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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sightseeing (08/08/05)

TITLE: Frau Nussbaum
By Lauren Bombardier
08/10/05


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I pulled the map out and squinted at it. The wind whipped my hair into my eyes and I impatiently scraped it back. It was time for a haircut, I decided. The map folded over itself and I slapped it back open which tore it a bit on one of the creases. Great! Just what I need, I thought to myself. First I get lost and then I destroy the only map I have! This trip is a waste of time.

I was on a backpacking trip across Europe. There were two reasons I was here. The first was because I had just graduated from college and I wanted to do this before I didn't have time. The second reason was because of Mike. Mike was my fiancÚ. Yes, was. He had died two months ago in a freak accident while helping his parents build their dream house. The irony is that he had died 3 days before we were to marry. We had the funeral in place of the wedding. This backpacking trip was supposed to be our honeymoon.

I had not cried when Mike died. I did not want to cry now, so I packed up the map and got back in the car I had rented. There was a village about 5 miles to the south, so I decided to head there for lunch. I gripped the steering wheel tightly enough that my knuckles turned white. God! Why did You do this to me?!? I screamed silently. It's not fair!

I paid no attention to the countryside. Mike was the sightseer and liked to take his time. I, on the other hand, just wanted to get there. He always had to make sure that I saw the beautiful things that I would have otherwise missed. I didn't even try this time.

I came to the village quicker than I had thought I would. It was a quaint place, with a fountain in the square and buildings built close together. I parked the car in front of an eating house, and took a deep breath. It really wouldn't do to go out in public the way I was feeling. I needed to calm down.

The inside of the eating house was nice and cool. The proprietress was a kindly woman who fortunately knew English. I placed my order and found a seat by the window. I had a view of the fountain, which was really a work of art. It was a bronze statue of woman pouring water over the feet of her son. Beside the fountain there was an elderly woman gazing up at it.

"That is Frau Nussbaum. Her husband and his mother posed for that fountain. She comes to look at it every day." The proprietress shook her head sadly as she filled my coffee mug.

"She looks so sad," I replied as I looked at the frau more closely.

"Herr Nussbaum died when he was building a new home for themselves. They had been together for almost 50 years. She has not been the same since he died." The proprietress went back to her kitchen, still shaking her head.

I kept thinking about Frau Nussbaum when I was back on the road. Her husband had died the same way Mike had, but at least she had been given the chance of living a life with him. For nearly 50 years they had lived together, breathed together, loved together, and now she was without him. I could not imagine how that would be.

As I was thinking these things, I saw a little church by the side of the road. I stopped my car and got out. The church appeared to be abandoned. The doors had faded and one was hanging off of its hinges. Inside there were no pews, but the altar was still there. Behind the altar was a huge wooden cross. I couldn't help it; I knelt at the altar and started to cry. I realized I had been so selfish. Here I was moping around when I still had my life to live. And I had my life because of what Christ did on the cross. Mike had been a believer too, so I knew I'd see him again. What about Frau Nussbaum? Would she ever see her husband again? I didn't know. I began to pray for her. As I did, I felt the bitterness melt away. The grief was still there, but now there was hope.


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This article has been read 794 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Reni Bumpas08/15/05
Wow! Excellent story. It tugged at my heart in more ways than one.
Shari Armstrong 08/17/05
A beautifully told story.
M'Kayla Kelly08/18/05
I like this story - lots of emotions - the pain so many of us experience and the hope of a brighter future. Thanks for sharing!
Val Clark08/19/05
This is a beautiful, well told, story Lauren. You had my attention from the word go. I love the contrast between the woman and her deceased fiancÚ. (My husband helps me enjoy the scenery, too) so true, also, how the bitterness fades when we pray for others. As we know it is written from our characters point of view you can save words by not saying I decided or I thought. Loved it! Well done.
Debra Brand08/19/05
Very poignant and lovely. Good lesson. Emotions came through well. Good reader identification.
Jan Ackerson 08/20/05
I love the concept of prayer melting away bitterness. Very true, and well-written.
Tisha Martin08/20/05
This story is well-written and had a poignant message. Good job!! =)
Shannon Redmon08/20/05
I liked the creativity of this story and the message of hope in the midst of grief. I would have liked to see more action verbs describing the eating place and the statue instead of using "was" as your verb. More like you wrote in the first paragraph.
Shelley Snyder08/20/05
Good story. I like how she took her problem to the Lord and let Him help melt her bitterness. The only way to become unselfish and unself-centered is to put our focus on others, and prayer is a way to help. Thanks for reminding us of that in your story.
Julianne Jones08/21/05
An enjoyable read. Well done!
Nina Phillips08/22/05
This was a wonderful story from beginning to end. Very heart-felt, and emotional, yet betwixt and between a very awesome message of God's love woven throughout. Thank you for sharing. God bless ya, littlelight