A Prelude to Silence

Though I am posting A Prelude to Silence in November of 2018, it was initially written in June of 2015, before college. This has sat as an unspoken (ironically speaking) third part to the Novelette, and after rediscovering it, I figure… “Eh, why not?”

As a further note, after three and a half years of life events and God working His unfathomable plan, I will say that there are certain views about future spouse stuff and guy-girl relationships that have changed in my mind, but I am thankful that the heart of what this Novellete speaks of remains unchanged. The characters as well retain their shimmer and connection to my heart and dreams.

Take from this what you will, as will I.

The theater was silent, and rows upon rows of empty seats faced a pair of closed curtains on the stage. Meanwhile, a peculiar draft swayed the curtains ever so slightly, creating somewhat of a haunting presence. It was completely dark in the theater, until, at the sound of a click, followed by a faint reeling sound, streams of light began to escape from between the two curtains as they retreated to opposite sides of the theater, revealing a black, empty stage lit up by the many lights above.

After this ghost-like commotion had come to a conclusion, two pairs of footsteps could be heard coming from the backstage. These reverberating footsteps grew louder and louder until a young man and young woman appeared from the shadows. They slowly strolled across the illuminated stage, coming to a  stop at the front, and with an aura of nervous reflection, faced the empty seats. The air was still, yet perfumed with the aroma of confusion, and both had many things to say, yet were at a loss for words.

“I-..” started young man, letting out a quavering exhale, “I wanted to say goodbye.” He lowered his head, knowing that this was the right thing to do, and the young woman, taking a discreet glance to her left, linked her fingers together in shyness. A moment or two passed while she tried to collect her thoughts, and though she already knew the answer to the following question, she asked, “This won’t happen again?” “No,” he replied, shaking his bowed head. He paused to inhale a shallow breath, knowing the Divine Providence of such an occasion. “It wasn’t for me to decide.” The young woman lowered her gaze, pursing her lips. With a solemn composure of gracefulness, he looked up and to his right, gently smiled, and softly spoke the words, “Thank you.” The young woman turned to her left and smiled back.

The look in his eyes seemed to hold a thousand words, yet he had sufficed to say an unspoken farewell. And so with a humble nod, she turned towards the backstage and began walking to the exit door. However, with every step that she took, the distances in between grew smaller and smaller. She could tell that there was so much he wanted to say, but didn’t say anything; as though he had a grand explanation, but took up the sacrifice of keeping silent.

Sluggishly approaching the outskirts of the backstage, she came to a halt, internally crumbling under such ambiguity. In a most disoriented manner, she quickly turned around to speak, but before a single word could leave her mouth, a cold wave of anguish overwhelmed her. The stage was completely bare, and all that was to be seen in the distance were the silhouettes of empty seats. Yet at the exact spot where he had never stood, there laid an envelope with her name on it. For a brief moment she paused, staring at it with uncertainty, but none the less, she walked towards the front of the stage and gently picked it up. She opened it with delicate fingers, tenderly pulling out the piece of paper, and carefully unfolding it. It read a few, simple words, but they warmed her heart with encouragement, and they said all that needed to be said.

Beneath those few words, however, whether she noticed it or not, there was a subtle undertone. And within such a hidden concept, there was a certain principle to be realized, which is this: just as music does not always consist of sound, but the absence thereof, so does a play on stage. Just because no one is speaking or revealing their identity, does not mean the actors have missed their cues. It does not mean the Director made a mistake, nor does it mean the plot-line has become stagnant.

And although she stands alone in a vacant theater, it does not mean that the play has not already begun. For even though the audience has yet to arrive, the Director has been busy at work, preparing and producing a masterpiece that will echo through time, whether in the world’s knowledge or simply a humble family’s legacy, but certainly in the faith-full archives of heaven. For now, however, He only asks that His two main characters (aside from the Lead Role) seek Him with all that they are, and focus on the scene at hand.

Even so, the paths have been crossed, but not yet intertwined. The costumes have been sown, but not yet worn. The set has been built, but not yet placed. The lines have been scripted, but not yet said. The blocking has been directed, but not yet done. And the cast has been chosen, but not yet realized.

As for her, she only need enjoy the show,
Because God’s plans will move mountains.
The following scenes are of seeking the Lord,

And as for the young man, well…
Silence can speak louder than words.

Tearing Down the Gates of Hell

A morning breeze swept through the air, passing over a thin cloak of darkness covering a modest neighborhood. As houses lined by plants and trees intertwined among paved streets, they all seemed to surround a charming, little park, in the midst of which lay a beautiful, symmetric, cobblestone path, weaving and winding throughout dispersed trees and Narnia-type lamp posts. These lamp posts illuminated the dim pathway with an old shade of orange, creating a surreal feeling of being among another era.

As the first birds began to chirp their morning hymn, two pairs of footsteps could be heard strolling down the cobblestone path. These footsteps grew louder and louder until they slowly came to a stop, and a young man and young woman could be seen standing in front of an old, rusted bench. The young man looked straight ahead to the dark horizon and then sat down in silent approval of the spot. The young woman, with a patient aura of gracefulness, sat down beside him, gazing up at the receding stars.

For awhile, they sat there without saying a word, until the young man broke the silence. In a quiet and distant tone, he said, “I think I understand.” The young woman smiled. There was a momentary pause, but then he added, “Should I be getting used to this?” She shrugged. “That’s not for me to decide.” The young man nodded, acknowledging the divine providence of such an occasion.

A slow gust of wind blew around the two as their eyes began to pick up on the dark shades of yellow and red, caressing the distant horizon. It was an early morning in the spring, yet in the midst of such a chilly calm, the two of them seemed to keep warm, almost as if the presence of the other was enough.

After quite some time of peaceful stillness, the young man softly spoke, “Hello.” A sarcastic smile glazed the young woman’s face as she glanced over at him. “Hello,” she replied with something of a composed laugh, “That’s what I wanted to say.” The young man paused, grinned, and took a deep breath. “I wanted to say it this time.” “And why’s that?” she asked, continuing to observe his expression. There was a long pause. The young man’s eyes seemed to quiver as he looked down at his cold hands. “Because, I’ve been wanting to say it for so long, and I thought I’d take you up on your offer.” The young man anxiously twiddled his thumbs as he looked over, gazing into her eyes. “So, hello.”

The twinkle in his eyes melted her heart as blood involuntarily rushed to her cheeks. This being the case, she broke the enchanting gaze and returned her attention to the horizon. The young man, embarrassed by this interaction, looked back to the horizon as well, but then shut his eyes in dismay. His thoughts trembled as half of him wished that when he opened his eyes, she wasn’t there. But when he reopened his eyes, he looked over and saw her there, sitting patiently, adoringly observing the faint shades of orange above the skyline.

She noticed this glance, however, and looked back at him. “Was there something you wanted to tell me?” she asked. He quickly looked away and cleared his throat. “What? Me?” She laughed. “Yes! You! Weren’t you the one that wanted to say ‘Hello’?” The young man acquiesced to her remark and gave in to a huge smile. His eyes attempted to pick up the hint of a rising sun as she continued to look at him.

“I-I don’t deserve you,” he said, blinking multiple times as if to shield the moistness of his eyes from escaping. The big smile on his face suddenly melted into a nervous grin. “And, well, none of this makes sense.” The young woman tilted her head. “What doesn’t make sense?” The young man glanced over to pick up on her questioning look. “Like I said, I don’t deserve you. Why God put you with me, I’ll never know. And so, I feel bad that you have to spend the rest of your life with someone like me. I mean, I’ve made so many mistakes. I have so much baggage, not that I haven’t placed it all at the Lord’s feet, but I have so many things left to work on, and you deserve a guy who can be the guy that you deserve to have: someone who is cool, super intelligent, probably better looking, maybe taller, can grow a cooler beard, maybe less of a stutter and slur on the back of his tongue. An-“

“Stop,” she said firmly with a tear in her eye. Her attention was still fixed intently on the young man as he looked off into the yellowish distance. “Why do you love me?” she asked. The young man immediately looked at her. With boldness, he replied, “It’s a decision! Just like Christ died for the Church, I’m called to die for you. And even though the Church was originally the crowd nailing Christ to the cross, I choose to love you, no matter what. Even if God doesn’t open the first doors between us for years and years, I’m willing to wait, sacrificing for you all the while. Because if I don’t sacrifice for you now, I won’t sacrifice for you then. Love isn’t a feeling. Christ chose the cross, and even His feelings said otherwise! True love isn’t something to fall into, it’s something to grow into! And God’s chosen me to be yours, that’s why.” The young woman nodded in awe and appreciation of such God-given chivalry, as the small tear began to trickle down her cheek. She bowed her head in an attempt hide the tear, but while trying to wipe it away with her sleeve, she shyly looked up with an innocent smile. At the sight of this, the young man broke away from her gaze and looked back to the horizon, gleaming with different shades and mixes of reds, oranges, yellows, and blues.

The first ray of sunlight showed through the trees of the park, turning off the nearby lamp post with a mechanical click. “Why don’t you deserve me?” she slowly asked. The young man’s eyes turned to her, but then veered off of her and into the distant trees behind her. “Because,” he mumbled, “because I know what you are to be.” There was a slight pause, mixed with confusion, resulting in her asking, “How’s that?” The young man looked back down at his cold hands, and leaned over, placing his elbows on his knees. He opened his mouth to speak, but the words seemed to escape him, yet he pressed through with a slight stutter.

“I-I pray for you. Every single morning, I pray for you. Every day, I pray that God will do the most radical things in your life. I boldly go before the throne and I plead with God that you seek Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. I boldly ask Him that you be the next Amy Carmichael, Mary Slessor, Sabina Wurmbrand, Elisabeth Elliot, and Corrie ten Boom of this generation. I pray that your prayer life is that of a warrior-poet. I pray that every demon, including Satan, trembles for fear when you get on your knees and pray. I pray that the gates of hell be torn down at the sound of your bold prayers. I pray, every day, that when you get in the Word, you take every jot and tittle as fact and then throw your life onto the promises of God, knowing full well that He will not fail you. I pray that God will prepare you to the utmost for the war that He has called you and me to fight. I pray that you break away from the youthful lies of this generation and that you stand up as Ezekiel did on Mount Carmel, undaunted by the false prophets of the modern day. And above all else, I pray these things in full faith, in the name of Jesus Christ, knowing that God will not deny me any request that I make for you! And I know for a fact that each and every request will be so. That is why I don’t deserve you because a princess ought to have a prince fit for her hand.”

The young man looked up from his shaking hands and saw the young woman’s eyes streaming with tears. Her sleeves were wet from wiping each tear away, and an adoring smile pierced through her blushing cheeks. This emotion seemed to translate into his veins because his shaking hands seemed to intensify as his moist eyes began to accumulate the ingredients for tears.

“So tell me, do I love you?” she asked in a quavering voice. This question took the young man off guard, and embarrassment flooded through his very being. His eyes widened as he stiffly sat up, and he could feel all of his muscles become tense. He attempted to open his mouth, but his jaw was clenched in fear. How was he supposed to answer a question like that? She continued with a waver in her voice, “For the relationship between Christ and the Church to work, in its full beauty and intimacy, the Church must return Christ’s love in full force. So tell me, will a single drop of your love go unreturned? Doesn’t love provoke more love?” Once more, he was speechless. His eyes began to water with a well of tears ready to explode, and the rising sun reflected these tears with a glorious shimmer. She finished by tenderly saying, “And don’t ever forget, even when you fail to love me as you ought, my focus will never be taken off of the love of Christ, and no matter who you are or what you do, I’ll love you to the death.”

The young man burst into tears as he stood up, turning his back to her. His clenched hand rose to conceal his mouth, as his other arm attempted to support his collapsing chest. He endeavored to step forward, but his knees collapsed, folding in on themselves, and so the young man covered his eyes in shameful agony, hanging his head over the ground. “I-… I-…” “I know,” she said in a soft tone, followed by a creaking of the old, rusted bench. The young man, realizing that she had left the bench, removed his hands for a split second when he saw her gentle, caring eyes, side by side with his. A new rush of humiliation overwhelmed him, as his hands retreated to shield his red eyes once more. “My friend,” she whispered, “it’s you I don’t deserve.”

The young man wept, and wept, and wept. His thoughts had been so full of love for her, he had never once considered the love that she had for him, her future husband. As he slowly removed his hands from over his bloodshot eyes, his feeble knees and elbows barely managed to hoist him up off the ground. He turned around to view the old, rusted bench, where there lay a giant pile of leaves, guarding where she had never sat. And so, acknowledging her absence, he stumbled over to the bench and sat back down. Yet, in the midst of his melancholy nostalgia, he could still hear her voice echoing along the cobblestone path.

“There are yet many doors to be opened,”

“So I’ll trust the Lord to lead me through each and every one,”

“And I’ll always be waiting patiently on the other side,”

“As shall I always long to see you on the other side,”

“And until each door, I’ll be tearing down as many bars as I possibly can,”

“As shall I be tearing down as many bars as I possibly can,”

“For as God leads us through each and every door to follow,”

“We’ll tear down the gates of hell,”

“Together!”

Exert force here to read on – the novelette continues…

Quiescence

The night sky was crystal clear, unfolding rows upon rows of glistening stars. This picturesque view was pleasantly reflected by a quiet still lake surrounded by trees. However, a short distance out from where the trees ended, an old dock extended into the midst of the water, braving the cold chill that carried the breeze along.

As the chorus of crickets harmonized with the wind above the water, two pairs of footsteps could be heard in the distance. The crinkling of leaves soon turned into the creaking of wood as a young man and young woman gradually walked towards the end of the old dock.

The young man took a deep breath as a shy smile shivered its way into forming the words, “It’s beautiful.” An innocent laughed escaped the young woman, “Yes, it is.” The young man glanced to his right, observing her eyes. She, noticing his glance, looked back and observed his puzzled gaze. “I don’t understand,” he remarked. She hesitated, but soon after responded, “I wanted to say hello.” He, after hearing this, slowly looked up to the stars and nodded, only to look back to the still lake canvassing the distance. A murmur escaped him, hesitantly asking, “Will this happen again?” “That’s not for me to decide,” she said, as he let out a deep breath, replying, “Of course.”

Silence replaced their words for quite some time, accompanied by the ever-so-diligent crickets. However, the moments remained frozen, for just as the scenery leaned in to hear their words, the crickets knew very well that they were merely but an accompaniment for the arrangement to follow.

It was only a matter of time before the young man, once again, broke the silence. “I’m sorry. I-… I’ve been looking for you for so long, and,” he took a deep breath. “I…- I just… I can’t seem to find you.” Her response contrasted his worry, as she softly said, “I understand.” This provoked a smile from the young man, releasing some present tension.

In a casual manner, the young woman turned to her left and asked, “Do you trust God?” The young man, taken back by this question, turned to her very calmly. “I do.” “Then why do you search for me?” she asked. The young man turned his head to the trees, pondering the implications and meanings behind her question. A guilty sigh escaped his breath. “Because everyone else is.” She shook her head. “That’s not trusting God, that’s self-gratification.” Acknowledging this rebuke, he said, “I know.”

Knowing that her point was made, she turned back to face the lake, as did he. A grand smile crossed the young woman’s face as she looked to the stars. “They’re so beautiful, and God made them all. He designed the finest detail of the furthest star, and He did it all to showcase His power and glory.” The young man smiled and nodded. “It’s unfathomable.” She continued by saying, “And just think, as beautiful as the universe is, Christ’s love is even more beautiful.” She paused to look at him and slowly asked, “so then, why would you not trust Him to bring me to you?”

The young man’s gaze fell from the stars to the water below the old dock. His voice quavered in saying, “I’m always mistaking others for who you could be. Some days, I walk into the store, and it’s like I see your eyes. Other days, I hear a voice, so I turn around, but it’s someone else. The worst is when I pursue someone who I think could be you, only to have a foundation crumble beneath her and me, leaving us to go our separate ways.” “And why do you pursue them?” He hesitated because he knew the final reason for his response, “I long for a love story like everyone else… I mean, who doesn’t like a good ‘high-school sweetheart’ story? Who doesn’t like a story that grew and grew beneath all the scenes, only to reappear as something more than what it was?”

“You long for a beginning that starts with you,” she responded. He nodded and added, “I know.”

It was once again silent for some time as the both of them stood in awe of the stars and surrounding water. It was clear to each of them that the other was deep in thought. Meanwhile, an ever so slight smile crossed her face as she quietly asked, “Are you willing for me not to be?” The young man’s eyes widened at the thought. “What do you mean?” The tone of her smile crossed over into her eyes which turned to look at him. She paused and then gently asked, “Are you willing to never marry me? Are you willing to give me up only to pursue your King in all His fullness; to hand me over to Christ and let Him make all the decisions?” A chill ran up the young man’s spine like a train, only to crash into his heart and explode.

This explosion ignited a flame of indignation, which caused him to turn around and begin walking away. In a panic, she turned around, reaching out to him, pleading, “No, don’t go!” These words reverberated across the whole lake, reflecting off of the trees, causing every insect to fall under an enormous hush. It was as though even the stars were leaning in to watch what was to happen next. Those words hung mid-air, stopping the young man in his steps. “Please…” she said in a tearful voice, “don’t leave me…” He slowly turned around to see her gentle eyes watering with tears. The tears in her eyes reminded him of who he was to be for her: her protector, her adorer, her knight in shining armor, her friend that had promised to never leave her, in sickness or health. Realizing his pride, he walked back to her side with the words, “forgive me.”

A smile returned as she wiped her tears and said, “I do.

“But oh, you have to understand. When I am held to a higher standard than your pursuit of God, when you are not fully surrendered to Him ‘for my sake’, you’ve failed me.” The young man trembled as he could feel his walls of pride crumbling to the ground. “I am not asking you to run in the opposite direction. I am asking you to seek the Lord. Please, you cannot seek me and the Lord at the same time.” He slowly nodded, but then she continued to ask once more, “Are you willing to seek the Lord and give up all possibility that He will ever place me at your side, meanwhile, joyfully following in His perfect will?!” Tears began to fall from his eyes as he gazed up at the stars. They were so beautiful, and he could not help but think of Christ’s love of being even more beautiful. Oh, the joy of loving and serving a God who has such an infinitely greater love.

Knowing full well what saying the next few words would mean for his future, he wiped the tears from his eyes and said, “I am.”

The young woman let out a sigh of relief in response, followed by a question. “That being the case, with regards to me, will you do something?” The young man looked at her and said, “Anything.” She smiled and replied, “Then please, do nothing.” A confused look crossed the young man’s face. “Nothing?” “Nothing,” she said. “If God is to bring us together, let Him bring us together.” The young man crossed his arms and tilted his head, longing for an even further explanation.

“Psalms 27:13-14 says, ‘I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.’

“Psalms 33:20-22 says, ‘Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.’

“Psalms 37:3-5 says, ‘Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.’

“Proverbs 3:5-6 says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.'”

The young man smiled at the young woman standing beside him. “Thank you. I’ll remember those.” She smiled back saying, “Good.” she paused to formulate what to say next. “Don’t wait on me, because if you wait on Who you’re supposed to, then as far as I go, someday, you might not have to.” He gave a firm nod, acknowledging her words. His eyes returned to the night sky, scanning the stars.

“It’s out of my hands, but should you, one day, be at my side, until then…”

His gaze toward the stars turned to his right, however, he saw nothing but trees lining the lake shore. Never before so appalled, he turned around in dismay, fixing his gaze upon the old dock. It was then that he noticed a layer of dust that spread across the deteriorated wood; only one pair of footprints was visible.

“Until then, I will seek His face,
And He will show me who you are in due time.”

Exert force here to read on – the novelette continues…