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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)

TITLE: A Cool Splash of Water
By Noreen Ophoff


If you were watching the cemetery every Monday, you would see Nadine coming to visit one grave. She pulled weeds. Mrs. Anderson carried on a conversation with her husband, Sam, whose grave was still fresh.
Only three months ago he died so suddenly. She told him about the need for kids' shoes, and how much money she earned taking the cases of eggs to town. It seemed to comfort her to sit near him.

Seven year old Jackie skipped along the rows of other markers. Some of the dates were a long time ago. A few monuments had statues of little lambs and angels on top. It was cool there under the acre of tall pine trees. The little tomboy was big enough to push the handle of the clanking red pump to get water for any drooping plants.

Just a little way down the main pathway stood a white cross with a life-size statue of Jesus on it. Jackie liked to stand there and look at the nails through His feet, an arms' length above her head. Very real looking thorns pushed onto His hair, and blood ran down His face into His eyes, across His neck and chest. Christ's crucifixion became very real to the young girl. She looked into the sad face of Jesus. His eyes looked down with love. His arms were outstretched.

Little Miss, as her Daddy used to call her, remembered running into her Daddy's outstretched arms for a big hug. Oh how she longed for those hugs now, but her Daddy was gone. Her Mom told her when it was time for her own death, Jesus and Daddy would be waiting for her in heaven. Their arms would be outstretched in welcome. Sometimes Jackie wished she could go to heaven right away, she missed her Daddy so much!

Stories heard in church about Jesus were favorites. Young Jackie knew He died and rose again so all people who believed in Him would have everlasting life. She didn't know what they meant by everlasting but the minister always smiled when he said it, so it was probably something nice.

When her school teacher said they could draw anything they wanted, Jackie drew the cross in the cemetery. It was hard to draw Jesus on it, but she did her best. Putting on the crown of thorns and the red drops of blood were her favorite part. She drew herself in the picture too, a little girl standing at the foot of the cross. The real story never said any children were there when Jesus died. It was fun to daydream about having been there, to think about being one of Jesus' friends.

It wasn't scary to be in the cemetery though her girlfriends thought it was creepy. Jackie knew her Mom felt better after being there. Mom went home and baked cookies or sat on the front porch and read books out loud.

The cemetery was a peaceful place. People cried there, but no one shouted or ran around. Folks tended the graves of their own people,
or others. It was a shame to let flowers dry up and die when a cool splash of water would bring them back to life. Jackie felt useful doing that. She thought Jesus would be happy she was being kind.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 08/24/06
Nice story from a child's perspective! I enjoyed this. The first paragraph seemed a bit out of place, but otherwise this was lovely. You did a fine job of getting into the head of this little girl!
What a lovely, well written story! I am going to read it to my 8 year old son as I think it will speak to his heart.
Deborah Bauers08/25/06
This a a very touching story about how Jesus can be real to a child. The first and last paragraph seemed to detract from the real meat of this read. I would suggest eliminating them and then drawing a strong conclusion with Jackie standing at the cross in the cemetery.