is made glorious and the glorious is made ordinary. Was the journey difficult?”

“Yes, but that beautiful woman led the way and she was relentless in pursuing her destination,” Judy answered. “She is so strong and limber, like no woman I have ever seen. Can you tell me who she is?”

“Why daughter of Eve, don’t you know? She is you and all that you shall become. She is all the Father created you to be.”

Stunned, Judith asked, “But, then who is the other woman coming behind us?”

“She is all that you have been, she is the cocoon you are leaving behind.”

Miss Judith pondered his words and asked, “Then, what is the meaning of my life?”

“The importance of your life lies in what you are becoming. You fill your life with meaning when you give it to the pursuit of a higher purpose. Some are decaying in body but without growing in vitality in their spirit. Most grow more self-centered while their heart longs to be given away in loving purpose.”

Abruptly, Judith awoke from her post-Christmas dream. Everything had changed. She still had no husband, children or home to call her own. But now her future was full. She was becoming what the Father created her to be. Even the average, uneventful days were forming her character and her destiny. Judith’s purpose was being worked out on Earth, but her priority is anchored in another land. She was becoming a woman of destiny and eternal purpose.

More articles like this one are available on Dave’s website located at: daveholland.org.