SIGH, © 2008 by Mid Stutsman, is a compilation of short inspirational "moments". I sent it to the Writer's Digest 2008 Short Story Contest, and it was awarded Honorable Mention and placed 17th out 100 entries in the Inspirational category. There were over 17,000 entries over all.

There are moments when God chooses to reveal His heart and mind. Each brief unveiling gives us a glimpse of His love in a revelation that can permeate our sphere of being and change our lives…if we dare to let it.

Metamorphic Dawn
A soft blush of rose spreads across the early morning horizon against the fading hue of indigo blue. Trees appear as charcoal sketches, dark silhouettes backlit by a numinous moon. The wind has not yet awakened, and a spiritual hush wraps me in its soft cocoon. I stand breathless, like a butterfly emerging from the womb of transformation. A moment in God’s presence always inspires change…I will never be the same.

Morning light pierces the darkness, chases it away, and as night fades, revelation illuminates my soul. The light emerges victorious, dimly at first, building towards its zenith, then slowly allowing truth to take hold, before quietly giving deference to the dark again. Two forces vie for the heart of mankind, two opposite concepts in a give and take struggle for eminence--but not for long. The time is at hand when there will be neither day nor night, when the Light will be revealed as He who rules with perfect I long to open my eyes

Beyond Understanding
Wrapped in the tender embrace of the wind, whispering ancient secrets, my spirit awakens to Eternal Dimensions. I am aware of a Presence calling me: to see beyond the glow of the orb hanging red within the haze; to hear more than the roar of the falls, its rainbow spray anointing my face; to be still and listen as His voice speaks my name… “Remove your shoes, this is Holy Ground.”

My naked feet sink into the earth, and I am reduced to the texture of the rocks that frame the basis of my world. Stripped of pride, elevated from mere wonder, I stretch forth my hands in the freedom of pure worship. The connection is completed--my heart to the Son’s, His to the Father’s. I no longer simply know...I now am known.

Red morning sun stretches its glowing fingers upward, gracing the sky, gracing my life, praising the Creator of the day. Golden beams streak through pink glazed heavens, stirring the complacent dawn to life, coaxing the south wind from its hiding place.

Spring tiptoes through the snow and whispers warm secrets to the awakening earth. Her footprints melt into flowered patterns of pastel fragrance. The earth yawns, and I put away the sleepy restraints of winter hibernation. Awake, awake, my soul…something deeper calls.

In the Stillness of Quiet
In the stillness of quiet, I sense your Presence, away from the din of lips moving--hearts complacent. I hear Your voice in the deepest calm of submission, where I become a shadow, cast by Your silhouette against the Light of Day. Touch my lips with the coals of Holy Fire, Lord; let me not utter hollow praise. Keep my heart beating in the palm of Your hand, lest I stray from Your purpose and be found wanting. See me, Lord, through the prism of Your grace…color me with Your Love.

A desolate land sculpted from ice and scoured by blizzards, stretches out like a cold graveyard. Towering headstones whisper death, while an icy blast of the cruel north winds sucks the life from the mere mention of hope.
It is all a deception. Only the deadwood is cast off; the heartwood remains strong, the roots deep. His hands shape and life becomes. His voice speaks and life begins. His heart beats, “Peace; be still.” And so, I rest.

Then comes to my window the sound of doves’ wings. The warmth of the south winds prevail, melting away doubt and despair, revealing the Truth that had been hidden from my heart. I am His Beloved. Winter will not last forever. Even now, the promised flower of Spring emerges through the cold depths of time. I watch…lest I miss its appearance.

Desert Rose
The joy of knowing I am Yours is a stream flowing through the desert of my heart. The stream becomes a river, overflowing its banks. Life comes to a barren wilderness. Fill me with Your hope, Lord…give me the grace to bloom

Eden, My Own
The aftermath of a summer storm bestows a breath of fresh air upon my garden. Framed beneath a shimmering arch of colors, flowers glisten with prismatic brilliance. Emerald treasures dart between the dwindling raindrops and pause to hover in search of nectar. Butterflies skim the wet earth in search of nourishment. In a moment of trust, one of them lightly graces my fingertip. Could there be a more perfect paradise? I can think of only one…

Wood Thrush
Silvery tones of a sweet refrain pull me from the edge of dreams steeped in the indigo shadows of night. Elusive flute. A feathered reed, speckled brown with sunlight streaks.

Split harmonies crescendo through your earthen pipes and fall through the air like crystal rain. My spirit soars on the edge of your wings, set free by the lyrics of summer's song, trilling through the glow of dawn, until the hush of twilight's calling. The air shivers with your melodic praise…I stretch out my arms to embrace your passion of being.

Color Wheel
Misty days. Rain filters through my heart, until it becomes water logged. There is no day or night. Gray sabotages any effort to be constructive or creative, turning me into a mindless creature without motivation, until His Spirit opens my eyes to see gloom as just an illusion of the mind. A closer look at a single droplet of moisture reveals all the colors of the rainbow waiting to burst into life. A wet leaf is intensely green. Rocks once dull, now shine with God's hidden secrets.

Like a blossom opening, I unfold from my fetal position of resignation and explore the deeper dimensions of this new spiritual awareness. Beyond the monotone background, above the clouds once saturated with despair, I bask in the Light that was there all along…I simply had to draw back the curtains of my heart to let it in.

The sun heralds a new day, a new beginning. The moon declares its end, and the cycle of day and night signals the continuance of life, adds another wrinkle, another gray hair, another reminder of human frailty and mortality. We mark the passage of time with celebration and regret, thrilling to a new sunrise, catching our breath when it sets. We find joy in a new life and mourn the passing of the old. Our steps keep time to the ticking of the clock. Like a metronome, it governs the rhythm of life, and we alone have the power to decide if we will walk in harmony…or ruin the concert

The early rays of the sun strike the remnants of the night's cold atmosphere and create a misty haze. The golden promise of warmth to come gives me hope on a day that could be filled, instead, with dread. Hallowed be this day, O Lord. On this day, with danger lurking in the shadows, may Your Light shine as the noonday and dispel the darkness waiting to kill, steal and destroy. All around me, the air is filled with the sound of birds, offering up their songs of praise and worship. They trust You. Teach me to sing the same way...from my heart.

Autumn’s Treasures
Cold morning mist blankets my heart. Fall trees yield to the breeze in silent submission. Frosty nights have coaxed the tips of the branches to cast off their shyness and display their true colors.

My emotions surface, torn between the sadness of losing my emerald world and the excitement of seeing the sunlight reveal gems of ruby and topaz within drifts of yellow gold, all beneath a sapphire sky.

I long to gather such treasures and hold onto them through the harsh winter storms, but I have learned that to do so produces the dust of disappointment. Instead, I store them within my heart, where moth and rust do not corrupt, where words will bring them to life once share with all who would desire such wealth.

After Glow
Sunshine trails the afterglow of the moon's latest escapades, bringing the dark side of life into the light. Light, by its very nature, dispels the dark heart of evil and restores courage and faith. Its illumination fills the earth with a rapturous sense of well being, while it coaxes happier times from darkened doorways and leads them into fields of smiling faces, warm hearts.

The heat of the sun streams through body, mind and soul, chasing away the cold of uncertainty. Like a river of gold, it overflows its banks and spreads across a downcast landscape of tortured lives trying to find meaning in their black and white existence. Hearts search for the substance dreams are made of, while unseen rays bend their way through upturned hands with fingers clasped to form a prism of colored reality.

I sense a lesson in this cycle of nature. Light gives--darkness takes away. Darkness hides--light reveals. From the moment the sun overpowers the dawn with its vibrant rays of rebirth and hope, to the blood red pulsing of its farewell promise to return, the golden treasure is symbolic of a hero vanquishing a foe. As someone whose spirit sags when a gloomy sky looms overhead, I look forward to the day when I will live forever within the conquering glow of the One who proclaimed two thousand years ago... “I am the Light.”

Celestial bodies swirl through the heavens, in perfect harmony, a song in C minor. Blessed is the One who made Heaven and Earth.

Your melodies glide through the starshine of a thousand planets, created for Your pleasure. We cannot see across the breadth of Your creation; we cannot fathom the depth of Your power. Your love is written in the night sky through the patterned language of the ancients, who walked in the light of Your presence.

The music of Your heart stirs my soul to worship with angels who have heard from on high, the rhythmic breathing of a universe alive with praise. You are the melody that gives me hope, the words that others hear through my life…as I walk in tune to all that You are.

Scattered Dimensions-Gathered Reality
Starshine leads me to the edge of night past the dimension of dreams and expectations. I dare not close my eyes; I dare not hold my breath. I stand transfixed, letting my spirit transport me through a space unfathomed, mysterious, beckoning. I see this galaxy with suns, planets and stars, all swirling in an order that goes beyond mathematical calculation. They hang in space on a word spoken with authority and incomprehensible grace and beauty.

I turn in circles, gazing at the sky. My arms extend. My being is transformed, and I move beyond the realm of understanding. I breathe a prayer, feel it accepted and know I am loved. Is there a God? Does He exist? My answer is yes. He envelopes me, He guides me, He knows me. He is everywhere, revealed in everything visible, and perceived in that which is outside our scope of comprehension. We can deny Him; we are free to decide…I choose to believe.

Winter Watercolor
Dark clouds hang like a curtain, partially drawn up to reveal a winter-blue sky. Lacey sunlight peaks out beneath the edge, giving an ethereal feel to what would normally be described as a dismal day. Instead, God's Grace shines through and gives clearer meaning to life that might seem doomed. Were it not for His Grace, I would be depressed, but I cannot be sad when such beauty indescribable melts the dreary shades of gray... transforming them into a watercolor masterpiece.

Into One
Snow falls on the barren wilderness of my suffering. I endure it alone until I feel the spikes in Your hands and feet, the lashings tearing at Your flesh, the piercing of humanity’s hatred. Through pain, I begin to comprehend the depth of the sacrifice You went through in order to obtain me for Your own, even though the bitter cold of reality makes a mere moment on the cross more than I can bear. Like a snowflake, I realize I am uniquely Yours, and I am lost in the saving warmth of Your love. Melt me... I surrender.

Behind the gray veil of winter, a pale yellow glow blends outward until it casts a silvery sheen across the sky. The burnished atmosphere defies dimensional reality. It is a glossy page from a frozen moment of time, and in that brief moment…I forget to breathe.

Once Upon a Time
Fairy tale moments sneak up on us, taking us unaware, and we walk in them, reveling in the ethereal quieting of our souls. Perhaps it's the avalanche of human misery around us that makes it so important to cherish such times. Like today, when Jack Frost skipped through our countryside and blew his icy breath upon the land. The cloud of white descended and outlined every branch and twig. Scattered across snow-covered fields and lining the roadsides, golden grasses nodded their hoary heads, while a gossamer mist draped the landscape in a sheer curtain of mystery and intrigue. For a brief mortal moment, the clear blue sky and brilliant sunlight brought my world into a once-upon-a-time reality and made the ice and cold seem least, visually.

That Sly Old Man
Snowflakes, crystal patterns, icicles…wintry prisms trapping whatever light is available and transforming the drab and dreary into a fantasy other-world of twinkling, shimmering, dazzling wonders. There is a mesmerizing quality to the frozen atmosphere, a kind of apologetic gift given in return for stripping the surroundings of their life and color at the end of the year. It is a solace for the shivering, freezing misery bestowed upon us by the harsh North Wind. I will never have a love affair with Old Man Winter…but I secretly admire his attempts to win my heart

The shadow of your hand, Lord, covers my life. Your love wraps around my every movement, and I walk under the protection of angelic wings. Though my way is a path, narrow and winding, hiding the end from view, I will not be deterred. From Your position beyond my veil of knowing, You see everything ahead of its happening. You are my strength on this journey…You are my destination.

Breathe in deeply while you can. Hold life close, feel its warmth, before it is lost to a moment in time...a breath exhaled into the wind.

© 2008 Mid Stutsman