Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Key (02/14/13)
By LaRue Kendrick
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Randy sat at the side of his dying grandfather’s bed and leaned in close to hear what Granddad was saying. “Boy, it’s good you came. There’s a key you must find. I can’t tell you where it is because it is for you alone to find. You must search . . .” Then his grandfather’s voice trailed off, and he was gone.
Randy hadn’t been to church since he left home five years ago. The funeral service brought back too much heartache for him to hear what the pastor was saying. Randy’s parents had been in a fatal car accident the month before he left home, and he hadn’t been back since. His sister, Judy, sat next to him in the pew and wiped her eyes. Their grandfather had been a pillar of strength all of their lives and had tried many times to talk Randy into coming back home instead of running away from his pain. Judy had kept track of Randy’s roaming and had called to tell him that Granddad was failing fast, and he should come right away if he wanted to see him alive.
The crowd of supporters gradually left following the funeral until it was just Randy and Judy in the cozy little house their father had been raised in. “Will you stay awhile and help go through Granddad’s things? I know there are things here that you should have.”
Randy looked at her with questioning eyes. “Do you know anything about a key Granddad said I should have? He said he couldn’t tell me where it was because I had to find it. That seemed strange to me.”
Judy thought for a moment. “He never said anything about a key to me. Did he say what it belonged to? Maybe that would help you have some idea where to look.”
“It was just before he passed on, but he didn’t seem confused or anything. He just said I had to find it. Maybe it really isn’t that important. I’ll stay a few days and help you. There are so many things here; so many memories. I don’t know how long I can handle them.”
“Randy, you can’t run away from God and all that’s happened. Your pain will follow you wherever you go.”
“Don’t push me, Judy. I have to deal with it my own way.” At that, Randy stood up and went to the back door and walked out into the yard. This yard, the old tree swing, the camper they had all had so many good times in, the bicycle he had learned to ride on, so many memories. Now that’s all he had.
Randy and Judy looked through every drawer, every box and decided what needed to be done with each item. The job was wearisome. At night each lay awake long into the night, thinking and grieving once again.
By the end of the tenth day, most everything had been claimed by either Judy or Randy or boxed to be taken to a shelter. Some things had no place to go but the trash, and it was hard to just throw things away. In all of the looking, no key had been found that didn’t have a particular purpose. There were door keys, old car keys, keys to Granddads old treasure box but no key that Randy thought was meant for him.
The treasure box held old coins, medals earned by Granddad in his younger days as a Scout, a few arrowheads that Randy had helped find and an old Bible that had been Granddad and Grandmom’s wedding Bible. It was well used and well loved.
Randy sat down and opened the cover. He was just going to look at it for a minute and then put it back in the box. An hour and a half later, Judy found him sitting on the floor holding the Bible with tears running down his cheeks. “Are you all right? What’s going on?”
“I found the key, Judy. It’s been right here waiting for me all my life. Granddad had underlined John 3:16 and written my name beside the verse in the margin. Then he drew a key around my name and wrote, ‘The key to Randy’s happiness.’ I have been talking to the Lord, and just gave Him my life, Judy. The peace I have been searching for is right here, right now. I don’t need to run anymore.”
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