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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outlook (06/02/11)

TITLE: The Great Depression
By W. Yvonne Birnell


I still remember the day I asked Grandma a question that changed my outlook on life forever. It wasn’t the question per-say, but the answer.

We had just finished studying the Great Depression at school and I came away with a point of view that I would never call anything like that time, Great. How could anyone call the crash of the stock market great? How could anyone call all those jobs lost, Great? How could anyone call all those homeless people, Great? So I went and asked grandma, “Why was the Depression called the Great Depression?”

Grandma sat silent for a moment or two with her eyes closed, then turn to her end-table and picked up her Bible. She turned to John 15 and read to me starting with verse 1. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” She then closed her Bible and set it back on the table, rose from her chair and said, “Follow me.”

We proceeded out-side and there she pointed to her rose garden. “What do you think of my rose bushes Joey? “

I looked up at grandma and said, “You know I think they are lovely grandma, I tell you that every time we come to visit.”

“What do you think of Mrs. Pansey’s roses across the street?”, grandma asked me then.

“You know that also grandma, cause I told you, Mrs. Pansey’s roses looks like they are taking over her yard. Growing every where and only the flowers when you can see them are a little pretty. What does that have to do with the Great depression and what you read from the Bible?’ I asked.

“ I look at that time in my life as the Great Pruning, not the Great Depression.”, grandma said. Then she waved her arm around over her rose garden and continued, “That is when God looked down and saw His garden out of control and God pruned a nation and brought them closer to Him. Grandma reached out her arms and drew me in real close, “Come here Joey, you look a little confused, walk with me and I will explain.”

I walked and listened as grandma spoke, “You see Joey, unless you prune the branches, they just keep spreading out, farther and farther from the vine. The branches get thinner the farther away they get. If left unattended they get over loaded and their burdens will bring them down to the ground. You see in the nineteen twenties, things started to grow fast and people started to blossom with all kinds of fruit. Cars, houses, appliances for their houses, and every thing had to be new. It felt good back then at the beginning, but they started growing away from God. They went into debt to get things instead of waiting on the Lord to supply.”

Grandma paused for a long time, it seemed to me, so I looked up to see tears in her eyes. I asked, “Why are you crying Grandma?”

She smiled though the tears were steaming down her face and said with a voice so sweet, “Joey, these tears are tears of joy for the great mercy God showed us at that time. He took all those heavy burdens, cut them off and brought us back closer to him. Yes I admit it hurt at first, but with the healing came great strength. He brought people and families closer together, people worked and saved again.” Then looking at her roses she went on to say,, ’ As I prune my roses I remind them next year when they come back up, they will each be a stronger branch. I say, ‘You will produce bigger flowers and stand up straight to show them off with joy.” Then she cupped my face and said, ”I pray I can be a strong branch to help support the younger till they grow and get pruned and then grow strong. I love you Joey.”

“I love you too grandma”, I said. Wow, as I now look back I can see how God pruned me. I thank Him for my Grandma being there for me and helping me when I started getting to big for my britches and when the cutting came, her help with the healing part.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Hiram Claudio06/09/11
Such a healthy "outlook" on such a difficult time in American history. It hols a special lesson as we face tough times now. I thank God for your Grandma too!
Kathleen Langridge06/10/11
Turning evil into good. Such a great 'outlook' on the Great Depression. You might want to watch your use of 'to' and 'too.' Well written, engaging to follow.
Nancy Bucca06/12/11
You create a very visible and interesting word picture of the pruning process. It's the sort of perspective that really sticks with you.
Bonnie Bowden 06/13/11
Your grandma was very wise. Only God can take the bad and turn it into good.

When you end a quotation with a question mark or period, you don't need to use a comma.

Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/17/11
Congratulations for ranking 14th in level one!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/17/11
This is a great story with such an important message ESP today with so many parents giving their kids everything they want at the risk of losing their house or having to file bankruptcy. Great writing.