Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Part Eleven: Febuary 15, 2009

Laughter.

She looked around the room. The bedroom wasn't large, and this afternoon it was bursting at the seams as four girls prepared for a banquet. It wasn't just any banquet either, it was their church's very first annual Valentines  Banquet. It was for adults only, so for some of the younger ladies it was their first.

Smiles.

She wondered how many of those girls could see through her smile to the heartache underneath. She had been told before that her face
was like an open book,expressive and easy to read. 
For one evening she hoped she could keep that book shut.
For one evening she had to be what everyone thought she was. 
For one evening the mask must not come off.

Giggles.

She glanced at the corner of her bedroom with the full length mirror. The other girls were clustered around it putting the final touches on their hair and makeup--checking the overall effect of their dresses. 
Quietly she tucked a card into her purse. 
Then the call came--it was time to leave for the banquet. 
Her secret was still safe.

Beauty.

As she walked into the church she reached a delicate hand up to adjust the pearl circlet that crowned her long curls. Her dress, handmade for this occasion,  fluttered gracefully around her ankles. It was pink and white--simple, elegant. The kind of dress little girls dream of wearing when they become a princess and their knight comes to
carry them away on his noble steed.

Dreams.

Every stitch on that dress was a dream, 
a promise of the future, a step of faith. 
Or was it faith? 
That knowing she'd had for the last year 
that she wouldn't be alone much longer? 
Or that instinctive understanding she'd had 
for over two months that tonight was to be the big night? 
And that her knight had actually been disguised as her dearest friend?

Promise.

How had she known? 
Achingly, painfully, she went over the memories 
that had brought her such joy and hope just days ago.
She had been so sure. So very sure.
Though it had never been spoken, 
the message had seemed so clear from him and his family, 
Even her bible reading had shouted the same message. 
She was loved
She was wanted
And he was coming soon.

Wrong.

But all that was past now. 
Twice now she'd had it confirmed that her knight wasn't coming after all. 
Twice now she'd come to understand that he wasn't the one, after all. 
Twice now she'd discovered that somehow, somewhere, 
 she'd made a terrible, horrible mistake. 
How could she have been so foolish? 
She was loved...
as a friend. 
She was wanted...
as a friend.

Broken.

The dress of dreams seemed to mock her as she turned toward the banquet hall. She smiled as she greeted her friends, but inside she was discovering the agony of brokenness. In her purse was a card, secretly, joyfully written to her knight in times of hope, to give to him when he asked her hand. She wasn't sure why she had brought it. 
Maybe, as long as she had it, she could cling to hope. 
Maybe, as long as she had it she could
pretend her heart hadn't shattered. 
Maybe.

Silence.

As the speaker took the platform she waited silently. Silent. That's what she had been for nearly three months. Silent over the fears. Silent over the excitements. Silent over the joys. Now she was silent over the pain. But that was fine. This particular burden she wanted to carry alone. 
She needed their joy more than their comfort. 
She wanted to hear their laughter.

Request.

The speaker continued on, but she couldn't hear. The Lord was asking for her. He wanted her dreams, her hopes, her joys. He'd taken them away, but he wanted her to give them willingly. 
He wanted to be her prince, her knight. He wanted her trust. 
He wanted her to feel the joy over Him that she had felt over him.

Surrender.

Silently, as always, the battle was over. The dress of dreams wrapped around her as she gave her dreams away. Softly, quietly, her Lord took the gift she gave. Softly, quietly, he promised the gift wouldn't be in vain. Softly, quietly, he bid her... 
Listen... Wait.... Trust.

Entrance.


She looked up as the speaker introduced a guest. The side door opened. It was a knight, the gold of his armor glinted in the light as he stepped in from the night. In his gauntleted hands he carried a dozen roses. Startled whispers began as instead of taking the podium the mystery knight crossed the room and stopped in front of her.

Proclamation.


She looked up at him, amazed, confused, stunned. He gestured for her. Dreamlike she stood. He removed his helmet, revealing to all the identity she already knew. 
Boldly, bravely, in front of all the witnesses he proclaimed his love for her. 
Boldly, bravely, he gave her his heart. 
Boldly, bravely, he asked for hers.

Joy

Joy reflected off the diamonds in his hand. 
Joy streamed down as she answered. 
Joy filled the room with applause. 
Joy covered her face as she realized... 
She WAS loved. 
She WAS wanted. 
Memory returned and the dress of dreams rippled as she bent down to take the card of acceptance, of faith, of hope from her purse. Love in her eyes she looked up at him and quietly put the gift in his hands.

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