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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Expire (08/01/13)

TITLE: My argument with God
By Chris Brass


“Your grandfather has just expired.”

I was standing in the lobby of a movie theater, following my mother’s instructions to call her before bringing my little brothers and cousins home. I remember thinking, that’s a subtle way to say someone has died, it sounded to me like something you would say about a gallon of milk in the refrigerator to long. But I've always been partial to bluntness, if you’re subtle I won’t always get it, but if your blunt I can appreciate it. I guess that explains some of my personal relationship with God.

“They haven’t come to get him yet, but by the time you get done having a hamburger, it should be safe to bring them home.” My mother instructed me.

My grandfather had cancer, and the family moved him into my Aunt’s house so he could have a peaceful last few days. Cancer had taken its toll on his body to the point that he looked like a survivor of a concentration camp. He was in pain and the only time he looked happy was when family stopped to see him. We knew the end was coming, so each of us grandkids went in to see him prior to leaving just to say goodbye, and being the oldest at sixteen it was my duty to get them out when the time came.

I don’t think I have ever feared death, the pain associated with dying yes, but death no. I grew up in an Episcopalian Church as a kid and had always been taught that when you die, you go to heaven. Unless you commit suicide, then that was different, for that you spend eternity in hell. But the thought of committing suicide is something that I've struggled with for some time. It has taken such a hold of me that I’ve sat on a bed with a bottle of sleeping pills and a plastic bag. I've even had a razor blade at my wrists more than once. At one point it even got to the point where I had a loaded handgun in my mouth with my finger on the trigger. There comes a point for some people where the fear of hell no longer is enough to prevent it.

When I was at my worst I cried out to God telling him that I had enough. That life just wasn't worth it anymore, and to scare me with hell just won’t do it. Divorce, lost jobs and losing a kid takes its toll on the psyche to the point that even hell looks better than this. That was probably where I felt the closest to God.

“If I’m your child, why would you permit this to happen to me?” I cried out. “You’re supposed to keep me from getting hurt!”

I felt like he was sitting next to me, and pointing to a bible. “You’ve read that book. Tell me one place where I promised you that.” I saw it as a challenge as my mind raced to find someplace in the bible where I had read that I would not endure any suffering and pain, but I could only remember Jesus telling his followers that they would endure much of it.

After that night, I don’t feel that if I had brought my life to an end that I would have gone to hell, but I did realize that God has a use for me and as long as he didn’t take my life he would do something through me that no other could. To me, that is a much more motivational incentive not to pull the trigger then telling me that I would go to hell.

I learned that he did not think
that my usefulness has expired.

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This article has been read 169 times
Member Comments
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Dannie Hawley 08/08/13
You've crafted a powerful message in this piece. So many folks have times of feeling that their lives just don't matter. You've let us know through your article that the truth is that God has a plan for every life, which makes each one matter, indeed. My only suggestion would be in the transition. At first I thought your MC was the same age throughout, but the MC would not have been sixteen and have suffered the loss of a child and divorce.
You put a lot of thought into this and I would encourage you to keep writing.
C D Swanson 08/08/13
You've told a powerful story, with the topic spot on. I very rarely read others comments, but I agree with Dannie about the MC's transition in age. Other than that, your story had a strong message, and ending.

Good job. I look forward to reading your next entry.

God bless
Danielle King 08/11/13
This is really good for a first attempt at submitting an entry. There's a powerful message coming across loud and clear. I also was confused about your MC's age, but apart from that and just a couple of tiny typo's - and we all do them - I think this is a splendid effort. Well done.
Judith Gayle Smith08/11/13
Powerful, gripping and haunting. I empathize with the emotions here. I agree with all your other comments and encourage you to keep writing. You have a lot bursting within you, seeking a safe and trustworthy outlet. You have it here at Faithwriters. Great entry . . .
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/13/13
Wow this is a powerful story. My heart did double time quite a bit. I could totally relate to the MC and the pain was palpable.

The transition to the grandfather dying to contemplating suicide was a bit rough. I think you were trying to hard to be on topic, but you didn't need to be. Next time, you might want to focus on just one event. Like in this case, you could have delved further into how you felt hearing those words and being responsible for the other kids.

The suicide message is the more urgent one in my mind though. I would have started with sitting on the bed and contemplating suicide. That would pull the reader right in. The story could be about hope having an expiration date.

These are just thoughts that might help you with the next piece. They are only my opinion though. Plus you do so many things right. This is well -written with a clear conflict. The fact that you're willing to tackle such a difficult topic in hopes of helping others speaks volumes.

I've been on that bed with a bottle of pills in my hand. God has used those times to help others. I always found it ironic that I have been suicidal while simultaneously having a horrific death phobia. I see it as a way of God protecting me. I have no doubt that your words will make a huge difference in someone's life. You're very courageous and I look forward to reading more of your work.