Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Telephone (07/17/08)
TITLE: Collect Call From...Earl
By Candy Goldie
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“Did you know that when you turn eighteen, you'll be old enough to marry me?” asked Buddy, Candy's long-distance boyfriend. “But I turn eighteen in two months. I'll still be in school!” She despised school, but she still wanted to receive her diploma. “You can do both! Your my Baby, I'll take care of you...” She accepted his proposal. Candy's family was not happy with her decision to get married at such a young age. In fact, when that time came, there was a bitter fight about it. There wasn't anything that anyone could do. Candy and Buddy tied the knot. They moved into a one-room apartment, until Candy graduated from high school. Afterwards, they moved three states away.
Several years after the birth of her first child, Candy realized that she made a lot of mistakes. She often wished that she could turn back the hands of time and do things differently. She was starting to find out what life was all about. She missed her family, including her Dad. She called her grandmother, “Mah-Mah, will you give Dad my phone number, I want to talk to him?” Later on in the week, her telephone rang. “This is a collect call from...Earl, will you accept the charges?” “Yes!” Candy confirmed. “Hey Baby...” He was only aloud to use his telephone privileges for thirty minutes each day.
Candy's Dad had been in prison since she was around twelve years old. He was convicted of murder and was in the process of appealing his death sentence. But before that, he had been in and out of jail most of Candy's life. She spoke to him on the telephone more than she had ever seen him in person. Even though Candy didn't get to experience the normal father-daughter-kind-of-relationship. She felt her Dad's love every time he called her “Baby”. She new he had regret the mistakes he had made.
Candy's marriage was not what she had hoped for. Buddy became violent. He threatened to kill her near her father's prison. “I would love to be put in a cell next to your father!” he would bark at her. Candy often prayed to God for forgiveness, just in case she didn't make it through that fight. She didn't attend a church, but she knew that her sins must be forgiven before she died or she would go strait to hell. She had a fear of hell. She lived in it, she didn't want her eternity to be the same way.
By God's grace alone, Candy got out of that marriage alive. She moved back to her hometown and later re-married. Her new husband introduced her to church and she started building a relationship with God.
“Collect Call from...Earl, will you accept the charges?” “Yes!” “Hey Baby...” He called to tell Candy that he lost his appeals and his execution date had been set. “If I could take back my mistakes, I would...” with tears in his voice. “I can't call anymore, but I want you to know that I will always love you, Baby.” He told her that he talked to a Chaplain, and he made peace with God. “Praise God!” When they hung up, Candy fell apart. “That wasn't thirty minutes...” she kept repeating as she gasped for air. What use to feel like an eternity, had now come to an end. God whispered to her softly; confirming, “Eternity is in Me. I am your Heavenly Father. I will never forsake you, Baby.” Alhough she was completely shattered, Candy found comfort in God. She found more love than she had ever known.
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