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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Happy (07/12/07)

TITLE: Metamorphous
By RuthAnn Cornelson


If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands, (clap, clap)
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands, (clap, clap)
If you’re happy and you know it, your face will surely show it,
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. (clap, clap)

Dustin sat quietly, his skinny arms folded around him, hands gripping under his armpits. He wasn’t singing, wasn’t listening; he was practicing how to close his ears with the power of his mind. It could be done. He’d done it before. Concentrate, concentrate, close your ears without touching them. There! It was gone. The sound of happy kids singing a happy song was gone. He could still see them, like pictures in one of the old, silent movies his mom sometimes watched; their mouths moving, their hands all together now, clap, clap. It was funny and his mouth turned up in an almost smile, the only kind he ever did anymore.

Dustin hated it when they sang that song. Dustin wasn’t happy; hadn’t been happy for a long time. He heard people saying it sometimes, “It’s almost been a year. He should be getting over it.” A year, what does that mean? Seven year olds don’t measure things in days and years; seven year olds measure things in right now. Right now his Dad was still gone, right now Dustin still missed him, right now Dustin felt his throat getting tight and panic creeping in. His ears popped open because concentrating on not crying was more important than concentrating on not hearing. The sound of “Happy and You Know It” rushed in when he swallowed hard to push the tears down.

Dustin remembered singing “Happy and You Know It” when he was happy; when he knew his dad was coming to get him after Sunday School and he would sit beside him in church, pressed against his warm, solid side. Dustin wasn’t sure why his Dad’s car crashed, but he was pretty sure God had something to do with it. God had something to do with everything they had always told him, but now they said it was just an accident and couldn’t be helped. Seems like God could have stopped it though, if He wanted to. God could do anything. Dustin knew that.

It’s funny though, Dustin wasn’t really mad at God. He liked coming to Sunday School; it made him think of Daddy. Daddy loved coming to church and they all went every Sunday. Daddy would sing in his big booming voice in the car while he drove to the church, and then again inside the church when they sang the hymns. Dustin loved remembering his dad singing. It always made him almost smile, even at the beginning when nothing could make him smile.

He loved remembering Daddy coming into his room to say good night and sitting on the bed to read a Bible story to him. Daddy always talked to him about how much he loved God and how much he hoped Dustin would too. He said he couldn’t imagine life without Jesus. Dustin remembered his dad being so happy when he talked about Jesus. Daddy was almost always happy, smiling and laughing. Daddy would have loved the “Happy And You Know It” song.

It took a long time for Dustin to be able to sing the song and longer for him to mean it, but it happened, and his almost smile surprised him by turning into a real smile one day. Now when he thought about his dad, he thought about how happy Dad was to be living where he could see Jesus, and that made Dustin happy too.

Pretty soon, Dustin asked Jesus to come into his heart and he knew his Dad was really, really happy that day. He wished Dad could be there, but it was sort of neat knowing someone who lived in heaven, knowing that some day he would get to see Dad there. Dad could introduce him to Jesus! Dustin was so happy. Sometimes he even sang the “Happy and You Know It” song when he was all by himself.

When Dustin got baptized the Pastor asked him what his favorite verse was. Everyone’s favorite verse was John 3:16 and Dustin liked it too, but he said his verse loud and strong, “Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.”
Psalm 144:15 KJV

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 07/21/07
What a wonderful change in this young boy. I wish you'd been able to focus a bit more on the actual change - how it came about, etc. A bit more detail would make this great piece even more so. This warmed my heart.
Jeanette Oestermyer07/21/07
What a poignant story, with much heartfelt emotion. A child often has a difficult time understanding the loss of a parent, sibling or friend.
Joy Faire Stewart07/22/07
Wonderful point that God heals hearts.
dub W07/22/07
Wonderful story, well told. I wonder if the balance was right for a short essay, a little on the heavy side for most of the essay, but still, this is one to note.
Kevin Rodgers07/25/07
Good story! I really liked the idea that Dustin's dad was a positive role model. Having two daughters myself, it encourages me to continue to instill a christian influence in their lives while I still can. Good job!