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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)

TITLE: Down But Not Out
By Esther Phillips


I was sitting on the curb with my little brother. We both sat there in raggedy clothes. In fact, we had cardboard in our shoes to keep our feet from scraping on the sidewalks. My little brother, Jamie, was only six years old and I was nine. Jamie said, “What are we going to do now, Paul?”

I said, “Don’t you worry, Jamie. Everything is going to be all right.”
The situation was that our dad had left us months before. On this particular day, he came and told our mother that he was filing for a divorce. He had not given us any support in all those months. My mother worked for a lady who cleaned houses. It was all she could do because she was mentally challenged and there would be times when she just wouldn’t show up for work. The lady she worked for just continued to let her work even when she did show up.

Jamie and I struggled for the remainder of our childhood. Our father lived in a fancy house and married again. He had more children and they had nice things, but we did not because he did not give us support.

I worked hard in school and encouraged Jamie to do the same. When I was in high school, I applied for West Point Military Academy. I was so happy the day that I found out that I had been accepted. I went to the Academy, but I didn’t forget about Jamie. I sent money to him and called him every chance I got. I continued to encourage him to make the most of his life.

Jamie was a talented artist. He just had an eye for beauty. He ultimately started a furniture store with nothing but the finest of pieces. He travelled throughout Europe to find these exquisite pieces. He became well known and was sought after by well-to-do people to get them their finest furniture for their mansions.

I served my country as an officer after I graduated from the Academy. Along the way, I sought counseling. It has helped me tremendously in putting our hard times into perspective so that I don’t have to continually feel beaten down. I also encouraged Jamie to seek counseling which he did, too.

About five years ago, Jamie had a sudden heart attack and passed away. I miss him so much, but I know he is in a better place. As for me, I have married and have children and now a grandchild. I continually encourage people to seek counseling when they have suffered their own difficulties.

Jesus instructed us to look out for others in the Bible. These are His words found in Matthew 25:44-45, “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” (NIV)

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Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 03/08/08
You entry hits the nail on the head, topic-wise; however, it rambles a bit and needs tightening up to make it flow more evenly for the Reader. A good story of how one can pick themselves up despite poverty and circumstances beyond their control. Keep at it - practice makes perfect!
Joanne Sher 03/09/08
I love the hope in this story, and your attitude. Keep sharing your writing for His glory!