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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Experiment (02/16/12)

TITLE: The Testing Lab of Life
By Ken Langenbrunner
02/20/12


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The little boy peeked around the corner, spying on grandpa sitting on the big wooden front porch. He had just come out to enjoy a smoke and the cool breeze of the evening and the last flicker of a sunset’s dazzling, fading rays. The nine year old thinks he is invisible to grandpa’s lack of glasses, but he has been spotted by the wisdom of a parent that has raised eight kids, all who tried in the past to fool him as well. With a smile on his face, and a chuckle under his breath, grandpa ignores the smiling child and gets up to go inside, leaving him to believe he is invisible.

But unfortunately, grandpa’s distraction by the little lad caused him to leave his smokes and matches behind on the steps. The sharp eagle eyes of the boy zeroed in on the items left behind and quickly swooped in, grabbed them, and made a bee line for the backyard. Awkwardly, he lights up one of the cigarettes, lays it down on an old slab of concrete, and returns the items just in time before grandpa comes out looking for them. He runs quickly back to his focus of deception, and manipulates it between his fingers as he has seen it done so many times on the silver screen and on the newest contraption to hit the market: television.

As he prances around pretending to be a singing star, chocking and gagging after each puff, trying to find the right combination for this new experience, the darkness of the evening takes over, causing the light from that little cigarette to be very visible to a searching parent. My mother…uh…I mean HIS mother races out the back door with that look and posture that assured him he was in big trouble. The cigarette went flying and his bottom was swatted all the way back to the house, thus ending his brief test of manhood.

Yes, it was I who pulled this deception many years ago, and I always thank God for being caught, and spared the agonizing costs and woes associated with this habit. When I look back in life to many other “situations” I had put myself into, I realize that life for many of us is just one big laboratory for testing the boundaries of existence. We had a twenty foot maple tree in the front yard, and I imagine it was daily I would climb that tree against my mothers understanding that I needed to see how much higher I could go with each attempt.

My lack of experience in life had yet to teach me the consequences that could have followed with just one false slip of my footing. I could only see the thrill and the challenge of my efforts, whereas my mother was seeing only the danger and loss of a child. We go through many trials and errors in our life, who is to say which ones are either foolishness or appropriate?

Sometimes we catch ourselves straddling the fence of life, testing the waters on the other side of reason and hope, thinking we know better then the Creator what is best for us. Even with our fortunate position of having the printed Word of God that tells us of the travels of Israel and their misfortunes when they disobeyed His parenting, we still desire to dip our toes into the filth of the world to see how far we can push His mercy and grace. When giving my testimony in morning church one Sunday, I think I shocked some friends when I told how I was drugged as a little child.

I paused for a moment to let those words sink in, and then I continued, “When I visited my grandparents, I was ‘drug’ to the Nazarene church, and when at home, my mom ‘drug’ me to the Baptists!” After the laughter settled, I told how fortunate and blessed I had been to have those caring souls in my younger life, and how these different laboratories of my youth gave me a sturdy foundation to build on that has stood the test of time and weathered the storms of deception. We need to be taught at an early stage in life to be careful of the places we “drag” our character and testimony. Christian parenting is being tested continuously in our society today, and we are losing ground rapidly.


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This article has been read 248 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Bucca02/23/12
This certainly was an interesting story. I love how the MC got caught, and the message with which you wrapped it all up.

The only thing that threw me off a little was that "drugged" idea you unexpectedly included at the end. It's a wonderful idea, and I love the pun. But it might have been nice to see you connect it to the whole smoking episode. Pulling themes like that together would help strengthen an already powerful story. The word "Drugged" would have also been interesting as part of the title.

Needless to say, it did make me smile. Good job.

Camille (C D) Swanson 02/24/12
Hahahahahahaha...I loved how he "shocked the people" with the word drugged. That was funny. Good story with well meaning message. Very strong ending with a powerful reality check on todays world.

Great job with this.

God Bless~
Jody Day 02/25/12
Nice job. Add a scripture and you've got the makings of a good devotional.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/26/12
I enjoyed this. I laughed at the culprit getting caught. I like how you explored life a bit more. After all life is just one huge experiment.
Kathleen Langridge03/01/12
I appreciated the real life experiments. You kept me interested. I also felt the 'drugged' comment was good maybe even worth a piece on its own and it took the focus away, just a bit. Keep writing, you are worth reading.