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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)

TITLE: Faith Play
By Melody Jackson


She stood on the stage after the curtain fell. It was cold. One of the trees just behind the Manger scene had fallen. But the trough and animals seemed intact. The production almost fell apart when they all got the news that the head costume designer had come up with the worse case of Mono and was highly contagious. The entire set had to be “hospital clean”.

Once the Lighting Tech heard this news he decided to declare his undying love for her. He came up with an elaborate “Will you marry me” proposal plan. Off he went. Poster’s in hand leaving the rest of the cast wiping down the set and hanging out costumes and trying to “hospital clean” every prop and the surrounding areas of the set.

Katie stood there. This was the moment. Things are falling apart. She was the producer/director. She was afraid. Only 15 days left before the show opens. Five more days after that is Christmas. Cast and crew were in process of leaving and closing for the night. When she heard a feather weight of sound.

The Snowflake effects finally were dropping on cue with the music. And the singers were finally singing as a group instead of individuals. So maybe, just maybe, things would work out after all. Still Katie waited. Listening. She stood thinking of her audience. The faintest light shone through the bottom of the curtain. Katie walked over(stage left) near the Mini Christmas Tree Village and sat on the mini stool and envisioned the set design and the cast. Her mind wandered back to eight months ago when she first approached the church board about this play/project.

Immediately it was rejected as too expensive. “Not a required event for the church this year”, said Chairperson Bailey. The other members shook their heads in total agreement. She felt defeated when she left the meeting. Then her phone rang and the New Pastor had asked if she would mind meeting with him and a small group of community leaders to see if funding could be garnered with church and community resources. She readily agreed.

After hanging up the phone, she smiled. This was the sign of hope she needed. Business and Community involvement was the main focus of any church. Her mind raced as she thought of designing audition announcements and seeing new faces in her production!

She remembered how she tried to hold on to her excitement as she contacted the Theater committee. She called Lucy first. Lucy who was the first to tell her not to hesitate. Lucy her dearest friend since 9th grade. Critique person of all her stories and plays. Saw this only as opportunity knocking. “You Go, Girl!” She exclaimed.

But as she stood on the stage her faith seemed halted.. This play is my future. My dream. My hope. “God, there has to be just one more word” to let me know everything will be allright.” “Please don’t be upset with me Father”.”help my unbelief”.

She sat and listened. Her mind raced with “to do” lists for everyone. Opening night was getting nearer. Lucy had teased her about Pastor Mack’s sudden interest in this production. They laughed together as they both said, “Such a wonderful, Man.” She like him. But she had to wait. Before the Mono outbreak everything was finally moving in the right direction. The Church had approved the additional funding. The countdown was on. But still Katie waited. She thought of how her Dad would pray before preaching. She began to bite her nails. Her knee jumped. She prayed again, “Help thou my unbelief”. She waited. Then she felt the shift in the air.

As the door opened slowly, the Janitor, Paul Haines startled her with his cough. When he saw her nervously sitting there. He said to her, “Young lady let go of your worries and just let God handled everything”. She stopped biting her nails and her knee stopped jumping as she stood. He smiled. Then helped Katie with her coat and reached upward to the back shelf to begin his work as she was leaving.

As she walked out the backstage doorway, she began to count away her worries and count in all the good things that were possible. She neared her car and Pastor Green was approaching with a smile. She tilted her head towards the stars and whispered.....three, two, one.

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