Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: birthday (05/23/05)
TITLE: unexpected prayers
By Kris Hagel
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This year he was celebrating the birthday alone on sitting on a bench in the rain. The rain continued to fall around him. It was just enough rain to make him more miserable today he thought. But why should today be different? Elly is lying in the wet ground. I bet she is more miserable than I am right now. He looked out at the grave markers dissolutely. Elly was out there in the wet ground he knew that. He was there when she had been laid to rest.
“Laid to rest” he snorted at some damp squirrels, “to rest from what? I gave her all she needed or wanted. I was a good husband for thirty five years. I prayed with her. We where good people .So why God did strike her down? Why?” Howard sat there considering flinging the bible in his hands out into the rain that was starting to fall harder now. He lifted the book as if to toss it and just lowered it again with a sigh. He knew that he could not blame God. After all God was not responsible for the cancer that raced through Elly’s body destroying healthy cells. He could not blame the creator for the destructive disease they had encountered.
Howard shifted on the bench not really wanting to move but the rain had been getting steadily harder and he was getting soaked now. He could hear Elly’s voice saying, “Howard Barrister! You get out of that rain! You know good and well I am fine where I am. I am free of this disease and I am here with Jesus.”
He decided to get up because he had simply been sitting too long. He grabbed the armrest and pushed his weight against it. The rain had made the metal of the armrest very slippery and Howard lost his already shaky footing. He slipped to his knees in the mud that was at the foot of Elly’s grave.
“Interesting,” he thought, “here I am in the position of prayer but am I in the attitude of prayer?” Letting his mind drift over the past few months Howard realized that he couldn’t really remember a time he stopped to pray. It had been just too much too fast. The cancer had spread so rapidly. There had been so many decisions and so little time. There had been funeral plans to be made, well wishers from the church and there was a burial to attend to. Besides God didn’t seem that all interested in thier prayers when Elly had the cancer so why would he be interested in my prayers now? Howard’s knees settled further into the mud and Howard heard Elly’s voice again.
“Howard – you cannot give up on God. He most certainly not has given up on you. You have to believe that. God had heard you back then and He is hearing you now. At this very moment He is sending you an angel. I really don’t know what type of angel but you be on the look out.”Still on his knees Howard lifted his face to the falling rain and with outstretched hands cried as the prayers and the tears started falling.
Howard stayed in the mud, head bowed when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He opened his eyes to see his estranged daughter looking at him. Ellyn was the spiting image of her mother but they had no contact for years. She stormed out of the house one night after an argument never to return. He had never expected to see her again after all those harsh words from both sides. They had never really tried to reconcile so seeing her was a surprise.
“Dad,” Ellyn said, “You’re not going to believe this but I got this call out of the blue…” Howard just simply smiled at her from the mud.
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