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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Space (01/23/06)

TITLE: Choose Life
By Deanna Wessel


Grayson held on to the jagged stone wall as tightly as his tired, bloodied hands would allow. His heartbeat was wild and erratic. His breathing was shallow and out of control. He felt sick to his stomach and lightheaded. And yet…he had to choose.

Early that morning Grayson had casually made the choice to follow his friends Kyle, Greg and Lloyd up the mountainside. They’d begun their hike shortly after breakfast. The first few hours afforded boisterous, jovial conversation as well as sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. The four friends talked about their wives and their kids, their jobs and their dreams as they walked past unusual mountain plants and boulders the size of small buildings.

They’d stopped for dinner shortly before two. Grayson mentioned to the group that he thought they were headed up an unmapped ravine; forging ahead in a direction none had contemplated or even investigated. All agreed they were up to the challenge, donned their backpacks, and headed higher still.

The air had suddenly turned sharp and cold, stinging their skin through warm-weather clothes. The sun hid behind a pile of black-bottomed clouds, warning of impending doom. If only Grayson had listened. If only he’d had enough sense to pay attention. But the call to adventure outweighed the call to reason and safety…so they journeyed on.

The four middle-aged men found themselves on a mountain trail that kept getting more and more narrow. Eventually it disappeared, leaving them on a slope surrounded by sharp, sneering rocks projecting from the mountain side. The ground beneath their feet was covered with loose sand and gravel. The darkening sky and foreboding conditions told them they needed to find shelter--a flat, protected spot to rest and re-group. So, they pushed on in their search, each one losing his footing and his confidence.

The cliff-like drop off on the side of the mountain came as a total shock. Each man found himself desperately clinging to what was now a steep, rocky slope. Its jagged edges cut into their hands and arms.

Just to the right was a flat spot on the mountainside. It was covered with tall, thick, grass—a perfect spot to rest. There was only one problem. Reaching it would require that each friend, in turn, jump across a five-foot-wide space. And, the bottom of the space was about forty feet below where they stood. One misstep could mean the end.

One by one they went. Each said a prayer, took a deep breath, let go of the rocky hillside and leapt to safety—first Kyle, then Greg, then Lloyd. Each one landed soundly on the flat refuge across the rocky ravine.

Now it was Grayson’s turn…but something in him froze. The more he told himself to jump…the tighter his grip became.

“If I jump I could die! I might fall to the bottom and be broken to pieces…If I stay here I could die. I’ll get so tired I won’t be able to hold on…and I’ll fall. I don’t want to die, Father. I don’t want to die…I want to live…”

“This day…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live (Deut. 30:19, NIV)

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This article has been read 682 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 01/31/06
Good connection between the beginning and the end - a literal "cliff-hanger" bringing the reader full circle. The spiritual application was very well done. I'm glad you stopped where you did, leaving the reader to face the question of his/her own condition. A couple of minor things: it should be "narrower and narrower" rather than "more and more narrow" and I think it should be "forbidding conditions". Well done.
Jan Ackerson 02/03/06
Yikes, very suspenseful! Great job! (I'd keep "foreboding," personally). Loved your ending and the spiritual application.
Cheryl Harrison02/03/06
Good writing. Loved your descriptions. This one could be used for several spiritual applications. Choices, faith, discernment, etc...Good job.
Shari Armstrong 02/03/06
Well done - and a cliff hanger -literally!! :)
Pat Guy 02/04/06
This would be great as a lead in to a youth group discussion! Great job! Hope to read more of these!
Val Clark02/15/06
Very visual writing. A story with lots of applications - for me it was sometimes we have to almost lose what we have to really appreciate it. Well done. Yeggy