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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: Broken Shells
By Deanna Wessel


The egg slowly and silently rolled off the countertop and splattered on the ceramic tile floor. Jolted from my thoughts, I glanced down at the broken shell. A trickle of yellow oozed from its cracks…and salty wetness began to fill my eyes. Trying hard to swallow the lump in my throat, I tilted my head back and blinked frantically. I had to control the torrent of tears brewing just below the surface.

“If one more thing goes wrong…one more thing…I’ll break…I’ll just break…” I spoke to the empty room, “and the little bit of life left inside me will ooze out through my broken shell.”

Getting a grip on my emotions, I grabbed several paper towels off the holder. “God,” I whispered, “I can’t do this anymore…I need help.” I retrieved a damp cloth from the sink and dropped to my knees to wipe up my mess. I grasped the fractured shell between my thumb and forefinger and held it a foot or so above the puddle, allowing the rest of the egg to drain before I tossed it in the trash.

My daughter, Kim, burst through the garage door and ran through the kitchen. Startled to see me huddled on the floor, she changed direction and came to my side. “What happened, Mom? Is everything alright?”

Oh, God. Surely she must’ve thought I’d lost my mind…sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor…crying over a broken egg.

How was I going to do this? How could I tell her that I was falling apart…that her father and I hadn’t talked in weeks? In fact, he’d told me just days before that he’d been seriously thinking of moving out of the house. How could she understand how helpless it made me feel to know that mom’s doctors were talking about putting her in a nursing home? And Gary had called me into his office the day before to say that he was planning to lay off his part time office help…me.

Kim knelt beside me, putting her hand on my shoulder. “Are you OK?”

“Sure, honey…everything’s fine,” I stammered in an unfamiliar voice. It didn’t sound very convincing and Kim didn’t buy it either.

“Here, let me clean it up,” she offered.

“You’re going to be late for school. I’ll get it.”

“It’s OK, Mom. I’m already late…and it’s already half done. Let me finish. Fix us each a cup of coffee…and sit down. I’ve got it…really.” The genuine look of concern in her eyes told me to let go...to let her finish. I poured two cups of coffee and collapsed into a chair at the kitchen table.

I watched Kim as she worked. Somewhere along the way my beautiful little girl had turned into a kind, wise and compassionate young woman. She’d just turned nineteen and was in many ways more mature and insightful than some of my friends nearly twice her age. She tended to my mess unhurried. The threat of missed class work or discipline from her professor didn’t dissuade her from doing what she believed was right. Relationships always came first with Kim. Where had she learned that, anyway?

“Tell me what’s going on, Mom.”

The fear, grief, and emotion poured out in uncontrolled sobs. I rested my head on the kitchen table and cried for what seemed like hours. Kim didn’t say a word for the longest time. She simply rested her hand on my bowed head and gently stroked my graying hair. She then whispered to me over and over that she loved me…that everything would be alright. She reminded me…again and again…that God is faithful, and that He hears the cries of His children.

My daughter prayed for me that morning at the kitchen table. I don’t remember the exact words she said, but I do know that it was the most precious thing she’s ever done for me. I realized at the end of our time together that God would provide all I needed. He'd make a way for me to find healing and reconciliation. He’d help me find the resources I needed…and He’d show me how to work toward wholeness in my relationship with my husband.

He’d help me find a way to put my broken shell back together again...

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This article has been read 995 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 02/13/06
My compliments to the Divine "chef" who puts everything back together, and to you for a job well done.
Shelby Spear02/13/06
Your words touched me deeply as I could vividly recall my own moments of nearing my breaking point. God bless your amazing daughter for being a shining Light in your time of need. Thank you for this beautiful story.
Jessica Schmit02/14/06
This is wonderful. Awesome job!
Gena Killen02/14/06
Encouraging to hear we all have points in our lives we feel we are breaking. Thank you for sharing.
Shari Armstrong 02/16/06
Very real -good job!
Gwynn Turner02/20/06
Congratulations! A well-deserved first place! This piece touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. God bless you!
Crista Darr02/20/06
Bravo! Bravo! Tender and touching. Just lovely. Thank you.
Grace Sempa02/20/06
Great writing.
I loved the ending, really touching.Welldone.
Linda Watson Owen02/21/06
You've moved me to tears with this wonderful piece. The daughter in this piece sounds so much like my youngest daughter. You've really captured a precious experience here. Great writing!
This is a great work.I have two feelings about this write up.[1]I felt my self crying with the author[2]I feel i dont know how to write at all, threatened...
The attention to details,the emotions evoked, the clearity an vividness leaves me breathless...keep it up
valerie chambers09/05/06
no small wonder that you won first place.this article made me want to read more. you are very talented.keep writing.