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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Angry (08/02/07)

TITLE: THE MESSENGER
By Joy Faire Stewart
08/06/07


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The hospital had been Karen's captor for a week.

She endured a bevy of painful prodding tests as the doctors looked for the source of the involuntary facial movements she had been experiencing for months.

That afternoon, Karen had received the diagnosis, hemi-facial spasm. It was a rare condition but could be corrected with surgery, which was scheduled for the following morning.

Wendy sashayed into room #2077 bearing gifts.

"Karen, your Sunday School class made these cards for you. The body lotion is from me. I know your favorite is Chanel N5," Wendy cooed as she handed the gifts to Karen.

"Thank you," Karen said as she gently caressed the array of cards the children had made.

Karen would have known which child crafted each card without looking at the names. With Jason's love of animals, he had drawn dogs and cats on the cover of his card. Abby's family has horses on their ranch and she had drawn several horses with Jesus on the back of one...or maybe they were donkeys. Shelly, the girlie girl, had used every color in the Crayola box on her masterpiece. Parker the serious one, had drawn three crosses.

Each card was as unique as the child, but all had the same message, "I Love You."

When Mrs. Cole, the teacher of the Primary class moved, Karen volunteered to teach. Being a new member of the congregation, Karen was excited to be serving God. She diligently studied and prepared lessons. She scoured bookstores, garage sales, and secondhand stores looking for materials to bring the Bible stories to life for her students. It was truly one of the joys of Karen's life.

"Karen, last night in the monthly church business meeting the teachers were elected to serve for the upcoming year." Wendy announced settling into the beige plastic chair beside Karen's bed. "Oh, and Rhonda Phillips was elected to teach the Primary class. Isn't that the class you teach?"

The cards Karen were holding, dropped to her lap. She thought she wasn't going to catch the next breath. She knew she must not cry, no, not now. Hot tears were threatening to spill into rivers of despair. The heart wrenching hurt soon turned to a sickening anger. The muscles in her face tightened as her anger grew, and she feared the spasms would begin again.

Wendy continued to chatter about something. She could have been speaking French or Portuguese, or whatever...Karen couldn't bring her brain back to comprehend.

Mercifully, the intercom interrupted Wendy's spiel. "Visiting hours has ended."

Giving Karen a hug, Wendy promised she would be back to see her after surgery.

Karen didn't know how she had mustered the strength to contain the boiling pot of anger that threatened to overflow in front of Wendy. How dare they? Had her dedication meant nothing? So many members sit on their self-righteous backsides every Sunday contributing zilch!

The flood gates gave-way. Karen sobbed from deep within her soul.

Allowing the night nurse to assume she was distressed over the impending surgery, Karen gratefully accepted the sedative that was offered. As she slipped into the peaceful suspension of consciousness, the anger began to lose its grip.

***

The next morning as she emerged from a soft fog of dreamless sleep, Karen recalled scripture she had recently read. "The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression."

As the words sank into her soul, Karen began to cry, but this time the tears were tears of forgiveness, repentance, thankfulness, and, yes, joy. God gave her a bonus, peace. The looming surgery this morning no longer seemed so daunting.

Taking the Chanel lotion from the night-stand, she dabbed a spot above her heart.

*****************
Scripture: Proverbs 19:11 (KJV)


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This article has been read 898 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 08/10/07
My roots in the Administration of Christian Education rise up in protest! What a way to treat a dedicated Sunday School teacher! Karen's reaction would have been mine too, so I guess that says you described the anger well. Nice work.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/10/07
I loved how you had calmness and forgiveness replace the understandable anger in your MC's heart. I wondered if the "messenger" was thoughtless or vindictive.
Catrina Bradley 08/12/07
Your opening grabbed me and made me want to read more of your writing. Great flow to the story, right into a happy ending, and the last line was a nice touch.
Darlene Casino 08/13/07
This was a good read;you gave us a reason for your anger that we could relate to. You showed us your anger, including how you had even 'dropped out' of the conversation with the 'messanger'.And you gave us a good scriptural ending.
Joy Faire Stewart08/13/07
Authors Note: This is based on a true story. It happened to me. And yes, I was in the hospital when I received the news. The rest of the story is...When the new teacher didn't workout, I was asked to take the position again. I have been teaching the class now for over 30 years. It has been a wonderful blessing in my live.
Names in the story have been changed.
Jan Ackerson 08/13/07
Love the symbolism of the ending, with the dab of lotion above the heart.

FYI--...visiting hours have ended...

Thanks for the postscript, and the assurance that God in His grace made the situation right again.
Dee Yoder 08/13/07
I'm always amazed at how little appreciation the church tends to give to dedicated teachers of the children. Those who truly love to serve the children are sometimes thought of as mere babysitters. Your story spotlighted a real problem in the church, but then led the reader to the healing and peace God gives in unfair circumstances. Great ending!
Mariane Holbrook08/14/07
What a tender story of anger turning into acceptance. But I particularly loved the last line, which of course,is always the most important. It left me with an audible "Awwwww."
Very nicely written piece with a timely message.
Kristen Hester08/14/07
This is a very nice story. I would have felt anger also. I am so thankful for your postscript!
Joanne Sher 08/14/07
Very realistic (which makes sense, since it was real LOL) - you did a fabulous job of setting the scene and getting us inside your MC.
Betty Castleberry08/14/07
Great illustration of how churches often shoot their own. Nicely done.
Loren T. Lowery08/14/07
Well-told story with a good message that was told with great honesty. I really liked the Bible reference, I just wish I could live up to it more.
Leigh MacKelvey08/15/07
Church situations like this one are often too plentiful, but the scripture reference convicted me and it occurs to me that God truly uses those situations to mold us, doesn't He? This was great writing, the flow, the interest level and the ending were beautifully written.
George Parler 08/15/07
How soon we forget the faithfulness of others. We enjoy the fruits of their labor without giving thought to the tree from whence it came. Very nice.
Julie Arduini08/15/07
Yep, definitely an angry entry, but the end was perfect as I don't know I could have made the right choice as quickly. You definitely had and kept my attention in this well written gem!
Jacquelyn Horne08/15/07
Many of these anger challenges seem to end with forgiveness. It's uplifting to me. Thanks for not disappointing me.