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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Outlook (06/02/11)

TITLE: Mountain View
By Jessica Turner-Stotz


The likelihood that he would crash greatly increased as his life veered off track. One minute George was a youth pastor at the top of his ministry, pulling in kids from all walks of life, and inspiring in them the need for Jesus. The next minute he was spiraling downward in a drunken haze losing sight of not only himself, but of his purpose in his church community, his purpose in life. He felt misguided, numb; he couldnít even see that probable future that once was so close he could have reached out to touch the brilliance of it.

Life was bleak. He no longer went to church, let alone involved himself in any ministries. His wife, who had come alongside him as a youth leader in recent years, had separated from him and was living with her sister. Even his dog moped around, dejected, obviously disgusted with him as well.

George hadnít meant to start up drinking again. That was something of his past, an addiction that had not reared its ugly head in a very long time. He supported plenty of teens battling their own addictions, and not once had he yearned for a drink, until, his dad died.

It wasnít a devastating blow nor was it a surprise, since his dad was a full blown alcoholic, with a liver so drenched in liquor, it was a wonder he had lived as long as he had. It was, in simple terms, a tipping point. There George had stood on the top of a beautiful cliff, overlooking a view others would covet, holding the hand of a truly godly woman. The day his dad died he started to fall from his great height, slow-motion like, and every hurt that had not been forgiven, every abuse that kept him a victim in chains, and every conversation he wished he could have had or wished had been different went with his dad to the grave. It was the one part of his life he had refused to let God heal, the largest burden he could not lay at the cross. The day his father died he came undone, not knowing what to do with the massive pain he carried with him, the guilt and shame he had always hidden.

He then turned to the addiction that had held his father, the addiction that had once consumed him when he was young but that he had rid himself of when he became an adult and could escape the abuse of his household, the addiction that inevitably would careen his career, his relationship, and his future right over the cliff that was his life.

Needless to say, his viewpoint was pretty barren, laying at the foot of the mountain, looking up at what was, what used to be, left to grapple among the rocks and debris that had fallen around and with him on the way down.

As he sat on his couch, flipping through mindless television, taking swigs from his fourth beer that hour, a loud knock at his door caused him to jump, almost turning over his bottle. Another sharp rap had him scrambling haphazardly to his feet.

"Coming!" he slurred.

He fumbled with the locks, opening the door wide. There shivered a teen boy, sporting a black eye, that was quickly turning brilliant shades of purple and blue, sewing his eye almost completely shut. A glint of recognition broke through his cloudy mind.

"What are you doing here?"

"IóI didnít have anyplace to go," he chattered, wrapping his skinny arms around his quaking chest.

"You shouldnít be hereó

He stared up at him with hollow, hurting eyes. "Come in." George quickly cleared away the empty beers, throwing an afghan his way. The boy stood there meekly, blanket in hand, looking lost.

"Go ahead, sit down."

"He started up again. He smelled like whiskey when he came home tonight."

George sighed heavily.

"Where did God go? How come he didnít protect me?"

He doesnít care, George thought. The boysí familiar eyes bore into him and he knew it was a lie. God had always cared, loved, holding him in times of hurt and despair, and was patiently waiting for his return.

Georgeís heart began to pour out years of pain as he cried, "Father, help us, heal us!", looking into his own, youthful reflection, while clinging to an afghan, rumpled from sleepÖ

When he opened his eyes, the mountain was gone. In itís place: hope.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon06/10/11
I loved your story and the title was perfect. I wonder how many have fallen from their upbringing into this wicked old world of sin. Each must learn their lessons in life and God is always there ready to pick us up and give us hope.
Kathleen Langridge06/11/11
A reality that is more active than many know. Well told and redemptive ending.
diana kay06/11/11
great story and so well written I love the "mountain" inferences and the story is so believable. you unfold it so well.Getting the reader to be curious and ask questions about the story like why did he go back to drinking and then answer them as the story goes on. i love the way it ends with hope and that your character is brought back to reality by the young teenager he could identify with and that he refound his purpose and hope and meaning for life.this is a winner for me and bang on subject.
Janice Fitzpatrick06/12/11
Wow. Well done. I was a bit confused at whether the teen who visited the former youth pastor was real, or an image of himself earlier in years, as he came face to face with his pain. What I like about this is that you showed how all of us, even in fields of ministry, are still frail humans, who need a healing touch from the Lord. I don't know if you have ever heard of a class that covers this problem we each face but it's called, "Bridging the Gap." I took it once but need to retake it again as it helps us to recover from brokenness or neglect and come to terms with issues and unforgiveness, so we can be restored and not pass on the generational curses and iniquities. Great job on writing this!
Jessica Turner-Stotz06/13/11
Thank you for all your wonderful comments!! I wouldn't normally comment on my own piece but I did want to clarify that it is the man when he was younger and not actually a teenager at his door--a dream visit from the part of him that never healed and was still hurting. I kept it slightly vague so it wasn't like an "it was all a dream--just kidding" kind of thing. Thank you thank you again for all the brilliant encouragement :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/13/11
You did a great job with a difficult topic. The death of a lobed one whether a surprise or not can send a person spotsling out of control. How blessed we are that Jesus loves us so much.
diana kay06/16/11
well done jessica a winner for me and a inner for those judges so up you go to the next level for the next quarter :-)
Kristi Huseby06/16/11
Nice job! Congrats on your 1st place. This was a really great story.