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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)

TITLE: Live In The Light
By Pat Sipperly


Jed Fletcher stared out his office window onto a rain soaked 1st avenue in Hayden, Colorado. He looked on vacantly as the falling drizzle turned the beautiful postcard town into a smeared canvas of gloomy gray.

The somber pastor sipped his fourth cup of coffee while watching nothing in particular outside his window. He had just finished lunch, an apple and a meatloaf sandwich lovingly prepared by his wife, Mary. The phone remained quiet. The only emails came from professional spamers and his last flash of anything inspirational happened two weeks ago when he presided over the funeral of a complete stranger. It was a typical Thursday afternoon for a small town preacher.

“How did I end up here?” he muttered while thinking about a couple of buddies from Bible school. Goofy kids back then. But today they were both well-known Senior Pastors in mega churches coordinating full-time staffs and regularly televised services. By contrast, Pastor Fletcher was known as “Jed” to only a handful of people who met irregularly in his living room. And most didn't have televisions. Another depressing stroll down memory lane.

His personal misery was broken by a familiar voice. “You seem down today.”

Jed looked at the floor then back out the window where it had momentarily stopped raining. “I am a little down, Lord,” he said.


“Why? Want a list?” Jed thought. He tried to sum it all up into a justifiable sentence. “Well, I thought things would be different by now, I guess.” The pastor of nearly ten years moved to his chair, carefully avoiding the sticky duct tape repair on the cushion and sat quietly.

“May I show you something?” the Voice asked.

Jed nodded in quiet expectation as the clouds thinned over Hayden. The sun poured through a narrow crevice in the thick overcast, through the window in Jed's office and onto the dark paneled wall opposite his desk. A swath of light appeared with a perfectly straight, diagonal line cutting off the bottom. The upper portion of the wall was bathed in sunshine, while the lower half remained shaded.

“What do you see in the light?”

Jed looked up to an American Flag and three framed pictures. One was of him and his wife Mary, another of his two daughters, Susan and Sarah, and the third was of the congregation during a potluck celebrating their first full year in Hayden. There were six people in the photo.

“Do you like where you live?”

The brightly colored stars and stripes also appeared to be interested in his response.

“Yes, Lord. I love my country very much.”

The Voice replied, “You're welcome.”

Jed was silent.

“Are you happy with your wife? She loves you very much.”

The pastor fidgeted uncomfortably. He was now receiving the familiar message he had given out to others. “Yes, Lord, I'm very blessed to have Mary. Thank you.” Jed's eyes began to water.

“How do you feel about your daughter's health problem?

He quickly sat up. “What health problem?” he demanded.

“You're welcome,” came the reply.

Getting the point, Jed nervously chuckled then sat back in his chair relieved.

He studied the remaining photo of the small congregation gathered around an old park bench. It was sunny that day. Some of the faces were smiling, some were frowning. If another photo of the church was taken today the same number of people would be in it.

“We measure success differently. Man sees the outward appearance, numbers and activities. I see hearts, obedience to my word and things done in secret.”

The heavy words sunk into his soul. Then he looked down to the darker part of the wall, below
the neatly framed pieces of his life. The contrast was obvious. In the shade there was nothing.

He glanced back up to the images of his family and the congregation.

“How much room is there in the light?”

Jed's eyes ran over the large, open portion of the wall catching the sun then answered, “There is much room, Lord”

The Voice concluded, “Live in the light.”

A moment later the the sun was gone but the quiet message echoed loud and clear.

The rest of the afternoon was wet and uneventful, but a grateful Jed Fletcher walked home that day wearing a smile not even the rain could wash off.

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This article has been read 692 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Melinda Wells05/28/09
Oh! Beautifully written! I love that God does not measure things according to the worlds standards, but that He looks at our hearts. Thank you so much for sharing!
Jan Ackerson 05/29/09
As someone who has experienced similar frustrations with a small church, I could really relate to this well-written piece.
Janice Fitzpatrick05/29/09
Ohh, I like this! Sometimes I'd like to be going to a small church. I love our large one but unless you get involved in small groups a person kind of gets a bit lost in the crowd. Very well written and the descriptions and dialogue were great! Keep on writing! God bless!!
Brenda Rice 05/31/09
I was my pastor's first secretary. When he began preaching if he had not had five children the congregation would have six also.

I love your story. God is so good to us all the time.
Mary Dahl06/01/09
Great job on your article! You really get the point across.
Gordon Lavoie06/01/09
The simple truth. I enjoyed your story very much.
Karlene Jacobsen06/01/09
Such a good reminder to give thanks. We tend to see all that is wrong and forget all that we've been blessed with. Thank you.
diana kay06/03/09
i love some of your descriptive phrases "beautiful postcard town into a smeared canvas of gloomy gray. " quite poetric in fact and the bit about the chair with the duct tape. I felt you really "knew" the caracter you were describing. I liked the chatty warm coversation with the Lord as well.
Deborah Porter 06/06/09
Hi Pat. I just wanted to leave a quick note to congratulate you on your 2nd place win in Level 1, and to let you know you also did extremely well overall, ranking 32nd out of all the entries for the week.

It was a big week of entries, so you really deserve an extra pat on the back. If you would like to see the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.
Again, well done. :-)

Time to move up to Level 2.

Hope to see you at the FaithWriters' Conference in August. It’s going to be an amazing time of inspiration, information and encouragement.

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)