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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)

TITLE: Glad She's Crazy
By Joanne Sher


Yelena grabbed the hem of her ankle-length skirt at the seam and tore up about six inches. She then ripped horizontally around its bottom until she had a workable rag - and a calf-length skirt.

She turned toward her patient Samuel, who had already lost consciousness. She tore the rag in two, using one piece to wrap his bleeding arm. His knife wound was deep, and he had already lost quite a bit of blood. She continued to put pressure on the wound. After a minute or two, the blood flow slowed dramatically.

She wiped the sweat from her face and looked out into the distance. Other than the small oasis a few hundred yards east, all she could see was sand. There wasn't a soul in sight, and she had no way to communicate with anyone.

The heat was almost unbearable. The shortening of her skirt was a welcome relief to her legs. She grabbed the skirt's new bottom and tucked it into her clothing's waistband.

Samuel needed medical attention; of that she was sure. He also needed water. His breathing had steadied, but he was perspiring heavily.

Lord, I need to go to that oasis, but I don't know if I should leave Samuel, even for a few minutes. Guide me, Lord. Give me the wisdom to know what to do, for I certainly don't have it on my own. In Your Son's precious and holy Name I pray.

She opened her eyes and looked at Samuel. The corners of his mouth were turned up slightly, as if trying to grin.

Yelena closed her eyes and sighed deeply. "I guess that means you'll be okay for a bit."

Yelena picked up the other portion of her torn dress, put Samuel's empty canteen over her shoulder, and trod toward the oasis. Every several steps, she glanced back at Samuel. Her gait quickened the closer she got to the haven, until she practically ran into the water.

She stopped when she was ankle-deep in the cool pool, kneeling down and splashing water on her legs, arms, and upper torso. She smiled for the first time since she had arrived in this desolate place.

Removing the canteen from her shoulder, she filled it with the pool's water. She drank the canteen dry, refilled it, and closed the cap. Next, she held the rag in the water, allowing it to saturate with fluid. Without wringing it out, she exited the water and looked back out into the desert.

She could see them from her vantage point. Her smile immediately disappeared. Lord, help me keep my focus where it should be: where You want it to be. Breathing deeply, she walked back, her eyes fixed on Samuel as she approached.

Arriving at his side, Yelena knelt beside Samuel and rubbed the wet rag on his forehead, along his cheeks, and under his neck. She unbuttoned the top two buttons on his shirt and placed the cool cloth there as well.

The canteen, hanging from her shoulder, swung as she worked, coming within inches of striking Samuel's temple. Noticing this, she took it off and placed it next to him. At that moment, he opened his mouth a bit. Yelena opened the canteen and put a few drops of water into his mouth.

Samuel's uninjured arm shifted slightly, and his head moved toward Yelena. She backed away somewhat as his eyes cracked open.

"You!" Samuel was clearly trying to yell, but his voice barely reached a whisper.

"Don't exert yourself, Samuel." She looked down at him somberly. "You must conserve your strength."

His eyes ablaze, Samuel attempted to lift his arm, groaning as pain shot through his body.


Yelena pursed her lips and glanced off to their right, where a lifeless body lay in a pool of blood. "Dead by your hand."

"And you did this?" Samuel glared at his knifed arm, and then at Yelena.

"I bandaged and tended to your injury, yes. The wound, however, was inflicted by Joseph, in self defense."

Samuel's look changed to confusion. "I killed your husband, yet you cared for my wounds?"

Yelena nodded. "You are his brother."

"His brother who wanted him dead for being an infidel to Allah. I don't understand."

"It is what Christ would have me do. My gift to you."

"A gift for your enemy? This Christ is an odd man, yet you follow Him. Are you crazy, woman?"

"Perhaps. But today you are glad I am crazy, are you not?"

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This article has been read 1516 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 11/29/07
Wow, what a twist at the end. God's grace surrounded by skin and bones. Very good.
Laury Hubrich 11/29/07
I don't know if I could do what this woman did. Very good story.
Janice Cartwright11/30/07
Yelena found the secret. Real, true joy, detached from earthly concerns, is ours when we touch others with the kingdom of God. Your story is free-ing. Loved it.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/01/07
A gift of service to an enemy would be the hardest of all, I think. You showed it very well in this well written story.
Ann Renae Hair12/01/07
A great example of the way Christ gave his all for me when I did not deserve it! I only hope, but cannot imagine, I could respond this way. Very challenging story.
Holly Westefeld12/03/07
One of my favorites in this level. Such stories challenge me to pass on the grace and mercy I have received, instead of always focusing on just punishment.
Joy Faire Stewart12/04/07
Wonderful analogy. I love the vivid descriptions and message. One of my favorites this week.
LauraLee Shaw12/04/07
I love the way Yelena prayed before her every act. It is the only way she could have served and sacrificed that way. It reminds me of Romans 12:1--Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.
Powerful message!
Temple Miller12/04/07
Beautiful story. I loved your imagery and the twist at the end.
Shelley Ledfors 12/04/07
This is beautiful! I was instantly drawn in to the story. And I love twists at the end. This was a great one. Loved it!
Jan Ackerson 12/04/07
Excellent writing--you really established the setting beautifully with sensory details.
william price12/04/07
A little shift in style. Very effective. Great story, descriptions and message. God bless.
Sara Harricharan 12/05/07
Great twist! I sure didn't see that one coming, I thought that Samuel was her husband...instead of her husband's killer. Wow. Loved the bit with the oasis too.
Marita Vandertogt12/05/07
Yes - excellent writing - and I loved the ending - powerful in its message!
Beth LaBuff 12/05/07
Wow! Beautiful story and very timely considering today's turmoil! I could picture the setting perfectly. Your ending was a surprise. Love it!
Betty Castleberry12/05/07
Beautifully written. The ending was perfect, I love twists. This was a great read.
Karen Wilber12/05/07
This is so satisfying on so many levels: action, suspense, visuals, message. This is great and the last line is perfect. What a story!
LaNaye Perkins12/05/07
How can you pack so much action, emotion, suspense, etc. in so few words? This was wonderful my friend! Kudos!
Lynda Lee Schab 12/06/07
Congrats, Joanne! You're really on a roll now...keep up the great writing!
Catrina Bradley 12/06/07
Awesome, Joanne! You've written a fabulous story, drew me in, and ended it wonderfully, all without us knowing the details surrounding the situation. Beautiful job - contrats!!! Love, Cat
Sheri Gordon12/06/07
Congratulations on your EC. I love the way the story went along, and then a big POP at the end. Great writing.
Peter Stone12/07/07
Congrats on your EC placing. Lots of unexpected twists and turns, about a lady with a gift of mercy. Loved the ending.
Greg Mancini02/28/13
I am glad she is crazy and so is Jesus well written and nice twist at the end.Good job!