The scent of rich brewed coffee blended with the wet earthy smell from last night’s rain, wafts through the apartment in a thick aroma cloud. The coffee had automatically brewed 30 minutes ago and the window had been open all night to invite the cool breezes inside. Sounds from the outside world make their way into the apartment, disrupting the peaceful environment of the silence within, as the town awakes from its slumber. The sun, with all of its brilliance, showers through the slats in the lopsided blinds. The dust particles once invisible in the darkness are made fully known by the sun’s natural light. The furnishings in the apartment are nothing special; couch, table, lamp, TV, radio – the basics.
The resident of the apartment is as plain and simple as her surroundings, contrary to what her appearance leads others to believe. Her hair is thick, curly, and the color of deep scarlet; at least that is what it reads on the box. She is not very tall on the outside, on rare occasions she can feel like she is five feet tall. Numerous tattoos cover her olive tan skin. Some were added for reasons, others just for decoration. She rarely if ever reveals her true feelings; she learned long ago to keep them well guarded. The name on her birth certificate reads Sahree Jacobs; the name should read Black Sheep. Sahree was never quite like the rest of her family. She was obedient, kept to herself, had a spirit for serving others, and was quite intelligent. In return she received no love, no attention, blame, and various types of abuse. It is surprising that she made it as far as she did in this life. When Sahree finally left home at the age of eighteen, all family behind her no longer existed.
Sahree’s new existence developed here, in this small apartment located in a town that is far north of everything. The town is called Sweet Meadows. Sahree likes the name of the town; it reminds her of sweet grass blowing in the wind on a summer’s day. All she has to do is close her eyes and she can smell the sweetness riding on the wings of the air. She has lived in this town for six years. During that time she has come to know her surroundings and the neighborhood’s inhabitants from a safe distance.
Sahree’s starts her day by chugging a cup of freshly brewed coffee. The remaining part of her breakfast consists of a couple pieces of wheat toast with butter. After Sahree has completed her morning routine, she leaves for her first job at the general store beneath her apartment. Mr. and Mrs. Riley are the couple who own the store, they have become like a mother and father to Sahree, but she will never let them know how much they warm her heart. Sahree loves the old country feel of the store. The floors are natural wood and pretty well worn. There are jars of penny candy aligned along one of the main shelves by the counter. It reminds her of the small town stores in all those late night westerns. Her main job is to stock the shelves and occasionally she helps out at the register.
Sahree’s next job is at the local church. The work that she does here is mostly voluntary; there is not much, if any, money involved. She helps the church by creating and updating databases in their computer for all of the records. As Sahree pauses at the computer to look up at the clock, it has just reached 6pm. It is time to go back to the apartment. However, the peace that Sahree feels from the church makes it hard to leave. This is not the first time this feeling has caused reluctance in her departure. Sahree breaks herself away from her longing to stay and lets the pastor know of her leaving. She now makes her way home or at least back to the apartment.
Once Sahree is back inside her apartment, she takes a shower and changes her clothes. It is now time to relax and unwind; at least that is her plan. She plops down on the couch, a cloud of dust rises from it. She leans over and turns on the radio, it comes alive with news that dozens upon dozens of people have been reported of being in a coma-like state. This is the question the broadcaster asks, “How could so many people be affected all at the same time? This is not natural.” Of course, there are no definite answers. At first Sahree feels worried by this bizarre news, then she feels a sense of relief knowing that none of this involves her.
As Sahree continues to listen attentively to the broadcast for any further details, a human-like figure suddenly appears. Sahree is startled and moves to the farthest corner of the couch. She notices the figure is wearing a white robe made of some sort of thin material. From both sides of the figure are what seem to be wings, white feathery wings, originating from its back. While Sahree is taking in the mysterious image, the figure softly speaks her name, “Sahree”. This causes Sahree becomes very puzzled, how does this figure know my name? Sahree realizes what she is seeing is an angel. Why would an angel be coming to see me?
The angel tells Sahree that he is there to deliver a request from a more powerful source. The angel explains to Sahree in a calm soft voice, “The location of the source is not important to you. You have been chosen because of your pure heart. If you accept this request you must follow the instructions given to you and leave all that is familiar.” The angel goes into further detail telling her what is involved in the request. “This will involve rescuing and bringing back souls which were stolen by a dark evil source. The result of the souls being stolen has left many in a temporary coma-like state. If the souls are not brought back to them they will die in an eternal hell. For this request you will be traveling alone, but there will be power with you. Once you have rescued these souls, you must take them to another angel, who will distribute them to their proper places. The details of these tasks will not be given all at once, but rather as they are needed. You will have until the next sunrise to present your answer.” Before Sahree could open her mouth to speak, the angel was gone.
Once the angel was gone, Sahree was left to make a decision that could possibly change her whole life. Leaving all that was familiar was not a problem, she had done that before. Sahree was reflecting on her abilities and worth. If my parents did not have any value for me, than how can this angel find value in me? Perhaps I am not right for this request, Sahree thought. All of this must be some kind of crazy mistake. It all seems so strange and mystical.
Later that night as Sahree lay in bed waiting for sleep to overtake her. She hears a voice; it is not just any ordinary voice. The sound was very near to her, almost beside her. It held authority and love like the voice of a father. It tells her, she is the one that has been chosen for this special request. Sahree feels a strange trust in the voice, even though she cannot see where it originates. She believes the words she hears. A peace falls over her and she drifts into a deep sleep.
As the dawn approaches, Sahree awakes feeling completely refreshed and energized. Then into her mind came yesterday’s events and the special request. She also remembers the voice and the great feeling of peace that came over her last night. As these memories are playing in her head, the angel appears once again. The angel asks, “Have you made your decision?”
She tells the angel, “I have accepted the request and I am ready to move forward. I am willing to leave all behind and step out beyond my comfort zone, fully aware of the possible dangers that may be waiting for me.”
The angel tells her to first prepare a light load of basic essentials; a backpack filled with water, food, and minimal survival gear. Sahree has a hobby of collecting survival gear, so this part will be easy. Then the angel says she must travel to the woods located outside of town and farther north. She does not ask any questions and obediently follows through. Sahree has her things all packed and exits the apartment. As she is shutting the door, she wonders if this will be the last time she sees this place.
Sahree makes her way to the north woods without a problem. Once she is enveloped by the darkness of the woods, she becomes hungry. As she looks through her pack for food, she feels a large hole in the bottom corner. The material is all frayed around the hole. In discovering the hole, she also discovers her food is gone. She begins to worry about becoming weak, and as her worry increases so does her hunger. She kneels down on the forest’s dirt floor; she begins to sob out of weakness and fear.
As she coats the earth with her tears, the voice comes to her. The same voice she heard in the apartment. The voice tells her, “Do not worry, be sad, or lack hope. Believe and have faith, for food will be provided to you.” As she lifts her head up and ceases to sob, she sees a small shack up ahead, surrounded by tall grass and weeds. With a new sense of hope and curiosity, she goes to the shack.
The door opens with a loud creaking noise; she looks around as if there is another person that might hear, and enters the shack. On a table next to the door is a candle;- she lights it. Alongside the candle are also a loaf of bread, cheese, and a slab of meat. She prepares the food and hastily eats it.
Once she has satisfied her hunger, she leaves the shack and continues down the path. The sun is setting and the forest becomes even darker than it was when she first entered. The warmth from the sun has now left. Sahree must find a place to rest for the night. She sees an area off to the right, which is matted down grass underneath a large tree. This looks inviting to her, like a bed from home without all the luxuries. She lays down her pack and lies down leaning against the tree. It does not take long for sleep to reach her.
Sahree is suddenly awoken by the sound of wood snapping. Something is here with her, close by. Her heart pounds, she is afraid that whatever is out there will hear it beating. She sees something large and dark next to the shrubs across the path. It’s a bear! Her leg is stiff and she tries to straighten it a bit, in case she has to stand up and run. Her foot hits some stray leaves and the sound causes the bear to look her way.
She hears the voice again, telling her not to be afraid. A nearby limb crashes to the ground. The separation of the limb from the tree caused a sharp point on one end. The voice tells her to grab the limb and stand up straight, looking into the bear’s eyes. It charges Sahree. The end of the limb penetrates the bear’s thick fur deep into its vital organs and becomes buried. The bear collapses with a great thud and the vibration can be felt in the ground. The voice says to Sahree, “Do not fear battles, for I will fight for you. By letting go of your fear, your battles will always result in your victory.”
Through each unfortunate event Sahree is becoming stronger and stronger in her spirit. She is still not aware of her true worth and the power she is gaining through her many trials on the journey.
After the bear encounter, Sahree remains a bit shaken. Just thinking about how it could have turned out makes Sahree’s heart pound. She has noticed that each time there is a need or trouble, the voice comes with a message and shows its power by taking care of the situation.
Sahree’s thoughts trail off as she sees a dark tunnel up ahead. As she gets closer to the tunnel, the voice speaks. The voice gives her serious warnings, “Sahree, you are about to meet the enemy, which has the captured souls. When you are in his presence, you must guard your heart and mind. Do not give into negative emotions, do not believe his lies, and above all remain confident in your faith. Do not show any signs of weakness, for you will be stronger than the enemy through my power. Think positive thoughts that are good and true.”
Sahree becomes concerned; the voice has not mentioned any weapons. Sahree asks, “What shall I use for a weapon?” The voice responds, “You will find your weapons in your heart and mind.”
Sahree does not understand what the voice meant, but she pushes herself forward down into the tunnel. There is no true light in the tunnel, only a faint blue glow and the ceiling and walls are covered with a wet slimy substance. All that can be heard, besides Sahree’s soggy footsteps, is a constant rhythmic echoing dripping sound. She finally comes to what seems like the end and finds a metal ladder going down at least two stories below. She carefully takes her steps down the ladder. When she reaches the bottom, she is yanked off the ladder with incredible strength.
The hand that grabbed her has long nails, like claws, which penetrate her clothing and pierce her flesh. She winces from the pain, but does not cry out. This thing shoves her against the rock wall, practically knocking all the air out of her. Whatever this thing is; it has eyes of dark coal, teeth like razors, no hair, and a smell worse than rotting sewage.
Over the creatures shoulder, she sees a man dressed all in black. His skin is dark brown and leathery, like he spent too much time out in the sun. Which does not seem likely since there is not much light here. His eyes are black as coal; there is no white in them. The man speaks to the creature, “Let her go! She is not going anywhere right now.” The creature moves aside, the man takes the creature’s place. The man speaks to Sahree, “I know why you are here, Sahree. I can make you all powerful, full of wisdom, and rich beyond your dreams. The souls are mine. Leave now and I will spare your soul and give you your heart’s desire. If you resist, you will die without your soul.”
Sahree confidently responds, “I will not leave without the souls. My heart’s desire is to rebuke you and serve the one who has chosen me. I command you to release the souls, now!”
There is a clap of thunder as lightning strikes down through the tunnel and into the stone enclosure. Rocks and gravel begin to fall like the onset of rainfall. Sahree makes a break for it while the man and the creature are distracted by the chaos. She runs to a far corner within the enclosure. There she sees a gold container that is glowing with radiance. She knows this is what holds the souls. She seizes it and makes for the exit.
Back at the ladder and tunnel, there is no sign of the creature or the man. As she climbs up the ladder her leg catches on a sharp piece of metal sticking out. The metal digs into her leg; she pulls her leg free of it before the metal goes all the way through. She can feel the wetness from the blood pouring down her leg, at the same time pain is searing up through her leg into her thigh. She forces herself to resist the pain and go forward.
Dragging her injured leg behind her, she is almost at the end of the tunnel and back to the forest. Just as she is reaching the top, something grabs a hold of her leg with a tight grip. It is the man, he is still alive. She pulls herself out of the tunnel with all of her strength. She turns around; kicks the man’s face as hard as she can with her good leg. Suddenly a great rumbling noise can be heard, the underground is collapsing. She reaches for something, anything. Her hands find a sharp stick; she thrusts the stick into the man’s eye. As he instinctively grabs his eye, he falls backwards and the tunnel falls on him.
Sahree drags herself over to a tree to rest when an angel suddenly appears. This is not the first angel that had spoken to her. Sahree already knows why the angel is there. She reaches over and grabs the golden container holding the souls and presents it to the angel. The angel takes the container and with its other hand touches Sahree’s leg. Sahree feels a comforting heat running through her leg. Within seconds the pain and wound is no longer there. Sahree looks up towards the angel with amazement and gratitude, but the angel is already gone.
Sahree makes it back to her apartment it seems a lot smaller than it was when she left. Sahree no longer has any fear; actually she has a great feeling of accomplishment and self-worth. She is more than ready to undertake another request, but first comes well-deserved sleep in her own bed.
See What I See…Introduction
I suppose the first thing to do, would be to introduce myself to you. Skai is the name that I go by, it is pronounced “Sky” (as in the clouds in the sky). My contact with the outside world is very limited, I tend to keep to myself as I quietly observe all that is around me.
Upon first meeting me, I would appear as an average person which you see everyday in your world. However, beneath the surface I am quite unique. The uniqueness is from a gift which I was born with some time ago. I am able to see deeper and in more detail the things that are around me, which is purely natural for one of my kind. These are things that people see everyday, but overlook or miss the details that are hidden within.
I would like you to come with me on a journey to discover more than what the human eye can see. Lets take a look at life through new eyes and new perspectives. Who knows where this journey will take us. Maybe we will find a new person within us, which is but a stranger to us now. What do you think you will find?
The Mighty Soldier
As I awake, I feel the warmth of the morning sun filtering through the small openings from the slits in the dusty blinds. The light exposes the dust falling like snowflakes to the ground. Only within that light can you see the snowflakes, outside of the light they are invisible and remain unseen and unaware. Even though the blinds are closed the sun still manages to make its way through. The sun does not give up on how far its light and warmth penetrate the cool darkness, its reach is far.
My peripheral vision picks up movement from the floor. My gaze leaves the warmth of the blinds and rests upon the coolness of the carpet’s shadows. My eyes immediately target the source of my disturbance from my gazes of the sun and morning thoughts.
He (I assume) is making a very treacherous journey. There is nothing that distracts him from his focused path. The path is not smooth, rather it is an endless sea of rocky terrain. (The equivalence of this would be a very rocky dirt road.) His footsteps do not hesitate, no not even once. His rate of progression does not change, he does not speed ahead or slow down. I reach for a piece of paper I see laying on the night stand next to me and place it in his path, he finds a way around it (while continuing the same focused direction). It is like he has a built in compass or GPS showing him exactly where to go.
This brings an image to my mind of when I played video games and the character had a destination pointed out to them by the marker on their map. The marker showed on the game screen to let the player know which direction to head. Often times I would have my character travel over rocks, mountains, and through streams…whatever was in its path, to not deter from the path line that lead to the destination.
Aaah, back to the journey maker that is before me. I lay the piece of paper flat on the carpet, even this thin piece of paper creates a step up for him. He walks right up and onto the paper going across it, like it is not even there, paying it no mind. Where is he going, where did he come from…is he on some important mission, is he meeting up with others, is he retrieving a package to take back with him, or is he just merely passing through?
Whatever the case me be, even though he is entering a giant’s world…He is not shaken from his task , at all times he remains focused. There are many obstacles in his way and he manages to overcome all of them. He is brave and a mighty soldier, he shows no fear. There are not many people that are this focused and brave, who do not allow anything around them to distract them or deter them from their mission at hand. Do you know anyone who is like this mighty soldier? Are you a mighty soldier?
I decide to let this soldier go out into the wild. I open the window a crack, leaving the blinds closed and down. I place the paper in front of the soldier, giving him air support to his new surroundings. As I let him crash to the ground outside, without a parachute, I notice there are men in business suits knocking on doors and speaking to people. They do not appear as the salesperson type. They look muscular with dark sunglasses and well shined shoes. Time to collect my things and move on.
My eyes begin to open, adjusting to my surroundings. Where there was once a warm beam of sunshine cascading through the blinds, it is now replaced by only a dim light radiating from the chill of the moon. The contents of my surroundings have been devoured by the darkness which now contains this room.
As I am becoming more conscience of my surroundings, my mind scrambles to remember the previous events leading up to this very moment. Aah yes, it is starting to come back to me.
I was at the window when I glanced the appearance of well-dressed men, trying to blend in…instead sticking out like black roses among a bed of white roses. As I recall, my next action was to leave before my presence was discovered. I had just about everything ready to leave, as I was reaching down to grab my bag, that is when it happened. A dizzy lightheadedness overtook me. As if a fog had invaded my senses and stopped time. Suddenly, moisture was rising from every area of my body, like giant ocean waves. The moisture did not take long to build up on my forehead and drip down my face. Wave after wave of cold ice and pin pricks washed over me, one crashing wave after another. My breathing became heavier as there started a sick feeling originating from the pit of my stomach. Then there was a sense of falling…everything went black. I have no memory of the fall ever completing. The next thing that I remember is that my eyes were opened to this darkness, from one darkness into another.
There is no more time to ponder over what caused this sudden fainting spell. The fear of them finding me and not knowing what their location is now, transcends into racing thoughts and a mountain of anxiety. This would have been a lot easier to deal with had it not been night, but rather day. Easier to see what awaits me and to search my surroundings, before my surroundings are able to search me.
Okay, it is time to get myself together here and find out what I am facing in the here and now. I collect every ounce of courage that I can find within me to creep over to the window. My whole being is very reluctant to do this. However, it is not a point of what I want to do anymore, it is now a matter of what I need to do. And I need to find out if they are still nearby.
My arms are outstretched as I search my way through the darkness to the window (this is not a time for lights when there are too many unknowns). I finally reach the window, for what seems like an eternity being able to arrive to this point, ever so slowly separating the slit of one of the blinds’ rows. My eyes perform a rapid scan of the area, not wanting to take too much time focusing on one action. It is not a comforting feeling standing in the darkness for too long, not knowing what could be sharing that darkness with you. The immediate landscape is vacant, there is not even a single sign of a night creature about. That in itself can seem a little unnerving, it would be nice to share this darkness with a companion, even it was just a field mouse. But alas, there is no field mice and there is no field. I must face the fact that I am completely and utterly alone in this.
Now it is time to try this again. Even though the area has been confirmed as vacant, I still do not want to risk bringing any light into the room. I run my fingers across the bed, an image forms in my mind of my fingers coming in contact with flesh and bone (you never know what lies in the darkness). Instead of a human form, my fingers discover the feel of a heavy canvas texture, its my bag. Once again it is time to carry the weight of my burden and move on.
A Familiar Stranger
In the process of fleeing from the last place of shelter, I noticed an abandoned house nearby. I performed a quick scan of the area, it was clear. I proceeded to the back of the house, quickly and quietly. Once I reached the back, under the cover of darkness, I frantically looked for some type of access point which would deliver me successfully within the interior of the house. I found it! Behind an overgrown bush filled with dead leaves and twigs, it was a small window located close to the ground. From judging the size of the window (for the first time in my life I felt so fortunate to be petite, any other time I would be defensive on the point of my size) I would just barely make it through. I would now have to break the window and drag my body into the unknown.
I put my sweatshirt up to the window glass and gave it a hard kick with my boot (Gotta love 5.11 tactical boots). I carefully removed the remaining pieces of glass from the window’s frame using the sweatshirt as a protective glove. (This was no time for possible cuts and infections, I had to play it safe.) I then laid the sweatshirt down onto the bottom frame of the window, this would provide some protection as I dragged my way in. Suddenly I remembered the flash light I had packed in my bag, it had a red lens…perfect for night time adventures such as these. I flashed the light into the darkness to find a desk or table directly below the window, how convenient. Maybe the previous house owner had concerns of locking themselves out of their home and wanted to provide a way back in, without bringing embarrassment to themselves.
Both me and my bag, safely made it into the house. Now to find a place to lay this weary head.
Morning arrived too quick, I was still savoring my rest. I exited by a rear door, rather than using the custom made entrance from last night. My stomach was growling loudly, so much in fact I thought it would be alerting everyone to my presence. I used my stealth skills and left the area of the abandoned house and blended into the immediate surroundings. My goal was to now find a store with food and not be discovered. I have no clue where the men are now. It is very disturbing when you do not know where the predator will be or where their next steps will take them. I feel almost like a rabbit avoiding the predators of the sky, zigzagging from bush to bush.
I made it to a large marketplace not far from the same neighborhood as the house. It is easier to blend in where there are a lot of others to confuse and distract. Outside the market is a man. This man is dressed in his favorite t-shirt … it has small and medium holes and is worn thin…it has lost its cottony thickness. The pants are made of jean material. On the corner if each pocket the material is a little frayed, the left knee has a rip (which is also frayed), and the thigh area is worn almost to the point of no color. The clothes are not clean they have evidence of dirt and grease, from what?…that is unclear. The hair looks as if it has been through a wind storm, this could mean it is unkempt or it is the going style (it is hard to know the difference now days).
This man has two lovely daughters, both are 3 years of age. His wife has recently died of a horrific event that has changed his life forever. Believe it or not, this man was traveling to work every day wearing a suit and tie. Traveling in the latest trendy sports cars. He had many friends, many co-workers, and such a lovely family. There were dinners at his home every Saturday evening for family and friends. He only ate out at the finest restaurants, no fast food establishments for this man. Major holidays were always filled with laughter, joy, and a full house of guests. Within the home there were only home-made meals, no freezer dinners.
He now comes to this market and sits on the same bench, playing the same song, using his flute to provide the melody. Each time the flute touches his lips, he is taken to days of yesterday, days before his world changed. His life and the lives of his two daughters depend on how the world appreciates his music today, and shows their appreciation and support in the way of coins.
It is funny how others without my gift would look upon this man as a beggar, dirty, disgusting, lazy, looking for a free handout…the list goes on and on, but nothing in the list is compatible with the actual truth.
I reach inside my pocket and produce a $10 bill. I walk up to the business man who loved his wife so dearly and place this bill inside the pocket of his worn out t-shirt. ….And I say to him…I see you…I see you…
(Model Poem: Stonecarver by Carole Simmons Ole)
He started out weak and frail
a babe, lying in the hay
full of innocence:
Having the world already looking to Him,
in His diaper.
His work had already started,
the animals even knew
one, two, and three wise men.
A carpenter’s son
full of wisdom and knowledge
to those in the temple,
He became the one
healing the sick
while taking the abuse
He keeps all in His memory,
the lost and the sick
on earth, living out
He remains faithful to those who
follow, love, and cry,
out to Him
He is the forever strength.
He arrived here weak and frail.
Wisdom and love, was He
full of a humble innocence:
the world already looking to Him,
in His stained diaper.
His work had already begun,
stars directing the way
one, two, and three.
He played a carpenter’s son
already acquainted with nails
to forgive, His love
touching those in the temple,
His unconditional heart.
He was the One who delivered
healing the sick and broken
He took our sin and conquered death
that we could have eternal life.
He knows the heart of each one,
soft-hearted till the very end
enduring all, throughout life
yours and mine.
Rewarded are they who
follow, love, and cry,
out to Him earnestly
eyes drawn to Heaven,
I Am is the forever strength.
“Our Strength” was modeled after the poem “Stonecarver by Carole Simmons Ole (Burroway, 2011).