An Epiphany | Teen Ink

An Epiphany

April 10, 2009
By ElizabethS. PLATINUM, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
ElizabethS. PLATINUM, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
32 articles 0 photos 16 comments

I am walking down an alleyway. There are high stone walls on either side of me and another ahead of me. The sun sprinkles down from above. This alley has been my life. Sometimes I pass through the most horrid things and other times the most beautiful, but those are both few and far between leaving me with a bittersweet feeling as I pass the otherwise blank and stony walls.

But there has always been a nagging fear in the back of my mind that is growing all the time. I thought it was the wall at the end of my alley, but then I saw the changing shadows that didn’t match up with the shadows in the rest of the alley. Then I understood. There was another alley. The light and changing shadows were coming from around a corner, from another part of my life. I wanted to stop walking, right then and there, and I tried several times, but time kept on passing and I passed with it for my life is ruled by time and I cannot make it stop. So instead, I go on in fear of what lies around that corner, wondering what will become of me and how I will survive it.

Suddenly a bright light surrounds me, and, turning my head to find the source, I am blinded by its brilliance and I fall to my knees.

“My child,” says the light, “What are you afraid of?”

“Father,” I reply, ashamed, for all at once I know that this brilliant light is the Lord God whom I had forgotten once I became aware of my troubles, “I fear what lies in wait for me beyond that next turn.”

“Daughter, why should you be afraid? Have I not been with you all along? Have I not kept you from harm, even when the enemy tried to pull you away from me? Stand up, my child, and take my hand. Cling to me with all your heart and mind and you shall not be afraid.”

He reached out His hand toward me, and as I took it I felt the fear melt away. He walked with me down the alley and together we closed the gap between us and that foreboding wall. He led me through the hard times and showed me a greater brilliance in the good things, until, finally, sooner than I’d expected, we came to the wall and the corner that turned away from all I had ever known. I froze, and for once, time froze with me.

“Father,” I said, “How can I know that I’ll survive this? Will things be any better around the next corner?”

He held my hand for a minute while I was silent, trying to sort out all the fears that had come sweeping back in and attempting overcome them. Only then did He speak.

“Daughter, turn around.” Slowly I turned. “What do you see?”

Of course, I knew what I would see. I had looked behind me hundreds of times, but things just looked worse the second time around, so I always looked away as quickly as I could. But I did look, halfheartedly, and everything just looked the same as it always did, dingy, faded, foggy, and altogether uninviting. He understood the puzzled look on my face because He said, “No, none of that is real. It is only what your mind has made of your experiences. Look harder this time, from your heart and not your head.”

And so I looked, and soon little patches of light began to slowly grow from all the places I had been, some of them brighter than others, but all of them considerably more beautiful than when I had encountered them. Before I could ask, He answered my question.

“Those points of light mark the places where you have learned something. You’ve learned to forgive those who have wronged you, to revel in the sunny days, and to love those around you with all you have. You’ve been thankful for the people who made you happy, and you were thankful when I pulled you out of despair. You’ve learned that the smallest things can be the most extraordinary. Life is not how you see it, child, but what you learn from it and how you use those lessons in the future. You have nothing to be afraid of. Whatever lies around that corner, everything you have learned has prepared you for it. And above all, I will be there with you for every part of it.” He squeezed my hand.

Sighing, I said, “Alright,” and mustering up all of the strength and faith I could find I closed my eyes and turned toward the new alleyway. Even with the light coming from God standing next to me I could feel a new light from someplace else. Slowly, apprehensively, I opened my eyes and there before me was not another darker alley as I had suspected, but a lovely green park with animals and people I knew and didn’t know. I could see a pond and a beautiful walkway and the biggest, bluest sky in the world. I knew there would still be bad places because I could see them, the darker places that were not caused by simply shadows alone. But I knew that He was right. I was ready for this. Smiling up at Him I asked, “Will you stay with me always?”

“Forever and always.” And, stepping forward to continue the life He had given me, I knew it was true.

The author's comments:
Changes in life can be so frightening, but God is always with us and we never have to be afraid of anything because He will always protect us. This understanding is what keeps me going day after day.

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