Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Church (12/06/07)
TITLE: The Lights On
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Anna Marie in all her fourteen years of life had never seen a light on there before. The grass was always cut by the neighborhood boys, mostly Anthony. He cut the grass, did the trim and in the summer touched up the paint. But no one ever entered the church. The bells never rang. The pulpit never vibrated with the message of her Grandmothers God.
Anna Marie only went to church twice a year, when she went to see her Nana for two weeks every summer. Nana always told her God loved her and would never leave her lonely. Anna Marie loved her Nana but when it came to God her Nana was delusional.
It’s a man she whispered to herself; the long windows allowed her to watch his every move. He climbed the three steps to the platform in one step, he than kneeled and stayed there. Anna Marie watched him for almost twenty minutes; he must be praying Nana did that for hours at night when she thought Anna Marie was asleep.
Wiping the moisture off the window pane, she settled in wrapping her mothers blanket around her and resting her head on a pillow that her father said always graced her mother’s bed, Anna Marie fell asleep.
“Anna Marie,” her father knocked on her door. “The showers yours, if you want a ride to the library today get a move on it.”
Rubbing her eyes she groaned talk about stiff neck, and oh her 5’8 frame was not made for curling up on a window seat for seven hours at a time. Stretching she listened to all her bones creak. A nice hot shower screamed relief, grabbing her towel she headed for the bathroom her dad had just vacated.
One month till she left for Nana’s, Three months till she began high school, twisting her hair underneath her towel she stopped, was he still there, running back to the window seat she looked out the window, in the bright sunlight she couldn’t see in the church windows. There was a jeep in the driveway though with a luggage rack on top. You know she thought this would be a lot more interesting than hanging out at the library till her father’s lunch break.
Opening her door she yelled downstairs, “Hey dad I think I will stay home today.”
“You’re not still sulking because I won’t let you ride Anthony’s motorcycle?”
“No Dad, I understand you want him to have more experience before he carries passengers. It’s the first day of summer break and I want to catch some sun rays.”
“O.K., just remember I trust you, and I love you, see you at lunch.”
The door closed, Anna Marie grabbed her shorts and shirt as she tore the brush thru her curls. Taking the scrunchy she headed across the street to the church.
Raising her hand to knock she heard some one holler “Come on in its open.”
“Hello you must be Anna Marie, I’ve heard a lot about you.” Stretching out his hand Anna Marie realized he was tall 6’5 at least. His red hair had blonde highlights like little pieces of sun shining on his head.
“Who from”, Anna Marie asked?
“Anthony of course, he’s my nephew. I just brought this church, we are having a service Sunday invite your friends. By the way names Pastor Ray”.
“I only go to church at my Nana’s.”
“Well we have a service every Sunday, and a pray and praise service on Wednesdays.”
“Were you praying last night at the alter?” she asked
“Yes, praying for people who have never heard that Jesus Christ loves them and died on the cross for them.”
“My Dad said my Mom believed that till she died.”
“Well that means she lives in heaven” Ray said. “What about you?”
“Well do you believe in Jesus” Pastor Ray asked?
Anna Marie had no idea what he was talking about, but by the sudden sparkle in his eyes she had the feeling he was ready to preach his first sermon in his new church. Anna Marie knew she needed something more in her life maybe she would just stay and listen.
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