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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)

TITLE: Do Something, God!
By john garner


I didn't want to go in there, but I knew I had to. Everyone was standing in small groups in solemn quietness, speaking in soft tones. This was it, the moment that I'd dreaded from the time I first was told about death. The casket was across the room waiting in solitude, but I wasn't in a hurry to get there. Yet something was drawing me to it. I suppose it was the realization that Mama was lying there and I needed her so badly.

My brother, Jim, was first to approach me, his eyes, like mine, were swollen and damp as he wrapped his arms around me and the unwanted tears trickled down and fell onto slumping shoulders. I didn't know what to say; it had all been said. There was one thing that I desperately wanted to say, though, but it was trapped within me like a giant knot inside my lungs. It couldn't be said. Nobody ever rises up from the coffin and she won't hold out her arms like she always did when I came home for the holidays.

My younger brother, Steve, met my gaze obscured like rainy day windows, we held on grasping for what was gone. Funny, it seemed we had never been so close as we were at that moment when it seemed like it was too late for us all. We were joined by my sisters, Patsy and Linda, all of us magnets to one another. The five of us hugged as one for the only time in our entire lives and we wept uncontrollably; her blubbering children. We made our way together to the coffin, hesitantly but deliberately. There was no more putting it off.

She didn't really look like herself, but it was just enough that the finality became all too real. I'm sure we all had similar thoughts, that nagging need to tell God to do something, that this wasn't right. She was the one who taught us about Him, after all. But none of us said it, although I did wonder right then about the heaven that she had told us about. Was she there, safe and sound and alive? There is no more helpless feeling than standing before the coffin of your one and only mother, and as I walked over to my wife, Carolyn, to take my seat, that thought of heaven stayed with me. What could be so wonderful there that could override this endless pain and suffering we were going through?

There was a gasp across the room that seemed to come from the coffin and then a voice calling my name, her voice. “Mickey, come here.” No one else seemed to hear it, but there was no mistaking it. My senses were suddenly straining for an ounce of hope that God could be doing something. I had to brace myself when I reached the coffin and saw the fingers of her right hand clasped on the white crepe lining of the casket. An electric shock shot through my body as we touched, the powerful memories of so many years of feeling her fingers on my back and running through my hair. I hesitated to look, afraid that I would only see her empty shell once again, but I had to. I looked into those beautiful brown eyes and was bathed in that smile and her fragrance transported me to the comfort of her arms. “Mama?” I whispered.

“Aren't you going to kiss me, Mickey?” She answered.

“Is this a...a...dream?” I was able to mumble as my lips touched her soft warm cheek.

She laughed and patted my hand. “Does it feel like a dream? “ She pinched me and it hurt.

“Ow! What's happening, Mama? Are you really alive?” I looked around and nobody seemed to notice me at all.

“You wondered what heaven was like, right? Well, what do you see? It's me, just as real as can be. This is what it's like, and it's more than you could ever imagine. Don't worry so much, everything's going to be just fine. Tell the others.”

And I did tell them about God's place, where it's alive, it's smiling, and it's warm, where a pinch on the arm feels like a taste of honey, and unlike this story, it never ends.

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This article has been read 486 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Norma-Anne Hough03/19/09
Interesting story. You kept my attention from start to finish. Well done.
Jan Ackerson 03/21/09
I especially liked the emotional content of the first half of this story.

Be careful of comma splices and the correct use of semicolons.

All of us who have lost a loved one have shared these feelings!
Judy Meyers03/21/09
I would have traded the names of the siblings for more description at the end. Good story with powerful emotions.
TJ Nickel03/26/09
Great opening paragraph. Second paragraph seemed to contradict itself internally. The third paragraph holds a huge point and good thought and then things seem to unravel a little bit in the writing. Overall, I like the pacing, but I think you will find several edits simply by reading this article to yourself aloud. I hope to read more from you here.