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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)

TITLE: The Soul Soother
By Jack Taylor


The Soul Soother

I think it was the soother. Or maybe it was the arms thrown back in abandon. Whatever it was I couldn’t help noticing.

With the challenge of a dozen decisions that had to be made yesterday, I flumped down into the airport lounge and flipped open my laptop. People were waiting for permission, for answers, for direction. My temple pulsated with a beat that Tylenol would barely control. The pressure cooker in my head had been building all day as meetings ran late, another strong perfume wearer trapped me in the elevator for 15 floors, the taxi was caught in rush hour, the check-in line seemed extra long in the airport, the ticket had complications and security insisted on rummaging through my neatly packed things and invading my body space with a pat down.

And that’s when I looked up and saw him. He might have been shy of his first birthday but he’d lived long enough to know what mattered.

The car seat provided all the security he needed to release his cares to someone else. The soother slipped out and fell to the full length of the string attached to the safety pin on his shoulder strap. The quivering lips made feeble attempts at sucking and then settled into stillness. The arms draped back limply over his dark hair. Little fingers unfurled from little fists until he was left just holding air. A sigh slipped out and he escaped the madness of the crowds rushing to be where other crowds were rushing to abandon.

The irritating announcer continued his muffled interruptions, the teens continued to argue over the buttered popcorn they were spilling on the carpet, the panicking late arrivals still ran pulling their carry-ons like reluctant puppies, the incessant beep of the special assistance cart echoed off the walls, the television blared its news about a plane crash in China, and the sweat continued to trickle down my spine. His little runners didn’t even twitch.

I slowly folded my laptop and began to wonder about the few times I’d experienced that calm. Sitting on an inner tube as a teen out in the middle of Bunsen Lake; Canoeing on the Skeena in the late spring watching an eagle catch an updraft; kayaking at Telegraph Cove as the tide gently slooshed against the shore; making snow angels at Cyprus Bowl and watching the cotton candy clouds drifting by; watching the carp and the turtles and the ducks at Central Park… nowhere to be, nothing to do.

Those were the days of childhood that I longed to reach for as I watched a sleeping child in the middle of an international airport with a dozen languages sounding in my ear. I slipped my laptop into its case and reached for something that had long been a soother for my own soul.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way…Be still, and know that I am God…”

I looked across at my sleeping friend. The yellow bear on the bib of his blue overalls still hibernated on the chest of its owner. The soother lay nestled near the honey pot. I captured the image in my mind, set everything aside, closed my eyes and copied the little one who was still and knew.

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This article has been read 742 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ebony Broussard09/23/07
This is awesome! You definitely took me on a journey too. You detail and word choice were excellent. My favorite was "I flumped....and flipped...." Excellent writing and memorable message.
Carol Shaffron09/24/07
WOW! It's so awesome to "see" God is a refuge even in a busy place like an airport! Isn't it just wonderful we can rest beside those still waters no matter where we are?
Sheri Gordon09/26/07
This is incredible. Definitely not beginners. You captured me from the first sentence and kept me enthralled throughout. Very creative and good writing.
Sheri Gordon09/27/07
Congratulations! This was one of my favorites -- at any level. Great, great writing.
Dee Yoder 09/27/07
What a lovely picture of peace in the midst of grown-up chaos. Great writing! Congratulations!
Janice Cartwright09/27/07
Congratulations of first place, Level 1. The quality of your writing is far above the level. BTW you had to have been looking at a sleeping infant while writing the descriptive paragraph to make it so true to life.
Karen Deikun09/28/07
Jack, this was an excellent piece - well composed, on topic, gramatically excellent, great hook at the beginning and practically wrapped up with a bow at the end. Very nice work!
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/28/07
As a judge this week, I was very impressed by your wonderful writing--way too good for beginners. Your entry was written flawlessly and exuded calm.
Sherry Wendling09/29/07
Jack, welcome to Faithwriters and congratulations on a fabuous piece. Oh for the faith of a child! Beautiful metaphor, exquisite ending--truly poetic. You modestly placed yourself in the Beginner category, but seminary training and years of sermon prep are showing here, I think! Greatly looking forward to more!
Joanne Sher 10/01/07
Congratulations, Jack. In addition to your first place in beginners, your entry has placed 21st overall. The Lists for the Top 15 in each Level and the Top 40 overall are available in the Weekly Results and Highest Rankings forum of our Faithwriters Message Boards.
LauraLee Shaw10/06/07

You truly drew me into this story. All of the description choices and unique adjectives just blew me away. On a side note, you gave me GREAT insight into my husband's crazy life of corporate travel. Thank YOU!
Donna Hogue10/15/07
I was completely spellbound. I was in the airport with you! Great story, you are no amateur.