I Rest My Weary Soul in Thee
By Lady E
Author's Notes: I wrote this after going through a horrible day and then being reawakened by the Lord. I'm sure all of us have our own "comfort zone." Mine is with the Lord Jesus Christ. This one is dedicated to Him.
"Come on, Amy, let's win this one!"
"Yeah, Amy! I know you've got it down!"
The cheering of my teammates rings in my ears. Their voices are so loud, so urgent. I cast a glance at them. They're all huddled together, watching me with anxious eyes. Tension emanates from them and piles onto me. My gaze moves back to the sand pit meters in front of me. I take a breath, trying to calm my wild nerves.
Our track team is good, but so is Westley High's team. We've been tying for first place. The final event is long jump, my event. The last girl jumped an outstanding 13'4". In my previous two tries, I've fallen short. It's my last try now. I need to beat her. If I don't, then we lose.
"You've done this before, Amy! Just do your best!"
"You can beat her, Amy! It's just a measly 13'4"!"
Measly? I would laugh if I weren't so nervous. My personal best happens to be only one or two inches more than that, and, as we all know, people don't usually jump their best. I bite my lip. I've got to do this for the team. I need to jump my best now. They're all counting on me.
I focus on the sand pit ahead, all my attention directed on it. I've got to pace myself exactly, jump off on my right foot with all the force I can muster, and sail across as far as I can get, but I have to get pass 13'4". I take another deep breath. The coach at the sand pit lifts his hand, the signal to get ready. I hurriedly crouch down.
"Ready?" the coach yells to me. "GO!"
I bolt forward, staring hard at the white line I need to jump off at. I pump my legs as fast as I can, straining toward the sand pit. The wind whistles past my ears, streaming around me in a cold blanket. I blink furiously to keep it out of my eyes. Almost there... My right foot comes down on the white line... I kick off forcefully and sail through the air. I stretch forward, forgetting everything about form and trying desperately to fly without landing just yet. With an earth-shaking thud, I land in the sand. My legs crumple and I throw myself forward before I fall back and ruin everything. Gasping for breath, I pull myself slowly to my feet. With wobbly steps, I go to the coach and ask for my score in as calm a voice as I can muster.
"13 feet exactly, Amy," he answers, beaming at me. "Excellent job!"
I reel back as though he had hit me. Thirteen feet?? It's good, definitely one of my better jumps, but it's not good enough. It doesn't surpass 13'4". We don't win.
Defeated, I slump back to the team at the starting line.
"Hey," Susie says softly, seeing the expression on my face. "It's okay. You did your best. That's all that counts."
"Yeah," chimes in Jason, patting me on the back. "That was one hell of a jump too. It was awesome."
I summon a small smile, trying to cheer myself up, or at least, not look as crushed as I feel. I've done the best I could today, that's true. That should be all that matters. Winning and losing has never been such an extreme for me. It's not like everything was my fault anyway. I tried.
Everyone gets ready to get back on the bus. As we all start walking to the parking lot, I cast a glance at my long-time crush, Jordan Baxter. His black hair is ruffled in the wind and his cheeks are tinged pink from the cold air. He turns and catches my gaze. He smiles and my breath freezes in my throat.
"Good job today!" he calls.
I can feel my heart thundering in my chest. It is a moment before I can reply. "Thanks," I answer finally. "You too!"
He nods. I see this beautiful girl named Shannon Fuller walk over to him.
"Hey," she says, tucking a trail of golden hair behind her ear. I envy her for her boldness. I wish I had the guts to go up to Jordan and just talk.
"Hi!" His reply is bright, and he looks delighted to see her. "How's it going?"
Shannon shrugs, grinning at him. "As usual. You were awesome today, Jordan. I saw you running the mile and the relay. That was amazing."
His dark eyes sparkle and my heart clenches. I wish I could make him smile. I wish I could make him happy.
"Thanks," he says, his smile widening. "You did great too, Shannon. What'd you get in the 400? First place?"
"Second, actually." She cocks her head to the side, stepping just a little closer to him. I feel the jealousy boiling inside me. How dare she, the total flirt! She's probably not even enamored with him as I am, probably just after him for his good looks. She doesn't deserve to talk to him!
Jordan's arm wraps around her as naturally as though they'd been a couple for the longest time. "Wow," he marvels. "Thank goodness you're on the team. We definitely need some people to get the scores for us."
I turn away, pain crossing my features. How it hurts to hear him say that! I know I'm not an essential member of the track team. I can't sprint and I'm too lazy to work at long distance. I'm not even very good at long jump. And to hear him say that... it seems like he's rubbing it in. Though I know that that's ridiculous. He doesn't even know that I'm listening. Nonetheless, tears prick at the corners of my eyes, and I am instantly mad at myself for being so affected by a guy.
We all get on the bus, and thankfully, I find an empty seat in the back to sit alone. I just don't feel very social at the moment.
The bus jerks forward, and the noise level suddenly shoots upward. Everyone starts talking and laughing and squirming in their seats. Everyone's trying to talk over someone else and the result is devastating. But it seems that I'm the only one to notice. I want to cover my ears with my hands, but that would be too rude. Even so, it is tempting.
A sudden crash near the front of the bus catches my attention and, I'm sure, everyone else's as well. I peek over the seat in front of me to see what's going on. Two boys are rolling around in the small aisle between the seats. They're clawing and punching, each trying to hurt the other. They look like wild animals.
I catch a glimpse of their faces, twisted with hatred. I can hear everyone around me cheering for one guy or the other. Sickened, I drop down in my seat, curling my legs up to my chest. I close my eyes and I bury my head in my arms, trying to drown out the noise of their fighting. I don't know why they're fighting and I don't care. I only know it disgusts me more than anything ever could. And the fact that the other students are cheering them on...
I just want to get home and lock myself away from the world. I can't stand it. Today's been so awful and this is the last thing I need. Why is the world such an evil, corrupted place? What is wrong with people? I hate being like this. I hate being pessimistic, but I truly feel so terrible that I want to wretch. Nothing has ever disgusted me more than when people-human beings-act and treat each other like animals. I thought we were above that. I thought we weren't so horrible and sinful as that.
The bus stops. It's time to go home. I want to rush forward and get off the bus as quickly as I can, but everyone in front of me jumps into the aisle and blocks my path. I sigh and stay in my seat. I'll let them get off first. I don't want to fight and push my way past them as they would do. I don't want to sink to their level. I don't want to mingle with them. I'll wait until they've gone.
They're all laughing. One girl playfully slaps a nearby guy in the face and he retaliates, grabbing her arm and throwing her into a seat. She screams and laughs even harder.
Revolting. Is this the new way to flirt now? Is this the newest way to have fun? By slapping and throwing people around? Is violence our new form of entertainment? I turn away.
I look up...into Jordan Baxter's face. "Yes?" Strange. I don't feel the usual nervousness I feel whenever I'm around him.
"Are you all right?"
His eyes watch me solemnly. He's not participating in the teasing and fighting around us. A smile comes to my face and hope surges through me. Perhaps...not everyone is so sinful as they seem. "I'm fine," I answer, standing up then.
"Good. I was worried you were still moping about your defeat at the track meet today."
Moping? Defeat? Is that how he really thinks of me? Hope suddenly turns into anger. I am shocked. For the first time, I am actually angry with him. "I'm not," I say stiffly, and I proceed down the aisle without sparing him another glance. I step off the bus and realize it's raining. It's been raining for a while now. How perfect. It matches my mood exactly.
I head for home. It's not very far, only a few blocks away. Thank goodness for that. I don't mind the rain, but today's just been so long and tiring. I exhale slowly, returning to my thoughts, to my misery.
The rain cascades around me, on me. It feels cool, refreshing, washing away the sins of the world. It drums gently on the ground, a rhythmic beating that lulls me, but cannot make me forget. Today has been plain horrible. I don't get it. Everything's going wrong. There's too much trouble and it's so unfair.
I try to smile, but I'm too tired to summon a smile. They say that you use less muscle when you smile than when you frown. But the drooping of my mouth seems so much easier to keep than to gather all my energy to force my lips up. I hate being like this. I hate being pessimistic. I want to be happy, to smile and laugh freely. I want to enjoy the world. But truly, there is nothing to enjoy today. Everything's weighing me down and it's so difficult to smile.
I can see my house now. Unbidden, my steps quicken. Home equals comfort.
I walk into the house. It's quiet in here, so blessedly quiet. I'm wet and I can still hear the rain, but it's warm and dry in here. The raindrops are sliding off of me onto the carpet. I swing my backpack off. I should change, but I'm too tired. I walk to my desk in the corner of the room and drop into the seat beside it. My gaze strays to the open book on the table. It's my hymnal. I left it open when I hurried out of the house this morning.
I peer at the verses in the book. They're familiar lyrics, ones I look over nearly every day. But then...one line catches me.
"I rest my weary soul in Thee."
My eyes are fixed on that line. My heart begins to pound with the realization. My lips part in wonder. I've seen that line so many times, passing over it as I pass over all the other lines. But it stands out now. How real and delightful. I rest my weary soul in Thee. How I need that rest now.
I close my eyes, but I'm repeating the words to myself. I rest my weary soul in Thee. What an intoxicating thought. Finally. I can have rest. In the Lord.
A smile touches my lips. How naturally it comes. I drop off of my seat and onto the floor, kneeling. My lips are silent, but my heart is in prayer.
Today was a horrible day, Lord. I've seen so much sin and corruption. I've lost a meet and disappointed many of my teammates. There's just too many burdens I'm carrying. But thank You, Lord, that I can always have rest in You. Thank You that at the end of the day, after all my troubles, I can lay all those troubles on You. It doesn't matter how great the burdens, I can just hand them all to You. I can come to You, Lord, without any cares or worries. I know You'll take care of them all. Thank You so much.
Now, in this moment, I feel light and content. Joy surges through me. After everything today, my weary soul has found its rest in God.
A/N: Upon rereading this, I've realized that this seems rather depressing. In fact, Amy sounds suicidal at times. I've gone back and edited some parts, but it's still gloomy. I hope no one minds too much.
Also, I've tried to keep everything short and simple (notice how most of the statements are in fragments). I'm wondering how that turned out? What does everyone think?
Thanks for reading!