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The Swamp

The Swamp

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Published by Steve Slotemaker
The Swamp is my word picture for Grace & Chloe Slotemaker of grief.
The Swamp is my word picture for Grace & Chloe Slotemaker of grief.

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Published by: Steve Slotemaker on Feb 21, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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06/16/2009

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The Swamp
I was forced, unexpectedly, to parachute for the first time from a helicopter. As I wasfloating in the uncertain air my sensory organs took in the environment. Muggy air, brown filthy swamp water with trees both dead and alive scattered intermittentlythroughout the swamp; bugs everywhere.Everything I could see I didn’t want to experience. I didn’t want to be here, I wanted to be home. But as I was cascading down to the swamp I realized quickly that I wouldn’t be home soon, maybe never. I landed in the middle of the swamp. There would be noshort way out to dry solid ground. All I could do was cry. Survival was secondary tothe shock of reality.After gaining some semblance of composure, my initial assessment was in order tosurvive, I needed to go through the swamp. I couldn’t survive by sitting still, thecorroding forces of the swamp water and the overwhelming heat would do me in. Terrafirma was my objective; ground outside the swamp my aim. Quickly towards myobjective I headed. Due east seemed the quickest and easiest route, plenty of live treesto seek shelter in. Never having been in a swamp before, I proceeded to walk in the knee deep blend of water and mud. Some steps were greeted with certainty underfoot like sand left firmfrom the outgoing tide. Other steps were received seemingly by quicksand whichyielded under my weight and pulled down the very object I was hoping it would support.Yet other steps were accepted into what must have been underwater chasms. What wasonce perceived as knee deep water immediately and unexpectedly had a depth that outmeasured me. Never did I know for certain what the next step would result in. Recentexperience often biased my thoughts and emotions. I started to realize that not onlywhat was visible to my eye was a formidable undertaking, but the invisible below theswamp water was also menacing.Confident firm steps would string together. This allowed my focus to shift from theuncertainty of below to the beautiful blue skies above. God was in the sky lookingdown, orchestrating my successful journey, refining me with this struggle. However thatsame glorious clear sky, the opposite of the brown swamp water, also brought aboutstruggle. The sun unfiltered by clouds blistered and baked my skin. Why has God placed me here? What is His plan? Where can I find comfort, shelter, meaning whenthe nature He created and where He placed me is overwhelming me?A live tree was yards away. Moving towards that tree for shelter, temporary relief fromthe swamp water, and shade from direct sun provided hope of rest in its limbs. The

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