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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)

TITLE: Calm the Dismal Night
By Wayne Harris


I slip the pillow under my head. Thoughts rampage through the circuits of my brain. I cannot sleep. How can I? Helicopters carrying wounded humans chop through the sky overhead.

It is dark inside the tent. Every time a loud sound disrupts the solitude in the desert, I make sure my rifle is close. A whirlwind of fear gyrates in my heart. Will I die in the desert? I wonder.

My hands will not stop shaking. I say to myself, “Calm down”. I try to expunge the images that pop up without warning. I see mother greeting the death notification officer and the chaplain. I shake my head and say, “Stop it! Stop it now!”

There is an explosion outside. A guard peeks into the tent. “It’s okay. It’s off in the distance.”

My heart is coming out of my chest. I would love to run. I need to go home. I have seen too much. When Private Snake Sadler died, I almost came unglued. He was my best friend. Al-Qaeda exploded the device that killed my friend. He was only 19.

Even the chaplain cried when we honored Snake. “Snake was a great soldier,” the chaplain had repeated at least three times during the memorial service. Snake was a great person, too. I will never forget that wide smile and those crooked teeth. I miss his humor. He was a practical jokester. His death really rocked my world.

This tent is too dark. Where is my flashlight? Where is that Bible the chaplain gave me after Snake died? Maybe I can find some peace. Maybe Jesus will help calm me. “Please. Jesus. Please. Take away this anxiety.”

“Where are you flashlight? Oh, there you are. Now, where was it that the chaplain told me to read? Ah, here it is. Philippians 4:6-7. ‘Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.’”

“Lord, fill me with peace. Help me, Lord. Ease my mind. Help me get through another dismal night. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

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This article has been read 761 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Grover Gall09/21/07
Wow! I've never thought of what war would be like; how it would affect a person... the thoughts that would go through one's mind.
Joy Faire Stewart09/22/07
Very moving story on the horrors of war and what soldiers endure. Very moving piece.
Dee Yoder 09/23/07
This is an excellent, masterfully crafted story. I can fully feel the fear of this soldier, but also his determination to find a source of peace and courage. You really were able to put the thoughts of the soldiers into the kinds of words that I can understand. It breaks my heart to think the men and women have to face such fear, but I'm glad to know the Peace of God can reach right into a lonely tent in the desert and touch a soldier's heart. This is a really important message and you've brought it to my attention in a way I won't soon forget.
Jacquelyn Horne09/23/07
The unrest of war is hard to shake. God is the only answer to our peace of mind.
christine bastow09/26/07
If only all soldiers in that situation would call out to the one who can calm them. Good story.
Sheri Gordon09/27/07
Congratulations on your 3rd place. This story really touches the soul. Good job.
Janice Cartwright09/27/07
You conveyed the fearful thoughts and bodily reactions of the MC's well while at the same time bringing home to us the fact that we really need to be in prayer for our troops.
Joanne Sher 09/28/07
Congratulations, Wayne. In addition to your third place in Level 2, you entry has placed 28th overall. The Lists for the Top 15 in each Level and the Top 40 overall is available in the Weekly Results and Highest Rankings forum of our Faithwriters Message Boards.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/28/07
This was an excellent piece for calm amid turbulence. You got it exactly right.