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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Volunteer (11/23/06)

TITLE: Bennie's Walk
By Marita Vandertogt


Bennie’s Walk

Every Wednesday Bennie sits in a wheelchair on his front lawn and waits. He waits for the car that will pick him up and take him to his 10:00 o’clock appointment. And every Wednesday, it’s someone different.

Bennie lives by himself. Appointment day, as he calls it, is the only real time he speaks to anyone face to face, gets to see the expressions on their face as they talk. It’s the only real interaction he has, except for the telephone lady. She calls him every other day, from another volunteer agency. Bennie likes the sound of her voice, comforting, like warm melted butter. And things always seem a little better after he talks to her.

This week a bright yellow Chevy pulls up in front of his house with a woman inside. She’s heavy set, with white blonde hair tied back off her face with a red ribbon that matches the colour of her lipstick.

“You Bennie?” she calls out, her voice husky, her smile big. She sounds like the lady on the phone.

“Ya, that’s me,” he said, moving his chair down the ramp toward the car.

“Sorry I’m late. Got tied up in traffic.” Her thick arms are strong as she helps him into the car.

“Where to?” she asks, popping in a piece of gum.

Rain was starting to hit the windshield, and the wind pushed leaves and dust against the car.

“Looks like we’re in for a storm all of a sudden.” She snaps her gum and looks over at him. “Now, where to again?”

“Well,” he said, his head bent down as he fishes with a thin white hand in his jacket pocket. “I got the address here somewhere “ His voice is apologetic, as if he were keeping her from something more important.

“So how did you get into this chair?” she asks him, snapping her gum even louder.

“God put me here,” he said, matter of factly.

“What do ya mean He put you there?”

“Exactly what I said. He let the accident happen, and He let me live. But to punish me even more, He put me here.”

“God didn’t put you there, and He didn’t punish you.”

“Easy for you to talk, you got two good legs.”

“Yah, and they’re here to help you. If God put anybody anywhere, He put me here, to be a tired old pair of legs for you.”

“But you can pick and choose when you want to use them. I can’t do that.”

“But you have spiritual legs,” she said, looking over at him. “We all do. God gave ‘em to all of us. We just have to figure out how to use ‘em.”

“What are you talking about?” By now, Bennie was getting angry at the woman. She didn’t understand. How could she?

“I’m just sayin’ what’s true. God has a way for you to walk through this life. Just gotta ask Him.”

By now Bennie was ready to jump from the car. The wind was growing stronger with his agitation. The sky darker.

“So what you’re saying is. . . . .”

“Yah, “ she cut him off with a smile. “That’s right. I think you know what I’m talking about and I think you know what you need to do.”

The next minute, Bennie found himself still on the porch, the sun shining in his face. He’d dozed off in the warm sunlight and woke now to find a yellow Chevy parked out front of his house, with a high school kid at the wheel.

“You Bennie?” the kid yelled from the car window.

Bennie was a little surprised, his eyes still blurry from the short nap.

“Yah,” he said. And started down the ramp toward the car.

The next morning, Bennie picked up his phone, and dialed the Lend An Ear telephone agency..

“How can I help you?” the lady answered.

“I have two legs that don’t work,” Bennie started to say. “But I also have two good ears that do. I’d like to volunteer to be a phone buddy.”

Bennie doesn’t know who the woman in his afternoon nap was. But whoever she was, she pushed him in the right direction. His legs still don’t work the way he’d like them to, but his heart grows stronger every day with his new found ministry.

Bennie learned to walk a different way that day, and it keeps him moving for the Lord

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Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry12/02/06
This was an enjoyable read. I like the idea of "spiritual legs." Thanks for sharing.
Joanne Sher 12/02/06
I really enjoyed this. Your characterization is wonderful. I felt like I really knew Bennie and the woman. I almost felt, however, like you didn't need the last couple paragraphs - I feel like the story would be stronger without them. Just my opinion, though. What a wonderful tale!
Dolores Stohler12/03/06
I echo Joanne, last 2 paragraphs could be cut. The meaning behind the story is great - everyone has something to offer and no contribution is too small. We each need to find our niche, seeking the Lord in prayer and asking HIM how HE wants us to serve.