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Dark Bondage Part II | Tim Tron – Blue Ridge Christian News

Dark Bondage Part II

by Timothy W. Tron

Burke CountyTim Tron Burke County

Continued from last month’s story…

We find Stephen, a young man who has suffered his whole life with a chronic illness, seemingly lost in the wilderness. Yet, from the moment the vessel where he found comfort was released from the shore, it was as if Stephen was being released from the bondage that had held him captive. The battle with addictions had all but consumed his life, yet now he faces the greatest challenge of his existence: the battle for his mortal soul. In his journey, he is not alone. A force is leading him, guiding him, even though he claims not to believe in such things.

Our story resumes as Stephen happens upon a stone cottage still shrouded in early morning darkness. Inside, an old soul and his pet wolf have long prepared for such a day. They are there for a purpose, but for what?

That is for you to discover…

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Standing at the outer edge of the realm of darkness, just beyond the emanating lamplight from within, Stephen considered his next move. The dwelling looked as if it had been built in an ancient time; the slate roof reflected the coming dawn as the glow from the windows painted the stone walls a buttery hue, a delicious glow that beckoned him all the more. Still, not knowing the demeanor of the inhabitants within, Stephen groveled deep within his soul – should he dare knock, or should he go on? Like a man wrestling with a power greater than his own, he eventually succumbed to the pressure and moved forward. He stepped upon the stone porch and raised the heavy iron handle of the door knocker, pausing, questioning why he was even here and what he was about to do.

Then he dropped the metal handle, which fell with a loud thud on the massive wooden door.

From within, the sounds of footsteps shuffling toward him could be heard – then a pause. Stephen momentarily swallowed a hard gulp of air, asking for protection in a silent thought – to whom he didn’t know.

Then, the creak of the lock.

When the door opened, a swoosh of warmth and a welcoming light from within flooded the porch, embracing Stephen. What he saw before him caused his heart to pause. For a moment, his senses could not contain the overwhelming tumult of thoughts that ran through his mind. He was speechless, yet he felt something he had not known in many years or possibly ever. He stepped backward, catching the edge of the step with the toe of his boot, nearly tumbling to the ground before he caught himself.

The light emanating from behind the figure made it difficult to see clearly, but it was enough of the image for Stephen to recognize the familiar shape and dress of his dear grandma, Mildred. With one hand, she held the door open while the other was gently sitting on top of a small child’s head, a little boy, perhaps four or five years of age.

“Stephen, is that you?”

He tried to speak, but the words could not get past the lump of emotion in his throat.

She opened the door a little wider, allowing more of the lamplight to shine upon her countenance, absolving all doubt. To further remove any uncertainty, around her neck hung his gift from so long ago: the tiny wooden cross—”first the tree in the meadow, now this?”

Breaking the trance, Mildred welcoming called out to him, “Come on in here before you catch a chill.”

Still unsure if he was dreaming or if this was real, he couldn’t resist the call to join his beloved grandmother once again. He stepped back up on the porch and walked past the threshold of the stone walls. Immediately, once inside, he felt a powerful emotion come over him. The familiar smells of his childhood enveloped his senses, wrapping around his heart like a comforting blanket. As she closed the door behind him, she continued, “We’re so glad you have finally come home. We’ve been waiting for you for so long.” As he stepped past her, she reached for his coat of fur, “Let me help you with that,” she said, gently removing his outer garment and hanging it behind the door on a hook. “Now, come here, and let me give you a hug.” She then wrapped her loving arms around him, embracing him as only his grandma could. Then, as if wanting to size him up, she held him at arm’s length, looking him over. Her long silver hair was braided and pulled back behind her head in the customary bun Stephen had always known. She proudly exclaimed, “We had almost given up on you, child.” The words pierced his heart of stone, resonating deep within.

Suddenly, Stephen was overcome with a sense of guilt for the sin in his life that percolated to the surface – there was no hiding. It was as if she could see through him and into his very soul. Unclean, he wanted to be free of it all, shed the past, erase the memory of addiction, the hate, and the vile mouth that had hurt so many. He saw himself as he was and was disgusted beyond reproach.  A spirit of repentance came over Stephen, unlike anything he had ever known nor sought to know. It was like the power of a mighty waterfall, crashing into the depths of his blackened soul, began to engulf his being. The years of suffering, pain, and anguish all seemed to be suddenly washed away. Falling to his knees, he couldn’t stop the tsunami of emotion; Stephen began weeping uncontrollably, gasping for air through the torrent of recompense. The little child sat at his side as Mildred came near him, kneeling and lovingly placing her arm across his shoulders, not speaking, just comforting as only a grandmother could.

Streams of tears and mucus ran from his nose in embarrassing pools upon the floor beneath where he knelt. He tried to speak, but the only words that would escape his convulsing lungs were, “Please forgive me.” All the while, the love of the one who knew him best poured into his emptying soul. Faster than the evil could leave, the agape poured within.

Time stood still as the young man, in the presence of something greater than himself, began to slowly regain control of his bodily emotions. Each time he looked up at the one knelt beside him, the tears would well up into his eyes. Each time, that loving face would embrace him again and whisper in his ear, “You were never alone, my son; you were never alone.” Stephen looked in the other direction, and there, the little child sat cross-legged on the floor, smiling ear-to-ear, acknowledging the triumph of the Spirit before him. The child never said a word, but his face, one that seemed oddly familiar, spoke volumes.

When he had finally collected himself, Mildred helped him over to the kitchen table, where a freshly cooked apple pie, his favorite, awaited. Stephen felt different; something was missing. He couldn’t put his finger on it but was distracted when the little boy joined them, sitting at the end of the table on one end of a well-worn bench. Suddenly, Stephen realized something that shook him to his core. That bench, that spot where the child now sat, had once been his favorite in his grandma’s kitchen. His head began to spin again, yet the well was dry; there was no more emotion from which to claim.

“Can I ask a question, Grandma? And please, please, don’t think me rude, for I would not trade this experience for anything in the world. But why am I here? Where are we? Is this a dream?”

“That sounds like more than one question, my dear,” she said with that old familiar mischievous twinkle in her eye. She went to the cupboard, pulled out three small plates and forks, and reached beneath the sink to grab three tin cups, setting them all on the table before him.

Stephen laughed, “Okay, okay, yes, I did ask too many questions, but you have to understand this,” he pointed to the room and then to his grandma, “This is just all so much for me to take in. You do understand, don’t you?”

“Oh, yes, my son, yes, I get it.” She was now carefully, while continuing to listen, began setting the table with the meager tableware.

“But I heard your voice in the dream when I was still in the canoe and thought that that would have been wonderful enough. But now this, here with you,” he had to pause for the knot in his throat was growing again. “And to feel love like I had never remembered, or possibly ever known. It’s as if something has removed all the darkness from inside me, as if…” Again, he had to pause, waiting for the chorus of heartbeats to abate in his ears, “Could I be healed as well? How is any of this possible?”

While he spoke, Mildred cut the pie and placed a slice on each plate, then put them before each of them, Stephen and the little boy, and the last for herself.

“You are asking a lot of outstanding questions.” She took her place at the head of the table nearest the wood stove, slowly sitting into the well-worn kitchen chair. “But to answer your questions, we first must ask, what is it you seek?” She paused as she was about to take a bite of the pie, “What have you sought but never found the answer?”

Stephen thought back to the last few years and the hopelessness of his life – the chronic pain, the prescription drugs, the alcohol, and then the emptiness it all left within his soul. He knew there was something else, but he had forgotten the things she had taught him as a child. As he pondered over these bewildering memories, one returned, like the welcoming dawn of a new day after the darkest storm – it was Jesus.

The color washed from Stephen’s face as he sat in stunned silence. “How could he have forgotten,” he thought silently. His mind raced back to the convulsions of rebirth just moments before, and the image of Christ on the cross came to mind, dying for his sins, the anguish, pain, and suffering – the bleeding drops of red falling from his Savior’s body onto the earth below, the ground crying out to the heavens above. Unlike Cain slaying Able, the scene at Calvary was to become a victory over death so that by Jesus’ sacrifice, we might have eternal life. Again, a flood of emotion, of thankfulness, enveloped his mind as he fought back the tears.

Then, out of the blue, another revelation came, “There’s no more pain,” he said under his breath.

“I see from the look on your face that you do remember something?”

Stephen nodded his head, yes, still unable to speak as the mixed emotions spun around in his head, the snow globe of memory, redemption, and turmoil all spinning out of control.

“My son, when you seek Him, Jesus, to come into your heart, you will become a new man. The old will die away, and you will be made new. The old man is gone. Your sins have been forgiven. As you have just experienced, the sins of this world, those lusts of your flesh, have been washed away. You have been healed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, you are now given a new spirit, an eternal life with Him.”

Stephen sat dumbfounded. It was true. He had just realized the significance of the moment, yet he could not understand how he got here or where “here” actually was. His head spun with the relevance of all that was happening.

“Now eat up, Stephen, your pie is getting cold.”

He smiled and obliged, tasting the succulence of his favorite dessert melt in his mouth. They continued talking for a long time, sharing memories – of faith and hope. The child eventually got up and went to lie on a pallet by the fireplace, falling asleep. As the day turned to night, Stephen’s eyelids grew heavy.

“My son, you are tired, and the day has been long. You need to rest.”

Stephen nodded, barely able to hold up his head.

“I’ve prepared a place for you in the loft,” she said, pointing to the room above the kitchen. Climb up the ladder there, and you’ll find everything you need. We’ll continue our conversation in the morning.”

Happy to rest, Stephen found his way up to the loft, where he fell asleep before his head touched the downy softness of the pillow on his grandma’s feather bed.

The next morning, Stephen awoke to the smell of bacon frying. He smiled as he stretched beneath the covers. The usual pain that accompanied most mornings was gone. He felt fresh and renewed. If he didn’t know better, he’d say he was inside a new body, definitely not the one he had come to know in recent years. Then, he remembered the events of the previous day. “Could it be true?” he asked himself.

He arose, got dressed, and started to climb down below to continue to the beautiful dream. But as he grasped the top of the ladder to begin his descent, his heart froze. Once more, he was about to find his preconceived notions of the world before him were about to be challenged in ways he could not know.

To be continued…

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Timothy W. Tron lives in Collettsville, NC. with his family. He is currently the Systems Administrator for the Computer Science Department at App. State. Timothy is the former Director of the Trail of Faith in Valdese, where he still volunteers and helps with tours. He is the author of a new Christian series, “Children of the Light”, with the first book being, “Bruecke to Heaven”, revised as “Bridge to Heaven”, and his recent book, being the second, “The Light in the Darkness”. He is an active blogger, artist, and musician. Timothy also has a BSEE from UF, and is a Lay Speaker. He is currently acting as the Faculty/Staff Liaison for the Ratio Christi campus ministry at App. State. He can be reached at [email protected]  You can visit his website at //www.timothywtron.com/ or see more of his writings HERE

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