broken record

How many times had she walked around that walled city? She had lost count as the sense of déjà vu increased and she became ever-better acquainted with the blinding boundaries that stood between her and the promises she longed for.

She asked herself, “How will this bring these walls to their feet?” But doubt’s attempts to sink its claws into her heart were always silenced by her father’s words again: “I have already delivered this city into your hands. March around it until you hear the sound.”

At first the burden of uncertainty would take her thoughts, feelings and actions hostage. Stopping in her tracks she would refuse to take another step, but sooner or later the words she had written on the palms of her hands would ring clearly in her mind, urging her on her way: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a woman, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

It seemed to her that countless things had been lost on the journey and yet the most precious gifts her father had given her for the road – faith, hope and love – remained.

“Where did this journey start? Where does it end?” she asked the silence as she ran her fingers over the wall’s familiar surface, trying to imagine its absence. But no answer came as she put one foot in front of the other and shaded her eyes from the unrelenting light. When the trumpet sounded she stopped and searched the skies and the desert landscape for a source, but as she closed her eyes she realised that the sound was coming from inside her. She opened her mouth and let it flow out, shattering the silence and the light in its wake. The wall’s demise started softly like thunder brewing in the distance, but as it spread the crumbling stones released an anguished roar of defeat.

Her heart beat at an impossible pace as she stood and waited for the dust to settle so she could see.

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