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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)

TITLE: "Goin' To Meet Jesus"
By Kimberly Russell


Wendy's car traveled the familiar route almost without operator intervention. Lately, it seemed that she spent more time at Cheryl's place than at her own. It had become almost like a sanctuary, her only safe haven amidst the storm that her life had become. As she turned into the driveway, sunlight bounced off her windshield like a beacon announcing her arrival. Wendy felt better just knowing that soon she would have a sympathetic ear at her disposal. Cheryl had a knack for always knowing the right thing to say and Wendy couldn't wait to share the latest antics of her ex-husband, Chase.

As she pulled the car to a stop, Wendy momentarily hesitated. She certainly hadn't been a very good friend to Cheryl lately: all she'd done was whine and bend Cheryl's willing ear. Even though Cheryl never seemed to grow weary of her tirades about Chase, Wendy felt a slight twinge of conscience. Quickly she set it aside as she reminded herself of all the times Cheryl had needed her. She got out of the car and spotted seven year old Adam out in the yard with his dog. The pair frolicked near the swing set looking like a Hallmark commercial.

"Appearances really are deceiving," mused Cheryl. Her earlier attack of conscience was forgotten as she watched Adam, lost in his own solitary world. When Adam had been diagnosed with autism at the age of two, Cheryl and John's world had turned upside down. It was also an emotional roller coaster for their family and friends. Wendy remembered all the times she and Cheryl spent talking, hugging, and crying. There were also tense hours researching the Internet, making phone calls, and grasping at any tidbit of hope in an effort to convince themselves that eventually Adam would be a 'normal' child. Sadly, while 'normal' was not within Adam's grasp, he had risen to a level of high functioning with continual daily progress.

As Wendy reminisced, she puzzled about something that had bothered her at the time and still baffled her: the fact that through it all, Cheryl never seemed to lose her composure. She never railed at God for being so cruel, didn't ask why this had to happen to an innocent child, and never showed any resentment at the hand she had been dealt. She and John always said that their faith carried them through- and they trusted the Lord, no matter what.

"Well," Wendy said aloud as she prepared to go in the house, "that's just fine for them but I live in the REAL world...and after all I did for Cheryl, the least she can do is listen to my problems for a change." Fully justifying her selfish attitude, Wendy went to find her friend.

Adam soon lost interest in playing with the dog and wandered over to swing for a while. He loved to feel the soft breeze swishing by him and the sunshine warming his back as he swung. Adam like to swing better than anything because when he went up, he felt like he was going to meet God. His Sunday School teacher talked last week about how everyone would go meet Jesus in the air someday and Adam was sure that swinging was the bestest way to practice so that when Jesus came, he would be ready to go with Him to meet God. As he came back down, Adam kicked his feet really hard because he knew that kicking would make him go up higher. Adam started to sing, “Up and down, up and down, goin to meet Jesus so I hafta go up and down”.

Inside the house, Wendy and Cheryl silently watched Adam, enjoying the opportunity to experience his private world.

“Does he really believe that?” Wendy whispered, skepticism creeping into her voice.

Cheryl paused, choosing her words carefully and breathed a silent prayer. “Yes,” she finally responded, “I think he does. Adam knows Jesus and asked Him to come into his heart last year. Ever since then, he can't wait to meet Him face to face. “ She turned to Wendy and said, “You know, maybe that's something you should consider exploring. After all, when we go up to meet Him, He will come down- and your life will never be the same.” Wendy's eyes filled with tears. Nodding her head , momentarily unable to speak, she finally asked, “Do you think we could talk- about Jesus?”.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Patricia Herchenroether04/09/09
I wish my witnessing brought such compliance! This autistic child certainly is functioning on a higher level! But I believe that the ones who don't, in their innocence, will meet Jesus too. Like the title too.
Jan Ackerson 04/10/09
I have a soft spot for disabled children, so this really touched me.

Watch out for too-frequent use of cliches, and you switched POV for a paragraph (the one where the boy is swinging, and we jump from your MC's head to his head for a bit).

Sweet story, promising writing!
Beth LaBuff 04/13/09
This is a well-thoughtout story. There is something to be admired in "the faith of a child." I enjoyed reading your story.
Betty Castleberry04/13/09
Isn't it strange how "disabled" people often teach "normal" people the most important lessons?

This is nicely done.
Myrna Noyes04/14/09
Your title caught my eye, and I especially liked the paragraph about Adam on the swing, practicing to meet Jesus someday! Nice story! :)
Beckie Stewart04/15/09
Very sweet and tender story. Glad the MC began to see a need for change in her heart and life.