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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)

TITLE: The Promise
By julie wood
05/29/06


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“A poetry therapist? That sounds like a lovely idea for the future, Katie. But what are your plans for when you graduate this summer?”

A shard of ice lodges in my gut. My counselor’s soft brown eyes have morphed to marbles; I avert my gaze from them, twisting fingers on my lap. That was my plan! It’s logical, isn’t it, since I am double majoring in English and psychology?


I will fulfill My purpose in you, despite your flaws and weaknesses.

“If you have to ask that question, Katie, you don’t belong here in this class.”

“But they told me I need statistics to complete my psych major…”

“I’m sorry, Katie.”

The ice stabbing my gut explodes into tears as I stumble out his classroom. Yet I know this serves me right for playing hooky in the library during computer practice, fleeing that hulking beast with its flashing lights. Escaping into the world of Emily Dickinson…

I will fulfill My purpose in you, despite your flaws and weaknesses.

“I want to be a recluse poet, like the Belle of Amherst!”

“That sounds like a lovely dream of the past, Katie. But we’re talking about your future now….A career seminar is planned for this coming Saturday. You will learn how to dress for success…”

Which means pulling on those itchy-slimy clothes that normal people wear in offices. Those kinds that feel like worms slithering all over my body, or like a million gnats gnawing my skin. Unless…


I remember last summer, chopping carrots in the downtown soup kitchen. Slicing them next to Tara, whose faded T-shirt advised me to BAN THE BOMB, NOT THE BABY. Serving them to Brendan, my beaming homeless friend, who told me through his leaf-flecked beard: “You can pick up your CIA check at Safeway.”

Yes! I’ll serve the poorest of the poor! Just like Mother Teresa or Francis of Assisi….Except that this summer I will marry my friend Ian. But we’ll join a community that accepts married couples…

“You and Ian are anti-social people. We can’t have members who treat people the way he treated me, last time I came to visit. Just let me in and said nothing to me, then drifted back to the living room and dropped down in front of that TV!”

“He wasn’t being anti-social. Twilight Zone was on when you showed up, and that’s his favorite program…”

“That behavior is unacceptable here! You two are an energy drain on this community. I’ll have to ask you to leave.”

I will fulfull My purpose in you, despite your flaws and weaknesses.

“I’m sorry, Katie, but you’re just not being fruitful in our music ministry. The children have been making fun of you, every time you get up there and sing.”

“Do I sing that badly?”

“No. Your singing voice is fine. It’s how you look up there, all stiff with no expression on your face. Besides, you keep mixing up the hand motions. And last Sunday we noticed you were singing with your eyes closed, as though you’d drifted off into your own world…”

I will fulfill My purpose in you, despite your flaws and weaknesses.

“Nobody will want your novel, Katie! You can’t have your hero defending evolution, not for any Christian publisher. And if you’re seeking the secular market, you can’t have him serving as a prolife activist…”

That’s just me, scolding myself. Yet beyond the icy walls that lock me in my cell of fear, I hear His still, small Voice warmly whisper of His promise:

I will fulfill My purpose in you, despite your flaws and weaknesses.

“What if he gets food poisoning, and I’m no longer allowed to volunteer at the nursing home?”

“Well, you’ll find out what happened next Monday, I guess. But don’t do that for him next time. You need to tell Clarence that hamburgers don’t belong in drawers.”


Clarence isn’t poisoned. On Monday he greets me joyfully: “I could see you coming when you were waaaay down the street!” And when I sing with him and for my other friends, nobody makes fun of my wooden face or clumsy fingers. Nobody makes me quit the nursing home. And at my church’s writers’ meeting, everybody likes my stories…even the ones in which my Christian prolife hero is an evolutionist. And nobody tells Ian or me that we are anti-social people…

It’s a start, a beginning for my faith in God’s promise:

I will fulfill My purpose in you, despite your flaws and weaknesses.


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This article has been read 578 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brenda Kern 06/03/06
Great thoughts here and good creative writing.

It would help the reader if each 'scene' was separated from the next, maybe with centered asterisks.

You might try putting the repeated phrase "I will fulfill My purpose in you..." (which I LOVE, by the way) in italics to set it off.

If you don't know how to center or italicize in a .txt document, send me a pm or ask how on the message boards.

Again, great thoughts!
Valerie Routhieaux06/07/06
Wonderful. Inner fears, filled with God's promise. Keep writing, you have a way with words that draw pictures and us into your story.
lynn rodgers06/08/06
i can't believe his didn't pace! and how dare that church tell her not sing for the kids!