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My Sand Castle World This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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I don’t always know who I am.

I don’t always know what I’m trying to say.

I get afraid sometimes, you know. The horrific acts of this world play on repeat on every side of me, and I fall to my knees and cover my head with my hands and squeeze my eyes shut against the mountains of pain that refuse to crumble to the ground. I am a child sometimes, you know. A child lost by the infinite reasons to cry and the infinite reasons to worship and who does not always know what the sound coming from her lips means.

The tide spills on to the shore and annihilates my sand-castle world. It retreats back into the ocean with victory in its teeth. My world is destroyed. If the tide has reached me once, it can reach me again, it has the potential to do the same destruction, it can always find me again. But I cannot move back, because this is where I was told to stand, to live, to build my life. And so I try again, I gather more sand, I build higher walls, I add a ditch for the tide to spill into; I talk to more and more people, I deny my own susceptibility, I pour out prayers for every person except myself, I hide under a thousand godly actions… But it is no good. The tide has come once. I know that if it has reached me before, it can and will reach me again. I am lost. I am undone. Everything is shaking.

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