The Image/Memoir Writing Challenge: ‘Falls Comfort: Grace gave me a second chance’

John chose image #3, the most popular is seems. It’s nestled in the prose further down. 

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By John C. Gyorki

I have witnessed many beautiful fall, colored days all over Michigan throughout my life. I have experienced them in other states too. However, as a lifelong resident, Michigan is the best to me. I enjoy the visual, calming comfort it brings to my soul. The air is so sweet when I close my eyes and inhale its fragrance. Beautiful landscapes to gaze upon have always been essential to my reality. I feel security and sense of peace that I need to live by; It is at this moment, I take the time to enjoy what the maker has allowed me to see and stop to ponder what ultimately matters. It helps me focus and aligns my thinking with a clarity of faith in which I live. It subdues the raging seas we all endure within, from time to time. I never seek perfection only reflection and wisdom. My flaws are necessary; this is what makes us all unique. Grace gave me a second chance

My Refuge

The woods have always been my refuge as far back as I can remember, my fortress of solitude if you will. When my heart became troubled, it was a mad dash to visit my tall maple and oak friends who always had their branches wide open to embrace me. They allowed me to climb, nail, and attach old boards to their massive trunks so I could rest up high to view the splendor of the world from their perspective. The gentle breeze would lull me into a trance as we gracefully swayed side to side. The soothing sun basked me all over as if a security blanket had been wrapped all around me. The birds would sing. The squirrels would squabble and chase one another. Never a word was exchanged, only the feeling of nature’s warm embrace and tenderness. A sense of protection was always with me and a sense of faith I never doubted.

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I have spent countless hours outdoors alone and with others who are close to my heart. I have many locations to which I go when life gets tough. It could be near a river bank with the sound of rushing water to calm my mental distractions. I would stare at nature and see the fascinating parallels it offers in explaining life’s difficult trials and tribulations. The breeze from the wind or the river current would represent the resistance we face, but endure, when situations aren’t in our favor. The fall leaves would sail gracefully from the tree tops to show me the maturity and wisdom they had evolved too. The sun shining light into a dark place revealing a better path to choose for a better outcome. I have shared many of these moments with my family and friends. These are the experience’s I have passed on to my children. I see the fruits of my labor while sitting in a ground blind with my oldest son and two grandson’s waiting for deer to pass in the woods, quietly listening to the rain drops hitting the dry fall leaves, and enjoying nature at its finest. Earlier in the year, I walked along the Stone River with my younger son who lives in Tennessee, talking about setting goals or enjoying walks in the park with my daughter. Grace gave me a second chance.

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Answers come when least expected

One fall memory that stands out the most was an epiphany moment, which does not come around as often as I would like them too. On this particular day, the sun richly illuminated the leaves upon the maples and oaks as if they were dancing rapturous glowing orbs. The green branches of the towering pine trees whisper joy while weaving side to side giving off a scent that could only be the perfume of heaven itself.
I remember this particular walk so vividly. I was six months into a new friendship with a lovely little lady. I signed up to participate in a Breast Cancer walk with her. It was the month of October at Gallup Park in Ann Arbor Michigan, the most beautiful fall day you could imagine. I couldn’t help notice how radiant everything seemed, bursting with colors as sunshine bled through the trees with razor sharp beams of light hitting the ground. It was an awesome day. Everything felt just right.
It wasn’t uncommon for the two of us to be holding each other’s hand when we were together. We talked during our walk about many things. Even though only six months had passed on this journey, everything within my core being was indicating this relationship was going somewhere. At the time, my heart was afraid of committing to anyone again. Just one and a half years prior, my life crumbled with a devastating blow. So I still felt vulnerable from that situation. I wanted to make sure my heart was in the right place because I did not want mine shattered again, nor did I care to hurt anyone either. But, this was different. I felt deeply drawn to her because our values lined up with each other so completely. We continued our walk on the trail. I couldn’t help but notice the shadow we cast on the ground from the sun. I held her right hand she held my left. The V-shaped image made me think of my youthful days when my tall wooden friends would reach out to me, and I would reach back to them only to nestle myself into the V of the tree. I imagined them winking at me, saying, “It’s ok, go ahead, you found your Angel, now embrace it. You will be just fine.”

Our manifestation

My new lady friend and I kept the momentum going for another two years before I asked for her hand in marriage. I wanted to make sure I pursued her appropriately and honorably. Frankly, the Lord’s way. I think we have a different appreciation of our relationship than most people. I feel we understand and recognize its fragility because of our past brokenness. However, we are aware that we have to work at it like you would a garden. We have to keep it nurtured, watered, and weeded. I like to think our invested efforts build each other up, not tear each other down. I can proudly say it’s been more than seven years now since we made our vows to each other. We start our day by giving thanks to God in prayer. I’m a firm believer in couples who pray together stay together. It allows you to know each other’s burdens and thoughts. Most of all, it builds oneness. One plus one equals one united.

My promise

I had this scripture verse engraved inside my wife’s ring band, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. It reminded me of how we all need someone to endure life with every day.

It reads as follows:

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

My thankfulness

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The wife and I have continued to enjoy the outdoors and many fall colors since we first met. My tall wooden friends still keep their watchful tree knot over me. Now, of course, they have two in their presence at this moment in time. I don’t climb up high anymore, not because I can’t. It’s because my little Irish Angel is afraid her big-hearted Hungarian will fall out of the tree. I fail to remember my age. I can now wrap my arms around my little lady, and provide the security she has desired like the woods have always provided for me. So now, we sit under the protective umbrella of their golden leaves together and lean against its large majestic mass to find comfort, rest, and carefully ponder our dreams – or just close our eyes, listen to the wind blow, inhale heavens fragrance, and merge our souls. Grace gave me a second chance.

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.  Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all.  But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.”

–  William Blake, 1799, The Letters

Arbor Day Foundation


Contributing Writer/ John C. Gyorki

John is monthly contributor here at Two Drops of Ink

John

Bio:

John is currently an Electrical Skilled Tradesman for the University of Michigan. He has over 32 years experience in his field. He resides in Southern Michigan with his wife, Maryann. He spent four years in the Marine Corp as a 7011 (Aircraft Launch & Recovery Tech). After his tour, he completed a four-year Inside Wireman Electrical Apprenticeship with I.B.E.W. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).

At a very young age, John developed a love for reading and hoarding books and has continued to do so. It wasn’t uncommon to see him writing notes about something. John believes inspiration comes from an intentional reading of the word and following the Lord. He feels it encourages better living and thinking.

When John is not working, writing, and reading, he is trying his best at being a husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, friend, and uncle. On occasion, you’ll see him making sausage and jerky or fermenting cabbage and pickles. He is always put in charge of making Hungarian Goulash over an open pit fire. No one else is allowed!

“My goal is to foster traditional family community and common sense thinking.”

“I enjoy reading books about personal life experiences. When people are at their lowest, broken point, and then making a victorious comeback.”

John C. Gyorki

John is new to the writing and blogging world

You can join him at ThinkerMe.com or email at john@ThinkerMe.com

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S.W. Biddulph

Scott Biddulph is a published writer, author, and poet from North Georgia. He began writing as a youngster and followed his lifelong dream of reaching people through the written word when he returned to The University of North Georgia in 2013 to finish earning his BA/English with a concentration on publication and creative writing. His publications include the following: an eBook, Apples of Gold: A collection of inspirational short stories and poems (Smashwords, 2010) and a paperback, Voices from the Heart, (Createspace, 2012). His poetry is published in Papers and Publications Undergraduate Research Journal. Vol 3 (2014) and the award-winning Chestatee Review (Spring, 2015), among other places (Check his LinkedIn profile for a full list of his publications). He is currently working on publishing poetry, creative non-fiction, academic essays, and his memoir. Scott has also worked as an intern editor for the University of North Georgia Press. As a freelance editor, he has done the layout and design of several books and magazines. He is currently working with several authors on various publication projects in which he is either ghostwriting, editing manuscripts, or doing the layout and design. Scott continues working on his memoir Twisted Ride. He also maintains a Christian blog: A Disciple's Journey. Finally, and most importantly, he is a father, grandfather, husband, and dedicated Harley Davidson rider (with a huge beard). He and his family enjoy the beauty of the North Georgia Mountains where they live—especially their screened in back porch where they love to bird watch. - "I love realism. I love writing about the raw, down-to-Earth, heartfelt realities of life. I love to write in a way that reaches into the human soul. I love to take the greatest pains and struggles in life, and make them a blessing to others. Fantasy is a wonderful, interesting thing—but real life situations, feelings, fears, and dreams are an unexplored ocean of stories that need to be told." ~Scott Biddulph~

12 comments

  1. Hi John,
    Back in 1965, I lived up near Saute St. Marie. In fact, I graduated from high school there. I remember the woods as beautiful and I too loved to go for walks. Your story, brought back those memories and the peace you felt while within them. I especially like the use of “Grace” throughout. It tied the theme and carried the reader from beginning to end. When God gives us the second chance, it is a blessing to grab hold and live it to the fullest. I got mine and it sounds like you got yours. Great writing and thank you for sharing a beautiful story. God Bless.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chuck, how nice you once lived in Michigan! I’m happy you enjoyed the post. I sincerely think we all feed off each other’s writing here. I make it a point to read something from everyone. I always finish with an idea. Your doing pretty good to my friend. Thanks for commenting. It’s motivating! John.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful post, John. You and your lady remind me of another couple who love to walk in the woods together. My husband and I also feel grateful for grace. I agree with Michelle too—and I also agree that hiking is good for couples.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi, John. You’ve done it again – written such vibrant descriptions of places, people, emotions and thoughts. I am so glad that you are part of this expanding, caring family of writers. Meeting online, coaxing you to write, and encouraging each piece has been such a pleasure to watch. You are more talented than you realize, John.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. John,
    I think you and I are kindred spirits! Your descriptions of nature made me want to put on my boots and go for a hike. No time today, but maybe tomorrow I can get out into the wild and gentle wood. I love this story of a second chance. I also love that your wife loves nature too. We have found the couple that hikes together stays together! In all seriousness, I love your writing. Your descriptions are beautiful. I love the image of a V being the fork in a tree that nestles. I love this line…”My flaws are necessary; this is what makes us all unique. Grace gave me a second chance.” So very true. This is a powerful story, and I got caught up in it. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. John, I have to comment here and say that I do a lot of editing both for this blog as Editor-in-Chief and in my private work. Sometimes the prose catches my attention, and at other times, I’m simply going through the motions of checking grammar, syntax, and flow. This piece was a delight to read and edit! I know our readers will love this post. It is filled with all of the elements of great writing. Excellent job, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scott, as always, thank you for your kind words. When I receive compliments like that I light up like a torch! I’ve already began another one to submit boss. I also wanted to mention and thank you for the title you have given me here. “John is monthly contributor here at Two Drops of Ink”. (Chest puffed out 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

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