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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Bitter and Sweet (05/28/09)

TITLE: A Fine Line Between Tragedy and Triumph
By Lisa Johnson



The doctor told my mother that it would be morning before the baby came. He went to bed.

Ten minutes later…

My father’s only son was born; delivered by a very excited, but inexperienced intern. It was a “high forceps” delivery that left two bruises on either side of a very tiny head.

Four months later…

My mother could not get the baby to wake up. At the hospital, they said that it was a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Extensive brain damage. Irreversible.

One year later…

Medical journals of the day recorded the youngest person ever to survive six brain operations.
The doctors said, “He will require too much care. He will never be normal. The burden will be too much to bear. He will ruin the lives of your other children.”

The doctors said, “Put him into an institution.”

GOD said, “This child is my gift to you. Take him home and love him.”

No first words…
No first steps…
No first day of school…
No first date…
No graduation day…
No wedding day…
No children to carry on the family name.

He did not “ruin the lives of the other children”. My life and the lives of my sisters were made better by his presence in our parents’ home.


My parents are in their seventies now. They have provided loving care for GOD’s gift for the last fifty years.

He has never spoken a word… but he can hum every hymn he has ever heard.

He has never taken a step… but his influence on my life guided me into a career in nursing that has lasted twenty-nine years.

He never went to school… but he has been a teacher for fifty years.

Faith that moves mountains!
Hope in the face of adversity!
GOD’s grace that is sufficient!
The virtue of patience!
Compassion for “the least of these”!
Unconditional love!

These are but a few of the lessons he has taught.

He did not have children of his own… but six nieces and nephews got to see firsthand the miraculous way GOD used his life. And now, my two grandchildren will have the opportunity to be blessed by the gift GOD bestowed upon us fifty years ago… my beloved brother, David.

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This article has been read 1045 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mary Suthoff06/04/09
This is such a blessing. I very much enjoyed the progression of the story in the short steps and brief discriptions. I really enjoyed it.
diana kay06/11/09
wow such a lovely peice and so powerfully written. a winner for me!
Carol Slider 06/11/09
What a beautiful and meaningful tribute to your brother... and to your parents. Congratulations!
Beth LaBuff 06/11/09
A beautiful tribute with a wonderful message. Congratulations on your level placing and your Editor's Choice award!
Rachel Lerch06/11/09
Congratulations. I like the short paragraphs. It was easy to read. Good job.
Maria Kana Santos06/11/09
Beautiful piece! I am so blessed to have read it. Thank you so much.

You deserve the 1st place award! And a place in the Editor's Choice. Very well done.

God bless you.
Katherine Boulanger06/11/09
That was incredible. Your method of conveying your testimony was beautiful, and sounded to me almost like poetry of the finest quality.
With writing like that it is no wonder why you won first place and received editor's choice! Congratulations!
Jacob Drollinger06/11/09
I am also a beginner, (you no longer are).
That was a beautiful story, and not only was it glorious in it's foundation, it was masterfully told. It made me aspire for something more, not only in my writing, but in my life as well. Congratulations, you deserve the first place nod.
Linda Boulanger06/11/09
My daughter told me I HAD to read your story (I see she also left a message!). I agree with her that it is very much deserving of the placement. Congratulations and thank you for sharing this story that reminds us that blessings often don't appear that way to the rest of the world and we should listen to God, not them.
Deborah Porter 06/12/09
Hi Lisa. Wow! You created quite a buzz this week with your 4th place in the Editor's Choice. Well deserved. Believe me, the three ladies ahead of you are the current queens of the Challenge, so you are in very fine company.

Of course, this now means it's time to move up to Level 2 (although I suspect you won't be there very long).

Congratulations, and I'm sure we'll be seeing more of you in future lists of winners.

There celebrating the winners over on the message boards, so if you haven't already been over there, it might be a good time to pop over:

Hope to see you at the FaithWriters' Conference in August. It’s going to be an amazing time of inspiration, information and encouragement. (If I’ve already mentioned that to you, forgive me. We’re just so excited about letting members know about this great gathering.)

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Deborah Porter 06/12/09
Of course, that should be "their celebrating..." :-)
Deborah Porter 06/12/09
ROFL! I think I need to take a break for the day. I mean "They're celebrating..." Oh dear, and this is my first notice for the day. :-)

Anyway, congratulations again, Lisa.
Bryan Rudolph06/29/09
Lisa, this is just about as good as it gets by anyone, anytime, anywhere: word weaving wonderment! I look forward to much more from you, . . . satisfied soon, I hope! Bryan.
Clyde Blakely09/01/09
Lisa, this is wonderful. Heartful, beautiful - this RN has tears in his eyes.

Thank you.