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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)

TITLE: A Neighbor's Note
By sharron pete


She just couldn’t do it. She couldn’t face the cold eyes staring at her. She couldn’t face the whispers. She couldn’t face the lonely walk through the doors, down the aisle and to her seat. She just couldn’t. So why should she? It had already been three months, what was one more Sunday. The silence was deafening. Turning on the radio didn’t help. Neither did the TV. And there was no one to call. She wasn’t left with very many options. Perhaps busy work would take her mind off of everything else. Cleaning, cooking, ironing, nothing seemed to help. The harder she tried to fight it, the louder the silence got. It became unbearable.

Slipping on a pair of tennis shoes she decided to go for a jog. Outside on the street, the sound of birds chirping was beginning to break through the impenetrable silence. Nature was her friend, a small comfort. The wonder of God could be seen all around in the trees, the flowers, even the birds of the air. Just as she was beginning to feel comfortable and at peace, a cool wind blew. With it came memories flooding back to her. Time, she thought, would not comfort these wounds. Nothing would.

Why was it she could feel God’s presence but not his forgiveness? Could it be that she hadn’t forgiven herself? Three months was nothing compared to a lifetime; a lifetime without hugs, without kisses, without smiles that were like medicine for long tough days. A lifetime that was now erased.

Finishing her jog she stopped at the mailbox. No mail on Sunday. But a week’s worth she hadn’t bothered to collect. Bills, advertisements, credit card offers – nothing of redeeming value. Not at first glance. But, there was one thing. One plain, white envelope among the bunch, with her name on it. No return address, not even her address. Hand delivered. But when? Who? The sound of the birds ceased, no gentle wind blew. Carefully she opened the letter; positive she knew its contents. She would be brave, she’d done this before. But this letter was different. It only took a second, not even that long. Tears flooded her eyes, her body writhed, and moans from deep within escaped. Finally a release, a comfort. They were just simple words but they held so much power.

Across the street, a woman peered through tightly closed blinds. Not her normal behavior. The woman watched carefully as the recipient opened and read the letter. Closing the blind she prepared for the second service. Hoping her neighbor would attend.

As she closed the mailbox, she wondered if today would be the day. Perhaps she could do it. Perhaps it wouldn’t be as difficult as she thought. Maybe she could try. Wearing a simple white dress and sandals she entered the doors to the church. Eyes followed as she walked the aisle to a seat. But the looks were not of disgust or condemnation as she imagined. In their eyes she saw forgiveness, hope, and acceptance. Things she had been struggling to see everyday as she looked in the mirror.

Sitting there she realized the depth of God’s love and forgiveness. Nothing was too bad, no sin to ‘horrible’ to separate her from the love of God.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 11/17/07
Clear descriptions and a good message in this piece. Well done.
Marita Vandertogt11/17/07
I would liked to have known the contents of the note - especially since it turned this MC around and back to church. Good story though, and well written!
Dee Yoder 11/19/07
It is so true that Jesus' blood covers all of our sins. I'm nosy, too, and would love to know what was in the letter, and what she was hiding from the church. If those details were added, your story would be a bit more satisfying to the reader-and make a good story even better!