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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Reader (04/15/10)

TITLE: Appearances
By Angela King


There he sat, just as he had every morning, sprawled haphazardly on the cold steps that led to the Math Department—my home away from home. He was the scourge of the campus, this middle-aged man who clearly didn’t belong with the fresh-faced twenty-somethings who walked around him. Draped in tattered clothing that didn’t fit his body or the season, he adjusted his warped sunglasses and continued to gently caress the yellowed pages of the book that lay open before him.

He was always in the way. And I hated having to walk past him to get into the building because he reeked of moth balls and sweat. Today was no different—if nothing, it was worse—as the temperature climbed higher and his stench grew more intense as it reached my nostrils. As I began my ascent up the steps I had climbed hundreds of times, my foot caught the step in front of me and I fell a mere foot away from the man.

I knew my ankle was broken the minute my body met the concrete. As I lay there helplessly, I could hear other students grumbling that I was in the way. I felt abandoned and no one stopped to help me. And then I felt sandpaper on my hand—but it wasn’t sandpaper—it was the hand of the man on the steps. I quickly looked at his outstretched hand—calloused and decorated with dirt—and I grasped it tightly as he pulled me up to sit. He was gentle and I could read the concerned look on his face.

In the midst of the chaos, I glanced down at the book he cherished, tossed aside as he attended to my needs. It was a Braille copy of the Holy Bible, opened up to Isaiah 42:16. I wondered what the verse had said but before I could ask him, I was being taken away by an ambulance. I watched him feel around the steps for his prized possession as the ambulance drove away and I prayed that he would find it.

I looked up that verse when I was settled in my apartment later that evening. Unlike his tattered bible, mine looked crisp and brand new—unused. I came upon the passage in Isaiah and tears stung my eyes as I read the words,
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

I realized at that moment that the man who was forsaken by the world around him—the one who was mocked and ostracized—was not forsaken by the One who mattered most. And that his weathered, dirt-stained bible held all of the wisdom that I had sought out in the thousands of books that existed on that campus—books that came up short of what I yearned for and desperately needed to find.

The kindness of this one man led me to the truth and I would never look upon him as a scourge again.

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This article has been read 396 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon04/22/10
What a story. I enjoyed this more than words can say. Never judge a book by its cover. Those words are so true. Thank you and keep writing.
Lisa Keck04/22/10
I liked this although I wonder how the sighted person would have known what scripture the man was reading. As I recall, Braille Bibles don't contain print except on the cover page. But it was well written and a good lesson to us all.
What a wonderful story! We are reminded that each and every one of us is very valuable to our Lord. Very well written!
AnneRene' Capp04/22/10
Heart warming and self examining story. Great, Great message.
angelos2 wark04/22/10
Great story!
I agree with the comment made concerning how the sighted person new what verse the braille bible was opened to.
The story was gripping.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/25/10
What a beautiful story and such a great addition to the adage don't judge a book by its cover. Well done
Gerald Shuler 04/25/10
If God teaches a teacher how to read braille by sight who am I to question it?

I enjoyed every part of your story.
Catrina Bradley 04/25/10
This is a real eye opener! Great job of putting the scorner in the scorned's place. You made me take a second look at those "in my way." The Bible being open to a specific verse caught me - wouldn't be open to a chapter instead? Really, tho, you caught the heart of the topic, and wrote a wonderful entry. Loved this!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/29/10
Congratulations in placing in the top 9 of your level. Good job!