Sunday Fiction: Oils of Mercy

When Sarah looked in the first and second drawers and it wasn’t there, she wasn’t bothered but when she got to the last drawer and it still wasn’t there, she grew restless. Her fluid movements became jerky with panic as each new hiding spot proved empty. In her mind, its image remained clear and focused so she closed her eyes for just a second and let its calming half-presence wash over her.

A second turned into a minute as she clung to it, refusing to let it blur: refusing to leave the crevice of her mind. It was a joy to behold. No! It was her god – this beautiful creature of her making that she forever looked up to. There was a confident reassurance in the way it never let her down instead, serving as a reflection of her future. It was the original masterpiece and she, a fake copy trying her hardest to mask as an original.

It smiled at her, encouraging her. She laughed with pure pleasure as she looked to a bright future where she was also a masterpiece to be revered. But after a quick self-examination, Sarah found herself wanting. Its flowers were perfect strokes of talent and hers, the clumsy strokes of a child painter. And why had she been filled with a common grey when it was filled with a deep and meaningful blue? She fled her mind realising that even her imitation wasn’t good enough.

Perhaps it wasn’t of this world but of another time when perfection was easier to attain so Sarah re-packed her hopes and picked up her Bible. Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses . . . One by one, it rejected them so she searched some more running from Samuel to David before finally stopping at Malachi. Sarah struggled against her failure refusing to accept her imperfections and her failures.

Determined, she opened the Bible again. Jesus. The more she learnt, the more Messiah burned it from her mind like Moses had burned the golden calf to ashes. Sarah closed the Bible and smiled as if refreshed. There was no it. There was only Jesus. She allowed her God into her mind and began to imitate him. And when her colours didn’t match his or when her lines were a direct opposite to her, he wouldn’t allow self-hate to take over. He simply mixed oils of mercy and paints of grace and changed it for her.

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face, just don’t turn away

By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North


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