April 19, 2020

Based on a True Story by Katie Gerke

I felt untethered from God in my heart, mind, and soul. I had frayed endings of disconnect on my evening walk.
My usual route takes me past an old trailer park with flowering window boxes, tiny lawns festooned with wood trinkets and elderly residents sitting on small porch stairs. Out front, is a weather-beaten picnic table that would collapse under the weight of the next person to sit on it, and a flagpole with a tattered and sun-bleached Canadian flag that no longer can fly. The park looks so very weary from trying to hang onto the past.
On the opposite side of the path, the earth falls steeply away and a wall of matted Bramble bushes, and shrubs of Saskatoon, Gooseberry, and rose hips cascades down and flows out into a floodplain of Poplar trees, slick green fairways, and abstract shaped sand traps.
Once at the bottom, I intersect with a bike path that circumvents the city, and train tracks that connect the country. If my timing were right, I would be able to sit in awe of powerful locomotives pulling dozens of cars, melodiously streaming meters away from my toes. I envy the permanence of all those connections. 
The landscape then opens up to reveal a wide expanse rough fescue. The sound of buzzing crickets and the wind scratching its way through the tall grass, try to soothe me as I tried to straighten out my "train" of thought. To complete the circuit, I would go back up the ridge, into a neighborhood that has lost itself between new infills and boarded-up houses. Large trees cover over the street so densely that the sun is unable to penetrate.
I have a decision to make; do I go up towards the darkness or stay in the valley of light?
God, in a pristine voice, tells me, "Stop, turn around and face to where you came from; look, seek, search, focus, and separate what already has been seen from something never seen before. God was a grand, cottonwood tree standing as big as the North was from the South, and as wide as the East was from the West. As I slowly moved away from God, my gaze fell upon a patch of prairie grass, void of growth and vitality, and a large bush grew beside it.
This bush represented my abundant growth through my harsh seasons living with MS, and my triumphs since I accepted Christ as my Savior, in 2003. The extension of deadwood that remained lovingly attached around the sphere of green looks like a crown of thorns.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
I watched my past life and the life I could have had flash before my eyes and disappear. A feeling of melancholy rolled over me in the clash of emotions of the past and present. When I lifted my eyes, I saw a telegraph pole representing the stick figure of myself collapsed onto a more steadfast pole – that of the shoulders of Jesus.
"The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become." Malan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
In juxtaposition, that image was Jesus carrying the cross, of my sorrow and pain, when he went through the streets of Jerusalem to Golgatha. I wept. His grace had showered me with tears. After I blinked my eyes dry, I saw an upright telegraph pole, seemingly to stand higher than all the rest. The empty cross.
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:9
I triumphantly ascended to the top of the ridge. On the green space, an oscillating sprinkler showered water high and over my path. As I sat under the cold and delicate mist, that fell like an ethereal curtain of diamonds, a rainbow was created, bringing down the Holy Spirit to dwell in me.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!2 Corinthians 5:17

Katie Gerke was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1989 and ever since, significant work continues to be done in and through her regardless of the loss of ability from the neck down. Her inability to use both arms has blessed her with the ability to creatively express herself orally through painting and writing. Katie's website is oralart.ca


  1. This is absolutely stunning in its description, Katie! God has given you a real gift to see the details in both your painting and writing.

  2. I like your scripture verse, James 1:12 It’s a reminder to all of us that we’ll face trials and we need to persevere. You’ve certainly done that, and more. Thanks for the encouragement, Katie.

  3. This is a beautiful piece! You artfully wove together your trip, your symbolism and the meaning of Easter. God bless you!! You'll bless many who read it.

  4. I could see, smell, hear the path you walked on through all your description, Katie! I love the description of the rainbow representing the Holy Spirit. Thank for this lovely piece on the 1st Sunday after Easter.

  5. I love how God revealed Himself to you in nature and in His word, and how you captured and expressed it to us. Beautiful!

  6. Thank you for sharing this sensitively written, almost poetic story, Katie. You brought us with you on this walk, and I am impressed that you called it a walk, for that it is what it is. I must squint my eyes next time I am out in the rain or sitting under a sprinkler or looking out through tears. Maybe there is a rainbow I have on occasion missed. And maybe that rainbow was the Holy Spirit beside me to comfort and bless me. Your story has blessed me with love, gratitude and peace. May you who bless others be blessed yourself, Katie Gerke.


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