|The Jewel Filled Stream
Teresa P. Thompson
2003 by Teresa P. Thompson
I could see that night had begun to fall as I followed deeper along the dusky path that led through what seemed to be a never-ending forest. The farther I traveled the more I could see the dim faintness of a light coming from somewhere deep behind the thickened brush.
I could feel my heart beat wildly as I followed my own instincts to keep going. Although a small voice inside me seemed to keep telling me to turn back now, I seemed to ignore it. It was as though I was becoming intrigued with whatever lay ahead of me through the deep thick trees and fog.
I knew that I was alone, although it felt as though I could sense the presence of someone’s eyes watching every step I took. I shivered at the thought that someone could be following me as I dared to turn around and face the pitch dark night behind me.
The path that I had followed seemed to have disappeared amongst the ghostly fog and deep shadows of the night as I looked behind me to try and catch a glimpse of where I had just emerged.
Placing my arms across my chest as if to shelter myself from the chill that seemed to be engulfing my body, I could almost hear the wind whisper my name.
“Come closer,” the sound seemed to be encouraging from somewhere deep along the trail of the darkened path. “Just a bit farther and you’ll be here.”
The strange night-call was spooky and uninviting, but perhaps the curiosity inside me kept me going. Before I knew it, it seemed that there was no turning back---there was no light behind me and I knew that I only had one choice left. And that was to follow the dim light straight ahead.
Not knowing where I was going to end up, I felt the fear begin to arise inside my soul. Suddenly the fog thickened and I could hardly see two feet in front of me. It was if rows of smoke were following around my footsteps.
“What am I doing, here,” I thought as I continued the trail.
With everything in me I knew that I should turn back, but somehow I couldn’t. The farther I got, the farther I wanted to go. It was if some mystical force was pulling me in the direction of the dim light. I just had no control over my actions.
“Just follow me and come this way,” I thought I heard someone say quietly.
The voice seemed deep and cold; however it did not seem to frighten me in the least. So I kept going towards the light. The closer I got the less I seemed to be able to make out where the light might be coming from.
Suddenly out of nowhere I seemed to be face to face with a huge cave opening. I could see that the light was coming from somewhere deep inside the cave. I attempted to step inside the opening when I noticed the strange smell that seemed to engulf me. It almost burned my eyes as I caught a whiff of the strange odor.
Just as I stepped inside the opening I thought for a moment that I heard familiar voices calling me from the other side of the trail. It was almost as if it were my daughters or perhaps my father.
“We need you. Please, come back,” I thought I heard them saying.
But I was determined to ignore their calls, for I was much too curious to turn back now. I just had to know what lay ahead. So I felt my body ease deeper inside the cave. I began to follow the light that had by now turned from dim to as bright as the sun. I continued for what seemed like hours until I was becoming exhausted.
I had been so caught up in following the light that I had not once noticed how far I had gone or anything else around me inside the cave. My eyes suddenly fixated on the floor beneath my feet. I certainly must have been imagining it because I could have sworn that the liquid flowing under my shoes was pure red blood. It seemed to be a never-ending stream that ran straight from the opening of the cave to the deepest part of it. At one point it seemed to become a mixture of blood and mud. Suddenly the floor seemed to be completely paved in this waxy liquid.
For the first time since I had begun my journey, I actually felt the fear begin to perk up inside my soul. I was so frightened that I did not know whether to turn around and run or just keep going. Every ounce of energy inside me seemed to be draining faster and faster.
As I stood there in complete fear, I forced myself to look around the walls of the cave. They seemed to be painted in pure mud. Now, the fear was beginning to take over me. I could now hear my heart racing. It was almost as though it was inside my head.
Suddenly the walls of the cave looked as though blood was streaking down from within the crevices of its tiny pores. I could also begin to hear faint sounds of screams from deeper within the cave.
“Help me!” I wanted to scream. But I knew that the voices that I was hearing would not be able to help me, for they sounded as though they too needed help.
The light that I had been so
intrigued with from the beginning---the light that had pulled me into this
frightening situation seemed to stop straight in front of me. It
was as though there was no where else to go.
“Why has it brought me hear,” I wondered. “What is this place?”
No more than the words came from my mouth I heard the same deep voice say, “Look down.”
As I looked down around my feet I could not count the number of snakes that seemed to swarm around me. The fear engulfed me as I looked into the eyes of the wickedest snake that could be imagined. It was obvious that it had been this unsightly creature’s voice that I had heard both times.
“This can’t be real!” I screamed as I closed my eyes tightly. I was hoping that when I opened them everything would have disappeared and I would be back at the beginning of the trail that I had followed.
But to my horror once my eyes were opened again, I was still in this awful place. How was I going to escape when I had no idea how I had gotten there in the first place.
I could feel myself begin to faint as I looked across the snake pit and saw what appeared to be a door. The door was bright pink and it seemed to illuminate the most peaceful light imaginable. Suddenly I could feel the strength begin to fill back into my body. For the first time since I got there, I felt the comfort that I might just be able to escape this tormented place.
“Just reach out and take my hand,” A beautiful voice from inside the door called to me. “You have to do it yourself. I can’t come and get you.”
The tears streaked down my cheeks, for I knew that in order to get to that door I had to cross that pit. And the thoughts of those snakes consuming me sent shivers of fear throughout my entire being.
I could now see the transparent hand reaching through the door. The hand seemed to illuminate the most radiant glow that I had ever seen before. Its flesh seemed to reflect the shimmer of the stars forming the Heavens. The mere thought of going to it made my entire soul reach out.
I remember looking down at the muddy, bloody floor of the cave and seeing the huge open pit of serpents that awaited me if I made one wrong slip and fell into the hole. But I knew that it was a chance that I had to take—a chance that must be taken if I wanted to get out of there.
As I reached across the pit it was obvious that there were still just inches between my small hand and the large illuminated hand that was awaiting me. I felt so betrayed. My only thought was how could it be that I was that close and yet could not reach him. I could feel the tears sting my eyes as they continued to stream down my face.
“You must trust me,” the voice said. “You must jump into my grasp and believe that I will not let you fall into the pit.”
I was terrified because I knew that with just a slip in the wrong direction or the slightest mistake, I would plunder straight into the pit of snakes. But I also knew that I could not just stand there and wait for them to find a way out of the pit to me.
I closed my eyes as I reached into mid air in the direction of the illuminated hand. I could not bear to see myself slip and fall into the pit if it happened.
I looked down just as I crossed the pit and I could see what appeared to be people buried deep beneath the snakes. I could hear their cries as I crossed over. I could hear their torment as I felt myself slip into what felt like a liquid mass. I looked and saw that the liquid that I was sliding in were my very own tears.
I could no longer see the hand or hear the soft fragile voice that had coaxed me across that awful place of torment, but I knew that he was still with me as I opened my eyes once again to find my body falling into a beautiful jewel-filled stream.
I could feel the cool misty water as it touched my body and I could see the mud and the blood from the cave wash away from me as if it disappeared.
Suddenly I rolled over and found that I was still in my own bed. It had all been a dream! It had been a terrible nightmare that had certainly opened my eyes. As I sat up in the bed with my hands clasped tightly to my face, I knew just exactly what the dream had been about.
Tears filled my eyes as I realized I had just experienced a metaphor for how Satan and God must be reacting in so many people’s lives. On one hand we have Satan tempting us with human curiosity to follow the light no matter where it takes us. On the other hand we have God holding out his hand to help us pull ourselves back across that pit of evil where we oftentimes end up.
I have had many dreams and nightmares
since and before this one, but this is the ONE that has always stayed with
me. I often think about that dream when I am tempted with something.
I often think about that dream when I feel the hand of God reaching for
me in a crisis. We can all make mistakes and follow the wrong trail
or path. We can end up in places where it seems there is no way out.
But just as in my dream, there is always a way out---the hand that reaches
for you when things seem impossible. The hand that holds you and
takes you from that awful pit to that jewel-filled stream to wash Satan’s
mud from your garments.
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