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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: Resonance
By Patrick Oden


Nate woke up early, hearing only the song of the occasional mockingbird, rather than the usual steady traffic. He had before him a few hours dedicated to writing. An article for a well known Christian magazine. They had invited him to contribute. His efforts were apparently resonating in important circles.

Just write about what you are doing, they said.

He didn't want to think of it this way, but couldn't help it. This was a chance, a chance to spread the message a little bit further. The thought made him smile. Because what the community was doing was important, and fun. It had saved his life. And not only his but so many others whose faces and names and stories flooded his mind.

God had been doing a work. Nate was a part of that, just a part, even if he seemed to be the leader. It was God's work, and the Holy Spirit had brought some of the most amazing people to join in with it. Making it go way beyond anything Nate had imagined five years before when he left his job at Crestview Community Church to become a janitor at a downtown restaurant. So much had happened. After thirty years a Christian, ten of these in full time ministry, Nate had finally met Jesus.

His heart was still strangely warm. He knew it was more than just the large, half finished, mug of French roast sitting beside him. Coffee helps but doesn't make all things this well.

It hadn't been easy. Nate lost his house and his fiancée, had to give up so much to take up so much. The hours of prayer and study and conversation seemed endless. Sacrifices of his time and energy, with almost entirely no practical benefit. Except for the joy. Maybe really there's nothing more practical than joy.

That's the theme, he said out loud. A pigeon on the ledge outside his window cooed in response. A sign, he laughed. Then remembered that the dove is the symbol, not a pigeon. Made him laugh again as he tried to figure out what a city pigeon suggested.

Two thousand words into the article. Two more mugs of French roast. The sun now was low in the horizon. Traffic drowned out the sound of the certainly singing sparrows and finches. The pigeon had left an hour before. This is good, he thought, thinking of both the article and his life.

All that was left was the conclusion. He moved the mouse to the formatting bar. The cursor froze. He tapped the space bar. Nothing. Moved the mouse again nothing. Stared at the screen. Nothing. Went to the bathroom. Came back. The cursor still wouldn't move. Everything was frozen. Thank God for autosave, he said, while reaching down and manually turning off the computer. The LCD went blank. Then brightened again. More than usual. A bright blue with a couple paragraphs of technobabble.

He restarted the computer. Same thing.

The sound of Beethoven's moonlight sonata began to fill the room. Nate reached into his backpack and opened his cell.

"Yeah," he answered, vaguely irritated.

"Nate," Luis said, “We need you at Huntington hospital. Melissa…"

"What happened?"

"Nate, last night she was attacked. Robbed. Who knows what else."

"How is she?"

"They don't know, Nate. She's been shot. They don't know. I just found out. I'm on my way myself."

"Leaving right now."

Nate folded up his cell phone and grabbed his dodgers hat. Turned off the computer again. The article, whatever was left of it, didn't matter. Put on his sandals, and a clean shirt. Didn't even think of showering or shaving.

Down the old wooden, white washed stairs. Out the back door to the small parking lot where he, the manager, and a couple of waitresses parked. No room for anyone else.

Nate stood in the open doorway and stared. Looked around. There were no cars in the lot. Not even one by the dirty, dented blue dumpster. Which was where he was sure he had left his car the night before after visiting with a small group in Duarte.

Only two pigeons strutting around the asphalt. And a pile of broken glass that caught his eye when the sun rose over the fence and reflected off the shards. Broken glass that was where he knew he had parked his car last night.

Nate stood in the open doorway and stared. He had no thoughts or words.

One of the pigeons cooed.

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This article has been read 653 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jacquelyn Horne08/23/07
This writing is very good, but I can't seem to find the story pov here. I see the dilemma but no solution. However, this is well worded and the writing is upscale.
Betty Overstreet08/25/07
I am confused and in my logic that tells me you proved your point. Our subject was"confused and you presented a story that left me confused as to whether he saved the article, found his care and was able to help the lady. Did he give up his job at the church to be a chaplin at the hospital?

Keep writing, I think you succeeded on this challenge
Mark Bell08/26/07
Great story line. Well written. However, I don't think it addressed the topic. I think at the end he experienced confusion, but it is alluded to at best. It doesn't really show in the rest of the story.
Joanne Sher 08/29/07
Very engaging, Patrick. It may just be me, but I found the writing somewhat choppy, especially in the first few paragraphs. All your sentences seemed quite short, and it distracted me. I never really felt like it was flowing, if you know what I mean. It felt quite realistic, and your descriptions were very sharp.
Brenda Welc08/29/07
I want more! I want more! You pulled me in with the great writing and story line and then you left me hangin' out to dry! Good flow in your writing as as I see it, just wish there was more, although you did leave me confused and this was the goal off this subject matter.
Dee Yoder 08/29/07
I feel like three or four very interesting story threads have been introduced, but I can't seem to come to any conclusions about them. (I guess I'm a lazy reader, and usually in too much of a hurry to stop and dwell on things for long!)

It's an interesting style you have going in this entry, but I'm kinda wimpy when it comes to reading; I want the author to tie up all the loose ends FOR me! (I'm too much from the TV generation, I guess. Sigh.)

The writing is good, as is usual for you, and the character is intriguing. I did want to read more about him. I especially liked it when he came out into the parking lot, but then...ugghh!...what?!...tell me!... tell me what happened next!...(which is your point, right?)
Loren T. Lowery08/29/07
Well, if the intent of this article was to show how God's plan for our lives is a bit confusing then I think you hit the targe dead on.

We do plan, but God directs; and what else can we do but move on trusting in His faithfullness.

You definitely have a talent for writing...keep it up!