Sunday, December 25, 2011
The Longing: A Christmas Short Story
Imagine that you're waking up on the floor of a hospital hallway. It's completely dark and completely silent, except for the distant sounds of medical machines beeping. You have the distinct feeling that someone is after you.
You get up off the floor and pull out your cell phone to use as a light to navigate the darkness. You start going into all the rooms, looking for somebody, but you discover that the hospital is completely empty of people. Except for you and the person you suspect is after you.
You start running down the halls, desperately looking for an exit, but it seems like the halls are never ending. Finally, you find a door with an EXIT sign above it. You go through the door, but instead of finding yourself outside, you find yourself in the exact spot where you woke up in the hospital.
You try to stay calm. There has to be a way out of this. You're not sure that someone is after you, but you just have that feeling. You suddenly hear a beeping noise coming from your hand. It's your phone. Your battery is low. You only have a few more minutes before your light goes out and leaves you in the darkness.
You're ready to throw the phone against the wall in a fit of frustration when you hear the sound of someone moving twenty feet behind you. Instinctively, you know this can't be good. Your fight-or-flight reflexes take over and you're running through the hospital hallways again, hoping you don't run into a wall in the blackness.
You run for what seems like miles, and you finally feel that you might have gotten away, so you stop. You bend over, trying to catch your breath, listening for movement. Everything is silent once again. Your phone beeps again to tell you that it's almost time to say goodbye. You try to fight the panicky feeling rising up inside of you.
In the darkness, you're desperate for light, for something good in the midst of all the bad. Someone to rescue you. From what, you're not sure.
You shine your light all around you because you feel like you need to, and you stop because up ahead you see a person facing away from you, dressed in all black. The person is wearing a ski mask. They're not moving at all. This has to be who is after you. You know you should run, but you're sick of running. It hasn't gotten you anywhere.
You're suddenly overcome with this need to find out who this person is and why they're after you. So, silently and quickly you walk toward them and reach out to pull the mask off. As you're pulling it, the person turns around and you shine the light in their face. Actually, in your face, because it's you that you've just discovered is after you.
Suddenly you realize that the person after you is yourself, but specifically the person is the one thing that has always haunted you. More than just something you've ever done, but something you've always felt you've been missing that your soul desperately needs. It's the one thing that keeps you from being satisfied with life. It's the need for something to fill the hole inside of you. And now it's turned into a person with your face on it, and it's after you.
Suddenly the instinct to run kicks in again, and the person who is you begins chasing after you. The closer you get to yourself, the more you feel the burning longing inside for something you're not sure of, but you know is really good.
It's the one thing you need. It's the one thing that will stop you from being your own worst enemy. The one thing that will reconnect you to a love you're sure you've lost.
It has to be somewhere in this hospital. Because you can't get out of the hospital, and if it were on the outside, it couldn't help you. You could never reach it because the hospital won't let you out. But if it were on the inside, then there's hope. So you keep running, in complete darkness because your cell phone has finally died.
Every few steps you feel your own warm breath on the back of your neck from your pursuer. Your pursuer could just grab you, but it doesn't. It's taunting you. If only your one desperate Need could be inside the hospital for you to find. As that thought flows through your mind, a sudden burst of light appears up ahead. It's a spotlight, shining down on something on the floor.
What could it be?
You run toward it, and as you get closer, you hear a tiny voice crying. You know that sound. You've heard it before, but this time it's much different. You seem to know that it belongs to someone bigger than you've ever known.
You reach the spotlight. You look down. The spotlight is shining down on a tiny baby boy. The baby is wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in what looks like an animal feeding trough. You look behind you and your pursuer is gone. The longing inside has also disappeared because the one thing you desperately needed came into the hospital in the form of this tiny little baby.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. -John 1:14
Photo Credit: Greg Lawler on Flickr