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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: Sand Castles
By Carolyn Baney
08/16/07


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My friend was dead. All I felt under the warmth of the palm of my hand was cold, hard flesh. All I saw out of his once laughing eyes was nothing, emptiness. Nothing was left of my friend, only the shell of what he was.

How could this be? Confusion raced into my mind like a tornado wreaking havoc on the foundations of all I believed in. Transported back to the cross, I sensed the bewilderment and powerlessness that John must have felt standing at the foot of the cross, watching death have its way with his friend. Only a month before, Chuck beamed with the joy of his revelation, “Carolyn, Jesus has healed me from Cystic Fibrosis. Of this, I’m sure!” Now, my friend was dead.

Removing the cloak of friendship, I replaced it with the cloak of a nurse, assisting in the task of placing my friend into a body bag. Anointing his forehead with my tears and one last kiss, I zipped up the body bag with a sense of finality that crushed my spirit. Anger arose in me as the stench of plastic hit my nostrils; as an ICU nurse, I’ve long come to equate the odor of the plastic body bags as a moment of defeat. The devil had won yet another battle; death stole a little more light from the world.

Wishing God had created a power switch for my brain so I could turn it off, I collapsed on my bed that night. The sand castles of my beliefs were getting a beating from the continual waves of confusion that plagued my mind, and grain by grain, I felt them eroding away. However, in spite of myself, sleep seeped into my exhausted body.

“Carolyn, do you know why so few Christians make it to a higher life in Christ?”

I gazed in amazement at the beauty of Chuck, alive and breathing. We was not only breathing but breathing normally without gasping for air, which was his usual state in life. As if he knew what I was thinking, he let out a hardy laugh that seemed to reverberate from his toes. This too was unusual because laughter would cause him physical pain.

“No, Chuck, why?” I knew full well he would tell me. Chuck had a habit of throwing out questions only to turn around and answer them himself.

“Because so few Christians make it to a higher life in Christ. Don’t allow confusion to give birth to doubt. Please don’t make me your stumbling block, or the devil really will have won this battle.”

Bolting up out of bed, my heart raced as I searched my room. Reality quickly replaced my dream in the still, dark night. Although my heart sunk once again at the loss of my friend, its meaning pulsated through my brain leaving me with a much stronger foundation than sand castles. Suddenly, a light shone that darkness couldn’t squelch.


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This article has been read 435 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/23/07
I really like the line "Don't let confusion give birth to doubt." And you have several really good metaphors in the early part of this well-written story.

I'd urge you to find a fresher way to end your story than with the "dream" scenario. You're a creative and gifted writer, and there are always unique ways to resolve your story that haven't been used before.

I hope to read more of your writing in the future!
Maridee Sellarole08/23/07
Wonderful story. Thank you.
Jacquelyn Horne08/23/07
You have covered this topic well. I would have liked to have it a little longer. There really was a lot more to tell, I'm sure. But very good writing all in all.
LaNaye Perkins08/24/07
I like the message being given in this piece. You kept my attention from beginning to end. Keep writing!
dub W08/24/07
Well done, beyond beginners for sure. A typo or so, but none the less this is very good and deserving of merit. Welcome to the puppy pen.
Donna Emery08/26/07
This story is well told and I love the message. We need to look beyond the immediate in order to fully see the eternal. Nice work
Joanna Jayaprakash08/26/07
Beautiful! Simply loved it.
Fay Lamb08/26/07
Pain has a devastating way of separating us from Christ, and often that pain comes from the loss of a loved one. A great message for those who grieve and a powerful story as well.
Jeanette Oestermyer 08/27/07
Nice approach to the helpless feeling when we want to help, but it's too late. Keep writing.
Sherrie Jackson08/28/07
I must admit, Chuck's answer confused me! LOL. But I see no one else mentioned it, so it's probably no biggie.

A lot of great lines in this piece, and I enjoyed that aspect of Chuck believing in his healing, followed by death too soon. Circumstances like that definitely are confusing.

I have a few suggestions for you, if you want them. If so, just click on my name and shoot me a PM so I know. Good luck this week!!