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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Flat (01/03/13)

TITLE: Solace
By Gerry Depuit


The coarse beach sand trickled between her toes. From her vantage point on the sand dune Emily had a great view of the sun drenched beach, the bright midday sunlight glittering on every grain of sand, the deserted East Coast beach, pertinently named “Cosy Corner”, was now tranquil, white and fresh. The pounding, blue ocean's waves crashing against the cliffs at the northern end of the secluded cove, dragging at the matted bull kelp that was securely anchored to the cliff face. Overhead the seagulls frantically swooping and dipping above the waves but she didn’t seem to see any of it.
The Christmas and New Year celebrations were over and her friends and their families had left the remote coastal cottage heading back to their busy regimented lives, almost in an obscene rush to become victims for another year. During the past ten days Emily had listened to enough work related stress triggers to last until next Christmas.
Emily was happily married with a loving husband and three sons who all had promising but demanding careers and all had work commitments for the festive season. Her husband, Josh, was not due home until next week from his job as a “fly in-fly out” mineworker in the North Queensland outback, she missed him terribly.
This had been their first Christmas apart, a precious time always highlighted by the true meaning of the saviour’s birth, a gift too wonderful for words, as Jesus was sent to bring release from the death grip of sin. Her precious family always re-committed themselves to God at this time of year as well as to each other. The well-meaning phone calls were a frustrating substitute.
Because she was to be alone it had been decided that some of their church family would come to their holiday cottage by the sea and keep her company. They were all equipped with their own caravans and camping gear and the workload had been evenly shared but it just did not seem like Christmas. It had been more like a week of venting and unloading life’s problems. To Emily it appeared that God had been left within the confines of their church building, she was left feeling flat and disappointed.
Emily closed her eyes, placed her elbows on her knees locking her sandy fingers as she prayed for comfort.
As she opened her eyes two seagulls were within reach at her feet. As they repeatedly cocked their heads looking at her in a puzzling way, Emily smiled at their antics feeling a stirring within her spirit. It was as though she was being interrogated for her emptiness suggesting that God’s options were not enough. Emily rose to her feet as the birds hovered above.
As she descended the sand dune with uncontrollable long strides she could feel the warm golden sand rushing between her toes and the cooling sea breeze washing her face.
At the water’s edge she could feel the loneliness, emptiness and disappointment drain away as the crystal water touched her toes, the cool soft caress spread through her very being as she felt the tide slowly and delicately swallowing the sand beneath her feet.
The tide seemed to carry all her negative emotions out to sea as God’s love washed over her. Lifting her head she laughed loudly as her two seagulls were in full flight squawking and swooping with delight.
Sitting on an elevated rocky outcrop watching the sun descend in the hazy western sky Emily was reminded of the words of trust and comfort that her family had meditated on in times of feeling flat and dejected.
“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock”. Psalm 27: 4-5 NIV.
When Josh phoned later that evening Emily knew that Christmas was not just a time of year, it was the very essence of their faith.

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This article has been read 291 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jody Day 01/10/13
Nice job portraying her loneliness, and then her realization of God's blessing. Try to make space between paragraphs for easier reading. I'm memorizing Psalm 27 right now, so this one inspired me. Thenks, and keep writing!
Phyllis Inniss01/11/13
You described the scenery around Emily beautifully, which seemed to highlight the solace and loneliness that left her dejected. Yet, she came out of it triumphantly when the words of the psalm came to mind. It is truly amazing how the word of God can lift one's spirits from dejection to joy. Thanks for sharing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/13/13
This is an interesting story. I could so totally relate to the MC. This has been a year of change for me. My youngest went off to college, my son 13 hours away to grad school and my oldest was married. This was the first time we wouldn't all be together like we had in the past. My kids pointed out the reason we celebrate Christmas and humbled me some--much like your MC.

You do a nice job of describing the setting but you need to be careful of purple prose. It's basically when a writer gets too caught up in the details and descriptions. Because of the word limit, it is important to tighten up your sentences. For example this: The pounding, blue ocean's waves crashing against the cliffs at the northern end of the secluded cove,
might have a greater impact like this: The waves pounded the cliffs of the secluded cove.
Then that would free you up to delve deeper into your MC with something like; Emily pulled her sweater tight to protect herself from the biting wind, but the shiver that ran down her back didn't come from the cold air.
That;s not perfect but it gives a mental picture of Emily and builds a bit of the suspense.

I do think you have a knack for storytelling. I like how Emily came to her epiphany and believe whole-heartedly that God will use animals to send us just the right message. I fear some may have a hard time seeing the topic in this piece, thought I think it was about her flat affect or mood. She felt lost and lonely even though she had had people surround her. So I do see the topic in there. I also liked the contrast with the rocky outcrops and the waves crashing into the beach. Overall you have a well-written piece that delivers a powerful message. Nicely done.
C D Swanson 01/14/13
Nice story telling and a very creative way of presenting the topic. Nicely done. I enjoyed this.
God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/18/13
Congratulations on ranking 10th in level one. The highest rankings are on message boards.