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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: See (07/22/10)

TITLE: Getting God's Perspective
By Emily Owen


I join the queue behind a lady.
Please let her be the non-chatty kind!
She turns out not to be.
‘Hello, I’m Joan. I’m new to the area.’
I nod.
She pauses. I don’t fill the pause. She carries on.
‘I have a cat. I hope he settles well into this area. He’s black, with 3 white paws and a….’
I interrupt. ‘The bus is here!’
In town, I find the shoe repair shop. I open the door and see the size of the queue – does everyone need shoes heeling today?!
I join the line, behind a Mum and her little girl.
‘Mum,' says the girl, ‘I’m thirsty!’
‘Sorry, darling, but I don’t have a drink for you. We’ll get one as soon as we’ve finished in this shop.’
Silence. The queue shuffles forward.
‘Mum,' says the girl, ‘I’m thirsty!’
‘I know,’ says her Mum soothingly, ‘Not long now, then we’ll get you a drink.’
The Mum turns to me and smiles apologetically.
‘I don’t suppose you have a bottle of water with you?’
I begin to feel annoyed. ‘No.’
Finally I reach the counter, then go to do my other shopping. Hours later, I arrive home, exhausted. What a day!
My mind goes back to the bus stop. I hope that lady hasn’t moved near me!
‘Why?’ asks the voice that I know is the Lord.
‘I’d never get anything done! And besides, there’s only so much chatter I can take!’
‘But I know why she has the cat. And the new house.’
Now I’m interested, almost despite myself.
‘Why, Lord?’
‘She had to sell her old house when her husband died. Leaving was hard. She’s lived there all her life.’
‘Oh,’ I say, slightly subdued. ‘And what about the cat?’
‘The cat is for company. She’s lonely now that she has no one to talk to.’
‘But Lord, she talked to me,’ I say, defensively.
‘No,' He says gently, ‘She talked at you. You didn’t respond.’
‘Well, I didn’t know what I know now, did I? I’d have chatted more if I’d known.’
‘You could have known. The signs were there, you just didn’t look.’
I swallow hard. He’s right. The signs were there. Her red rimmed eyes, the way she kept twisting her ancient wedding ring….the signs were there, I just chose not to see them.
Suddenly, I want to help, I want to listen, I want to see beneath the words to what she’s really saying.
I hope she’s moved into a house near mine!
My thoughts are full of what a good neighbor I’ll be when He interrupts….
‘And what about the Mum and daughter?’
‘What about them? The girl was whining, the Mum was ineffectual. End of story.’
He smiles sadly. ‘Let me tell you the real story…’
‘Not long ago, the girl was in hospital. She has leukemia. She was allowed home recently but returns to hospital frequently for treatment. The drugs make her thirsty. When the little girl was taken ill, her Mum had to give up work and then, almost at the same time, her Dad was made redundant. Money is tight. And her parents are worried. Her Mum is permanently tired and stressed…..and today was the first time she forgot to bring a bottle of water for her daughter…’
‘Lord, stop. I get the picture. But, to be fair, I wasn’t to know, was I?’ Now I’m pleading.
‘You could have known. The signs were there. You just didn’t look.’
My heart sinks and I cast my mind back. He’s right, of course. The signs were there. The dark circles under the Mum’s eyes, the cracked shoes in her hand, her daughter’s unusually short hair, the exhaustion in her voice….
Suddenly, I want to help, I want to listen, I want to see beneath the words to what she’s really saying.
But how? I don’t know anything about them, all I know is that they have some shoes needing mending…..
I rush back to the bus stop. I can go and pay for the shoes!
I sit on the bus, willing it to go faster. It’s as if paying for the shoes marks a change in me. A change that is determined to see beneath the words to what people are really saying…
‘Thank you, Lord,’ I whisper.
The man sitting by me starts telling me about his grandson.
I turn to him.
‘Oh yes? Do you see him often….?’

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This article has been read 306 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Farrow07/29/10
Ouch! convicting....great illustration.
Ivy Strader07/29/10
It's hard to listen to people, really listen, when we have "more important" things to do. Great job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/30/10
This story has such an important lesson that many of us need to hear or be reminded of. You did a great job using such descriptive words.

It would have been easier to read if you had used traditional paragraphs and double spaced between them. It's always a good idea to hit the preview button before you hit submit. It will help you decide if that's the format you want to use.

Thank you for sharing such an important message. I enjoyed and recognized the British words and form. That too is a reminder that the world is such a small one and we are all connected.
Heather MacInnis08/04/10
What a beautiful reminder to really care about others--to see them through God's eyes.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/05/10
Congratulations for placing in the top 15 of your level!