I woke up one morning as if from a dream,
To find that the world around me was not as it seemed.
I rise from the mud and look up into the sky.
I must leave this cold, dark place before I die.
So I start to climb to escape the pain.
Desperation drives me; I know it would be suicide to remain.
My muscles are straining, I see hope ahead.
I must leave this place quickly or I will be dead.
Then a hand grabs my ankle, its claws dig into my skin.
In terror I scream from within.
I lose my handhold and start to fall
I can hear the monster’s eerie call.
I gather my remaining strength and lash out with my anger.
I must escape this horrifying danger.
Finally the monster lets me go.
Because I will not give him back my soul.
I climb toward the light
The end of this nightmare is in sight.
Strong hands reach out to me.
They pull me out of my abyss of misery.
I am surrounded by light but I still feel cold.
My wounds are so deep and some are so old.
I collapse on the ground,
My soul is still bound.
They pick me up and carry me,
To a man standing under an olive tree.
They lay me at his feet,
He starts to weep.
This child of his whom he loves so much,
Was chained up, beaten and left for dead in the dust.
He holds me in his arms,
My body warms.
His pure white clothes are stained by mud,
His hands are covered with my blood.
I look into his eyes; they are as deep as the sea.
I wonder, is it possible that someone loves me?
Tears of blood fall from my eyes.
He reaches down to wipe them away.
I will remember his pierced wrists to this day.
He presses his hand on my heart,
I feel it’s hard shell break apart.
Life pours into my blood,
My spirit is lifted from the mud.
He helps me to stand
And takes my hand.
I no longer wear clothes stained with dirt.
He has taken away all the hurt.
My shame has washed away,
Enabling me to stand and say
Freedom is for those who believe,
And he can heal all who ache and grieve.
Mary W., age 17, August, 2004
Former member of the Omaha Assembly