Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)
By sharron pete
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In 1965, Betty and Marvin Wright moved into the one-story house on the corner. Though most were nearly twice their age, Betty and Marvin made fast friends with several families in the neighborhood. Over a cup of tea, Betty could learn anything from how to mend a sock to how to let Marvin think he’d actually won an argument. She valued the wisdom of the older ladies and thought of them as surrogate mothers to her. But, as quickly as they’d entered her life, they left. Illness and old age had robbed Betty of those she treasured. When Marvin became ill, it was all Betty could do to manage. Cancer had stricken his body. Though brave, Marvin succumbed to the sickness early on leaving Betty a widow at 42.
All the hurt and anguish of lost love ones became too much. The vibrant, youthful Betty that so many came to know and love died. What emerged was a sullen, lifeless form merely existing in a world that was moving too fast to keep pace. Unsure of everything, Betty began to question the only love left in her life –God. Every day she begged God to end her life, remove her from the pain and suffering that consumed her. But He did not. Rage. Pain. Anger. Frustration. She had a whirlwind of emotions. It seemed at one point that all hope was gone. That is until she received a letter that changed her life.
The anonymous letter was addressed to her personally. In it were the words that led her down the path to healing. Years passed and though she gave credit to the letter, its words, and God for her renewal she never spoke of what was written in the letter. All she knew was that God had used someone, possibly a neighbor or a friend, or even a stranger to give her the courage and strength to start over. And that she did. Fuelled by the letter, she found a new passion in life. She too would write letters to those hurting and broken, giving them words of encouragement.
Margaret Green was a fifty-something wife and mother of two. On the surface things seemed fine. She had two beautiful daughters, both in college and a husband who loved her. Beneath the surface, she was barely maintaining sanity. It could have been the lies she allowed herself to believe about her husband’s late hours. She had lost control of everything, except her rose bush which she watered faithfully everyday. Every Thursday, Margaret received a letter from anonymous. Never putting two and two together she would often discuss the letters with Betty. But only in generalities, after all image was everything.
Geraldine Randall never met a man or a bottle she didn’t like. Sometimes the two went together. Sometimes they didn’t. But both were leading her on a downward path. The only thing consistent in Geraldine’s life was her dog, Sparks. The men came and went but Sparks was the true love her life. He was the only thing she had left of Oscar, her late husband. Every other Tuesday, Geraldine received a letter from anonymous. Though she dismissed them to others, the message behind the letters was beginning to sink in. Suddenly, her breakfast gin and tonic didn’t taste as good as it always had.
The day Betty Wright took her last breath she had been sifting through the obituary sections of newspapers for the tri-county area. Perhaps she could provide words of encouragement to those who had been grieving over the loss of a loved one. As she raised the cup to her mouth she felt a calm she had never felt before. Her eyes closed one last time and she lay there, gone.
Everyday after that day went on as before. Mrs. Green exited her front door at nine to water her rose bush. James arrived shortly after ten to deliver the mail to the neighborhood. Ms. Randall took Sparks for his afternoon walk at one.
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