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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Love (04/27/06)

TITLE: The Legal Pad
By Lindsey Martinez


When it came out, Anneís heart grew heavy and her eyes rolled back into her head as if to look for an escape from what was inevitable. Gil asked his wife where the yellow legal pad was. This wasnít the first time, and it certainly wouldnít be the last time that they would see the legal pad.

Gil wrote Anneís name at the top of the page hard and with such purpose. Anne was sure that you would be able to see the imprint through all the pages of the pad. Her Dad had done it a week ago, but it had been for a thank you note revision to her grandparents. The legal pad came out for three distinct reasons- revisions, goals, and notes for a punishment sentence. Anne grew sick as the realization of what he was doing gnawed at her very being. Anneís grades were dropping; her parents were going to get to the bottom of the cause.

Anne had seen her brother go through this many times before, but she had never been the one on the couch in front of her parents. Their faces had stares of disappointment and eyebrows raised in judgment. Anne grew more defensive with every word that came out of their mouths. The words themselves were sharp and each one cut through her teenage stubbornness until she was reduced to tears. As every young adult, Anne felt she knew the ins and outs of the world. Her parents were so lame and didnít understand the pressures that she felt. The pressure to be smart, attractive, charismatic, and do all that they expected of her morally was weight that she prayed would be lifted so she could just be Anne.

Anne was a master pleaser, but she had enough of pleasing everyone, especially her parents. As her father wrote the new set restrictions and plans for her next year of life, she felt the freedom and trust she had slither out the door in search of some deserving teen. She shot up from the sentencing couch and hollered out words of teen angst.

In her room she sobbed until her sparkling hazel eyes turned grey and her mask of makeup had smeared down her cheek. She sat looking herself in the mirror and felt hopeless that she couldnít get back the life she once knew. Alcohol and promiscuity had replaced soda and youth group friends. On her bedside sat her NLT Bible that she received for her confirmation. It was something that she remembered being so excited about, but the excitement faded as the promises made were forgotten.

She decided to open the Bible to Proverbs. She half-heartedly thumbed through the pages until she saw the word love. It was Chapter 3 verse 12, For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Through Anneís tears she continued reading to Chapter 3: 21-23, My child, donít lose sight of good planning and insight. Hang on to them, for they fill you with life and bring you honor and respect. They keep you safe on your way and keep your feet from stumbling.

There was light peeking through the stone wall she had built around her that evening. Could that dreaded legal pad be a symbol of love? Anne knew her parents loved her and they just wanted what was best for her. She had always known that. What she didnít know was that God desired her to plan for herself too. What had seemed like a torturous event was really an act of love.

Her parents were still there writing notes of what they wanted to say. The sliver of light was now a ray of hope in her heart. She apologized for her attitude. She explained what she had read and that she was ready to plan. She wanted to be better than she had been.

Her father ripped the old page off and began a fresh page. It was a fresh start for Anne. This time he wasnít as harsh with his writing. This time Anne was also planning along side to get back her life. She had promises to God that needed to be renewed and a new outlook on the legal pad. She would not see judgment but love the next time she saw the bright yellow pages.

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Member Comments
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Edy T Johnson 05/08/06
Very believable and well written. The daughter's point of view made me initially wonder why her folks were being so harsh, which you neatly rolled over into her realization they loved her enough to impose discipline. Well done!