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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)

TITLE: Harvey's Cross
By Rhonda Clark


“Come on, Jaime, just a little further.”

Jaime could see the open door of Harvey’s shop ahead. He placed his already aching shoulder and stiff, leather-gloved fingers against the end of the heavy oak tree. With all the energy he could muster, Jaime pushed; his body quivered and his muscles bulged. The tall tree gave way and slid across the soft, muddy ground.

“That’s it. Stop right there!” Harvey called.

Dropping his arms that now felt like jelly, Jaime walked up next to his boss. The color of Harvey’s face matched the red bandana he was wiping it with. “Woowee!” Harvey said. “I sure didn’t realize it was going to be that hard getting this tree out of the woods.”

“We take to sawmill now?” Jaime asked in his broken English.

Harvey handed Jaime the jug of ice water. “No. We’re cutting this one by hand.”

Jaime took a long swig of water and then gave his boss a funny look.

A sad smiled filled Harvey’s face as he glanced down at the giant log lying at his feet. “I don’t think the cross that my Savior hung on was run through a sawmill.”

“But this is for the Easter cantata, no? Don’t you want it to be pretty?” Jaime asked.

Pulling off his work gloves, Harvey answered, “No, Jaime, I don’t. Churches are filled with beautiful crosses that are sanded smooth and stained to perfection, and, most likely, that’s what the church is expecting—but that’s not what they’re going to get.” A lump swelled up in Harvey’s throat, but he continued, “When they hung my Jesus on the cross, I don’t think they went looking for the smoothest piece of lumber so that it would be the prettiest thing standing on the hill that day. They just found the strongest beams that wouldn’t buckle under the weight.” Overcome with emotion, Harvey could only choke out his last words.

For several moments both men stood there silently contemplating what this project meant personally. Then, Harvey cleared his throat and broke the quiet. “Come on, Jaime, we have a cross to construct.”

Jaime wiped his damp eyes on his shirt sleeve and followed his boss into the shop.

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This article has been read 933 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Glorey Wooldridge08/24/06
I like your article. Sometimes we try to "pretty up" the hard things our Jesus did for us. It is important to remember that Jesus died a painful, humiliating and horrible death for me. For me. We can say it so quickly without realizing the ramifications. So much to be thankful for. Thanks for the reminder this evening as I sat down to read.
Jan Ackerson 08/28/06
Just a little slice-of-life, tenderly written. Very good.
Joanne Sher 08/29/06
Wonderful characterization, and an amazing message. I SO wanted to hear more - the sign of wonderful writing!
Jan Ross08/30/06
Very nice! It calls for more ... how did the people react when they saw the cross? Did the roughness add to the realism of the Easter play? I can see you going farther with this and further developing it to a beautiful and meaningful story! Good work! :)
terri tiffany08/30/06
What I like - I loved the characterization. Very real right down to the tiny details. I liked how they paused and contemplated at the end. I liked your middle concept about how the wood didn't have to be beautiful. You've managed to say so much in few words.
What I might change - perhaps the length as I was left wanting more. As someone else mentioned, maybe ending it with the reaction of the people in church or something.
You write well!