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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: Life sucks!
By Betty Overstreet


Life sucks! I wake up in the morning wondering what’s going to knock me down today. Just when I think I’m on top of the world, it begins to spin faster. I have to struggle to keep from falling off into space. And, you know, outer-space is a little scary when you have no space map!
Oh yeah, another suckie thing- when I try to be really hard- nosed so I can make it through the day, someone comes along and says, “Hey, tough guy, why don’t you soften and smile?”
Smile, what the heck do I have to smile about? Here I am, not quite old enough for anything fun. I can’t drive a car, I have to depend on my parents to get me from here to anywhere. Can’t smoke. And by the way, my folks say I can’t date until I’m sixteen, either. What is so special about that magic number-16!
I really hate feeling so stuck all the time. Think I’ll take a walk and get out of this prison I live in.
Wow, one think about this path I’m walkin’ on. It’s really pretty out here with the flowers bloomin’ all over the place.
And , you know, I really like that little white church down there. Almost makes me feel, I don’t know, maybe not quite so hard-nosed when I walk past it.
Uh,oh, better walk really fast or that preacher will be draggin’ me inside to preach to me-uggg!
“Hey, Tommy, what’s the hurry? It’s a beautiful day, slow down and smell the roses. This is the first year these have bloomed. They’re called, “Soft angels”.
“Sorry Pastor Brown, ain’t got time to smell the roses right now. Havin’ kind of a hard time today, everything just sucks!”
“Well, Tommy, reckon I know what you mean. You know, once up on a time I was your age and I recall thinkin’ everything was no good. I figured there must be a whole lot better life than I was havin”. You know, I was just plain mad at the world and everybody in it.”
“Really, Pastor, you were as bad as me? Everyone calls me “Hard-nose Tommy”. Can’t picture you being like me!”
“I bet you aren’t near as bad as you think, Tommy, but let me answer your question about how I was. Believe me, I acted worse than an old pit bull dog most of the time, but I didn’t really want to be.”
“Reckon I was about your age when I met old man Tucker. He lived down by the mill pond. He was about the biggest, hard- as-nails guy I knew but that day he talked to me, really soft-you know, like, gentle. He said, “Johnie boy, if you want to get through this world happy and in one piece, you gota stop bein” mad all the time. You gota learn to love your friends and forgive your enemies. You gota learn to be a little softer, kind of mix it in with the toughness so you can handle whatever comes your way”.
“Well, let me tell you Tommy, I just looked him straight in the eye and said “ How in the heck ya suppose I can do somethin’ like that, Mr Tucker?”
“That wise old man just patted the bench beside where he was sitting and waited till I got situated next to him. He reached over like I was one of his buddies and put his hand on my shoulder.”
“Johnny boy,” he said, “you gota put your faith in the All Mighty God. You gota ask Him to forgive all your sins and beg Him to teach you to be a good boy. That’s the only way. Ask Him to make you strong enough to not be sinful, and soft enough inside to love your friends and enemies”.
“Well, gee whiz, Pastor Brown, what did you do then?” asked Tommy.
“I thought real hard on what Mr. Tucker said and decided I wanted to be the kind of man he was. I asked him if he’d help me ask God about doin’ all that and He said, “Sure nuf Boy, let’s just bow our heads right now and talk to Him.”
“Pastor, I shore would like it if you could help me talk to God about that when you have time.”
“Well, son, how about right now. I got nothin’ better to do than help you.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Mary McLeary04/30/09
Makes me want to pray harder for more good Christian influences on our kids. Nice use of conversation to develop the characters.
Dee Yoder 05/01/09
This character is a lot like many adults, too, who don't want to think they need a Savior! Good thing God sees the insides of our hearts, huh?