Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Bold (emotionally) (08/30/07)
TITLE: Chicken Out
By Angeline oppenheimer
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My mom nicknamed me “little plum”. That name didn’t help one bit. Little in size and little in the desirous category of the bold and “stand up and be counted,” I hid behind curtains when relatives dropped by. I loved to sit behind the heads of bigger classmates, which was often unsuccessful, when the teacher couldn’t locate me and moved me under her nose. Some cure for the chicken-hearted. I squeaked answers when asked and learned to be a fly on the wall--a good listener never comments. I buried my head in books to banish any unwelcome interactions--as long as I don’t see you, you don’t see me “ostrich” mentality.
While my friends got a thrill out of ghoulish stories and begged for more, I plugged my ears and imagined. That imagination transformed itself into monsters below my bed, creatures crawling on ceiling beams, apparition lurking--they all came alive at night, dancing to the crickets’ serenades. If my older sister was up, I attached to her like a leech, too afraid to be in the bedroom alone.
Since I have a retarded gall, my fears encompassed flying objects too. I screamed and ran around the house whenever the humidity brought out the flying cockroaches or “rain flies” as they are called. I was even afraid of dogs. Well, for this one you can actually blame it on a bad experience. A dog flew out of the bushes and left two semi-circles of canine marks on my calf. My brother could never persuade me to go on the wild jungle romp that he so loved. Why? Jumping spiders and toads are unpredictable and for some reason, they love me.
I was branded timid--predicted to stay in line and never grow up to do anything bold.
Years later, my mom must have scratched her head and wondered why she didn’t see it coming. Against my parents’ wishes, I believed in a “Western God.” How could the compliant and shy one think to disobey? I knew I would be disowned technically, in accordance with their Buddhist dogma and be treated like an “outsider. I would be ostracized and accorded no privileges. How did I become so bold? The answer is obvious--the Bold One has “embolden” me. I’m even bold enough to throw in a word that may not exist. Well, it does but that is beside the point.
Since, He has made me bold enough to walk through dark long shadows of the night after Bible Study. On Wednesday nights, my heart would beat in my ears as I scurried through rows of willowy trees with no houses in sight to get home. The fifteen minutes never seemed longer. I had even fought off a human predator on this route. I slept alone, all by myself in a huge house when no one was home. My fears have been tranquilized by God’s power and protection.
Standing in the airport before I boarded the plane to a strange land to begin my married life with a man from a different culture, my mom put her arms lovingly around me, not knowing when I would make the journey back, shook her head and said,
“Who could have thought that so much courage can exist in such a small body?”
Who could have thought?
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