Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The United Kingdom (01/22/09)
TITLE: One Planted, Another Watered, But God Gave The Increase
By Dalyn Woods
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Deadline Thursday, 1/29/09 8:59 a.m.
150 to 750 words
One Planted, Another Watered, But God Gave the Increase
I leave the ship on liberty, feeling empty and lost. I wander through the English fog that closes around me, smothering me like the fog of my soul. If I can find a tavern I can drown my sorrows, mask my loneliness, at least for a while. I’ve come to the right place. The island city of Old Portsmouth is known for its pubs.
I had joined the Navy looking for an adventure. Now I know I was trying to run away from the emptiness I felt. Surely a change of scenery, new places and people would fill me. Actually sometimes the busyness did fill me temporarily, but at the end of the day, in the dark of night, the bottom fell out of my stomach and the only thing filling me was an overwhelming sense of dread.
Ah, finally a tavern. I pass the large cartoon mural of ‘Portsmouth Point’ and head for the front door. My second line of defense against the emptiness was to fill it with drink. It's hard to think about eternal questions through an alcohol-induced haze. As I approach the door I spot a young couple passing out flyers. Hoping for a discount on a drink I take one, but it’s an invitation to a church service. That's the last thing I want -- can't go in for a drink after that. I hurry away from them, tucking my head in my coat to avoid their eyes.
As I continue down the street looking for another tavern, my thoughts take a different turn - flashbacks to previous brushes with “GOD”... the Sunday School teacher who laid a foundation of God, creation, Baby Jesus and the Easter story; the "Jesus Freak" in high school who insisted that Jesus loved me and died for me, though I'm not sure why He bothered; and then the cruise that brought me to England.
For two months I listened as my bunk mates gathered to study and explore the Bible for hours. I always thought the Bible was dry and boring, but not this book they were discussing. I listened while trying not to appear interested. I so wanted to ask questions... Why? Why? Why?
I find another tavern with bright lights and loud rock music spilling into the night air. I look at the sign over the door, ‘The King’s Ransom’. That sounds very English I muse as I enter.
Smart and devious, that’s what that couple was. Too late I realize I’ve walked into their trap -- the music is from a church service. I want to run. My mind is saying, “Get out! Get out!” but my feet won’t move. My heart is saying, “Stay! Stay!” so I slowly sink into a seat in the back.
What a service! It’s as if the speaker is reading my mind. He knows every question, every doubt, every fear, even the ones I’m just now thinking. Finally all my questions are answered and I understand this free gift I'm being offered. Now I'm ready.
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