Touchstone. ~1~

The Conservatory had long operated in this manner of criterion to select its elite, and most people in Metropolis understood that those who passed the most difficult tests were awarded their hearts’ desire, whatever it may be.  The predictable unpredictability (or the unpredictable predictability, depending on how you wanted to think of it) of the tests were nothing new to the natives. Truly only the elite passed the tests, and even many of them had trained for years to develop their fortitude for such evaluation.

Katrina smiled to herself at the thought of her inner strength and willpower. She hadn’t always been that way – in fact, her earliest memories include receiving her FAIL reports regularly.  The disapproving look of the testmaster, brow wrinkled permanently from years of judging others, peering over her glasses, making Katrina feel weak and powerless had become so ingrained in her psyche that she simply accepted failure as her status in life.  She had thought about her hearts’ desires, just as all the other inhabitants of the Conservatory, and dreamed colorful dreams about what life would be should she ever be rewarded in that manner, but the reveries were often short-lived as she sank back into the reality of her desolate plight.  She could no longer count how many FAIL reports she’d received over the years.  She used to review them meticulously, trying to learn why she had failed so she could improve the next time. But over time, their meaning diminished and she simply stopped trying.  Her willpower was so weak that it was impossible to avoid failing….   that is, until she met Jonas.

Jonas was kind and compassionate, but challenged her to stand strong in the face of adversity.  Once she got to know him, he became part of her every thought, and brought strength to her weakness.   Jonas wanted what was best for Katrina, and, in fact, for all of the Conservatory dwellers, and when she stumbled into her old ways, he gently encouraged her to do better.  He never looked at her disapprovingly like her testmaster.  Instead, each time she failed, he enveloped her in his arms and told her to try again.  Jonas had achieved his Heart’s Desire status years ago and was granted his wish – which was to help other achieve their Heart’s Desire.

Over the years, with Jonas’ guidance, Katrina had become strong.   She’d passed many of the her catechisms, and was working her way through the passion ladder, one rung at a time.   She had become so strong, in fact, that Old Scratch approached Jonas with a challenge.

“Let me see if I can pull her down,” he said to Jonas one evening, “into her former trespasses.   If I can’t, Jonas, you know she’s yours forever, and she can be rewarded with the passions of her heart.  If I can, you know she isn’t ready for her ultimate prize.”

Jonas, knowing the cunning and conniving beast Scratch as he did, but having full confidence in Katrina and wanting to see her receive her ultimate reward, reluctantly agreed.  Jonas had watched her grow in confidence and skill over the past ten years.  He knew that if she got in too deep, he’d provide a way out for her, and was confident she’d find it, just as she had all those years ago.  Old Scratch knew just where to test Katrina – in the place where he knew she had failed before.  He would enlist the help of Dustin, an old friend of hers, and catch her first with the element of surprise.  Jonas and Scratch discussed at length details of the test with Dustin, and each of them agreed to the terms. Dustin was somewhat confused about his part in the test initially, but by the time they had talked through the details, Dustin knew exactly what was expected of him.


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Heart you all!



Copyright 2019 Journey For Life Black and Light. All rights reserved



Tightly she gripped the thin strand of ribbon that she had wrapped tightly around her hand several times.  The other end of the pale ribbon was tethered tightly to the lip of her beautiful, red, heart-shaped balloon, which danced gleefully in the brisk winter air. She’d been down this road before and learned the hard way how quickly the wind can change direction, tearing the umbilical that had previously connected her beloved balloon to her hand and heart, separating them for what she thought an eternity.  In her minds’ eye, she watched helplessly as her beloved heart left her grasp, devastated as the abrupt and unexpected shifting wind carried the balloon higher and higher and farther and farther away.  Initially and instinctively, she reached for the string, but missed as if grasping for straws, only to watch her beloved move, first out of reach and eventually fade out of sight. Crushed, she sat broken-hearted on the pebbled ground beneath her, immense sorrow swallowing her like a python consuming his meal.

Eventually, she recovered from her loss, picked herself up and dusted herself off.  It was excruciating at first, but she moved on.   For a long time, she lived without a balloon, and without a special bond.

Then, as suddently and unexpected as the shifting winds that had first carried her red balloon away, a new red balloon appeared. This time, she was older and wiser.  This time, she’d handle things differently.  No, she was determined this time to hold onto the ribbon, the string that connected the heart of her beloved zepplin to her own.  For what seemed like eternity, she gripped the rope, her hand cramping, and her beloved orb comfortably resting just above her as they travelled through the stony path beneath them.  Minute by minute passed, her bright red heart dancing in the wind, though snuggly held by the tightly wound tether, occasionally brushing against her hair and cheek, reminding her how special their bond was.

As time wore on, however, her mind began to wonder if it was possibly unfair to hold her red balloon so tight, that perhaps it would be better to be free to explore the grand expanse of sky above them.  She thought about how selfish she’d been to hold on.  Gradually, she loosened her grip on the ashy ribbon, contemplating her decision until finally, in the pale moonlight, she released the ribbon completely.

As the rouge balloon ascended the moonlit sky, she was struck once again by its beauty, and the comfort it brought to her.  It was her heart and soul. She was thankful to have had it, and knew it was right to let it go, for in the release, it allowed the bright orb to fly freely, and bring joy to another.

She would forever be grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with the balloon of her youth, her heart and soul, and would fondly yearn for the special bond it brought, but she knew in her heart it was the right thing to do. She watched it rise, first out of reach and eventually out of sight. Her heart breaking, but knowing it would someday be okay.

I heart you all!


Copyright Black and Light. 2019. All rights reserved.

In the darkness

In the darkness, I dream dreams

In my dreams, I see them

People laughing, people talking, people being people

My soul yearns to be one of them.

My soul thirsts for someone who can rescue me from this pit of loneliness and despair

Am I alive? Does anybody hear me?

Where are you, God? I thought You loved me, I thought we were friends!

In the quietness, in a still small voice I barely heard Him say, “I am here.”

I had to listen hard, for the noise of the darkness around me was deafening , and it was hard to hear His voice over the clamoring.

But I heard it. Unmistakable yet barely audible.

Enough hope… to hold on for one more day?

The Swing

In the pale moonlight stood the outline of a dainty tree swing that had hung on the sturdy oak tree for decades. Now withered, and mostly abandoned, hardly remembering the times she was so heartily used, she sat idle, as if never having been loved at all. Her wood was mostly bare, except for a few spots on chipped paint, once painted a vibrant teal, now weathered and worn. Her ropes, once strong and bold, now discolored from the rain and sun.

There she hung, longing to be loved once again, to be cherished by children who long to feel the cool breeze in their hair as they hold on for dear life, swinging back and forth in the cool summer breeze.

She couldn’t remember how long it had been since anyone had sat on her seat and grabbed ahold of her ropes. She remembered fondly the laughter and joy she’d bring to the children who lived in the house near by. Those children were grown now, and had children of their own. On occasion they would visit the old house, but seldom, if ever, come out to sit on the swing.

Occasionally, she’d be moved by the wind, mostly gently but every once in a while wildly flung haphazardly to and fro with gale force winds before returning to her rightful position.

Faithfully, she hung at the ready, wanting to reach out to tell the world she could still bring joy if anyone would give her a chance. She wanted to shout, “come to me! I can bring you joy!” But she was unable to, so she simply hung ready, waiting for someone to notice her potential, holding to the hope that one day she’d be returned to her former grandeur . Not today. Perhaps another.


Oh firefly of my youth, where are you?

You’d visit every evening in the sticky summer air.

We’d prepare our jars with holes in the lids so your could breathe.

We’d watch you glow and run through the dewy-velvet grass to catch you.

Disappointed, we’d try again, this time determined not to let you get away!

We’d reach again, this time cupping both hands around you!

We’d gather you oh, so gently, thrilled with our mini victory!

Gently, we’d cup you into our hands and guide you into our glass lair.

If you were lucky, we’d gather friends for you, friends to join your new and uncertain surroundings.

You’d stay for hours, imprisoned in your transparent cell, shining your light into our darkness.

You never seemed to mind.

Did you?

Perhaps it was all a game to you as well.

Was it?

Mind? Why would you mind?

After all, it’s the purpose for which you were created – to shine your light in the darkness!

Oh, how I long to see the glow of your tiny body, to show me the glimmer of hope you’d want me to know.

Oh, firefly, where are you?

Where are all the fireflies, created to bring light into the darkness?

Would that we should all be fireflies, unafraid in new surroundings, bringing light to the darkness around.

Be the firefly of my youth, of your youth, of our world.