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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)

TITLE: Reflection
By Lyn Churchyard
02/02/08


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She was sitting on the park bench overlooking the sea, and to the casual observer she was simply watching the waves, but if you’re a people watcher like me, you would have seen the sadness etched on her face.

It was her eyes – the eyes always give it away. The pain was obvious - not physical pain, but the pain that can only be found deep within the soul.

Something made her look in my direction and when she realised I was watching, she looked away, embarrassed, as a tear rolled down her cheek.

“Go and talk to her.” The command was unmistakable.

I resisted for maybe thirty seconds before leaving my own seat and going across to her. “Are you all right - is there anything I can do?”

She looked at me and shook her head.

“Look, I don’t want to intrude,” I continued as I sat down next to her, “It’s just that you seem sad.”

She gave me a half smile. “Is it that obvious?”

“Only if you’re an observant nosey-parker like me,” I said lightly, trying to reassure her I wasn’t some sort of lunatic.

The half smile again, “You’re very kind Mr Parker, but I’m sure you don’t want to hear about my problems.”

“Why not – they say a problem shared is a problem halved.”

She continued to stare out to sea. “My daughter hates me.”

“Did she tell you this?”

“No, but it’s obvious she does.”

“Why do you say that?”

“She told me I am not welcome in their home; that I’ve had a problem with everyone she’s ever had in her life, that it’s my fault she and her older sister didn’t talk to each other for almost a year, and that if I think Louise and I have a good relationship I’m living in la-la land.”

“Who is Louise?”

She closed her eyes and sighed, “My oldest daughter.”

“Did you have a problem with everyone in your youngest daughter’s life?”

“Only once – when she was sixteen – one of the elders at our church started picking her up from school during her free periods and taking her to the mall for lunch.”

My thoughts must have been blazoned across my face because she said: “Yes, I thought the same thing.”

“How did you find out it was happening?”

“A friend who was in charge of security at the mall told me – she said she’d seen them walking through the mall holding hands like a couple of teenagers.”

“That’s not good.”

“No it’s not.”

“What did you do when you found out?”

“I went to one of the other elders and told him because we didn’t have a pastor at the time. I said I thought Jack’s behaviour was totally inappropriate and I wanted something done about it.”

“What happened?”

“The other elder called a meeting and because of the seriousness of the matter, it was brought before synod.”

“Synod being the ruling body of your church?”

“Yes.”

“What did synod do?”

“They reprimanded him for ‘unwise’ behaviour but decided not to record the minutes of the meeting in the church register because that might possibly put a black mark against him for the future ¬– a decision they regretted seven years later.”

“What happened seven years later?”

“He was dismissed from his position at a Christian counselling centre for sexually assaulting one of his clients.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Yet despite this, your daughter still resents you for the stand you took?”

“Yes, even though it happened fifteen years ago, she specifically named the elder and his family as someone I’d had a problem with.”

She sighed. “I miss my daughter and grandchildren so much. I’ve only seen them once in the past five months and that was at our family get together on Christmas day. She and my son-in-law didn’t talk to me at all, and every time I went towards either of them, they’d move away. I didn’t care that I was the only one who didn’t get a gift from them – just a hug would have been nice.”

Suddenly she turned her head and smiled at me. “You know Him, don’t you,” It was a statement rather than a question.

I looked at her quizzically, unsure at first what she meant.

Her smile broadened. “You can always tell when someone spends time with Him; His character shines through – you see His reflection.”

Suddenly I understood and smiled back. “May I pray with you?

She nodded.


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This article has been read 981 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 02/08/08
Very good story and on topic! Yea! This was a sad one but written well. It is so true what you said about being able to tell who knows "Him." We are a reflection of the Lord. Great job! Great title!
Laury
Joshua Janoski02/08/08
Very touching. I would hope that my actions would reflect Christ's light just like the man in this story.
Hanne Moon 02/09/08
This was very well written, and had great dialogue. On topic as well. May all of us live with our lights shining as brightly as your character. Keep writing!
Ann Renae Hair02/10/08
This story invokes many emotions. Sadness for her situation with her daughter. Joy in her relationship with the Lord. Hope in the caring stranger. Very well done. Keep writing.
william price02/10/08
I enjoy a piece with great dialogue and your entry was impressive. You evolked the right emotions and ministered your point well. Good job. God bless.
Jan Ackerson 02/10/08
Beautifully written, with superb skill and wordsmanship.
Shelley Ledfors 02/10/08
This is wonderful. Well written--I love the dialogue--and right on topic.
Patty Wysong02/10/08
This is super. The dialog is authentic and easy to follow and you nailed the topic. Great, great job!!
Debbie Wistrom02/10/08
This is my favorite so far. Maybe becasue I just finished reading "Why I Jumped" and was touched by estranged families. You have much to share, please keep writing.
Betty Castleberry02/10/08
Very nice slice of life piece. The conversation was believable, and the writing well done. Bet you don't stay in beginners long.
LaNaye Perkins02/10/08
Great writing my friend! I really enjoyed this entry and felt you did a good job on it.
Joanne Sher 02/10/08
Very nicely written - good job with dialog and emotion especially. Enjoyed this.
Holly Westefeld02/10/08
You have done an amazing job of getting the reader to empathize with a character whose name is not known. She could be a neighbor, a friend, or a reflection of me.
Love the ending, too.
Sherry Castelluccio 02/12/08
Wow! I love love love the ending! I will never stop getting thrilled to pieces when someone notices that I am a follower of Christ. This story just gave me happy warm fuzzies. Great job.
Beth LaBuff 02/12/08
Your story is captivating. I couldn't stop. Then your ending was perfect. Very good work on this!
Lyn Churchyard02/13/08
This is one of those stories you HAVE to read to the end. I don't think he did it, and I think the Principal is a jerk for not checking into it further. LOL, sorry, I tend to get riled when someone is accused of something and not even given a chance to prove their innocence. Wish there was someway of proving he didn't do it. Maybe in a future Challenge? :)
Lyn Churchyard02/13/08
Oh bother!! how did I end up commenting on Chrissy's story on my own!!! Orignally this threw me out when I tried to comment. How did it attach here?
Steve Bato02/13/08
Great! I was hooked at the beginning and the believable conversation took us right on through. Loved it!
Maxx .02/13/08
This is very good. I liked this! Held my interest to the end! :-)
Celeste Ammirata02/17/08
I love the dialogue in this story. Very well written, and you kept drawing me in. Nicely done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/18/08
This was beautifully done. I can't believe it didn't place. The dialogue is perfect, and the "aha" moment shows exactly how we're know by our company with the Lord.
Marlene Austin02/19/08
I could have been the woman looking out at the waves, and you captured the torment wonderfully. :)
Sharlyn Guthrie02/23/08
This is a beautiful story. Well-written and poignant. Keep up the great wrok. You won't be a beginner long!
Jan Ackerson 02/27/08
Lynne, I just re-read this jewel, and I have decided to feature it in the Front Page Showcase for the week of March 17. Look for it on the FaithWriters Home Page that Monday. You're definitely one of our new stars!
Karen Wilber 03/17/08
You have a warm and gentle writing style that just invites me in to read the story as you tell it. I can't believe this was a "beginner" level story. Well done.
Seema Bagai 03/17/08
Great story, Lynne. Congrats on being the showcase writer for the week.
Joshua Janoski03/18/08
Yay Lynne! I'm so happy that you got your story showcased. This is the first entry that I had ever read of yours. Very special. :)
Hanne Moon 03/18/08
Congratulations on your Frontpage Showcase, Lynne! This was a great story, and one worth reading again.
Beth LaBuff 03/18/08
We get to reflect on this one more time! Congrats on being the FW Frontpage Showcase writer this week!
Lynn Jacky03/19/08
Hi Lynne - Glad you made it into the Showcase. Excellent Writing - Look forward to reading more of your stories.
Dixie Phillips 03/20/08
Lynne, I just love how you spell your name! :-) I also loved your story and just had to tell you. There's a real need in our world today for stories like this.

Rita Garcia03/20/08
Congrats! Love your writing style!
Joanne Sher 03/22/08
Excellent piece, Lynne! SO glad you got the showcase - definitely deserving. Blessings to you, my dear writer friend!
Delia Latham03/23/08
Very thought-provoking and heart-touching. Well written, too. I enjoyed this piece.