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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Great Expectations (not about the book) (08/25/11)

By Jean Beier


Julie trudged along the path in the forest that led from the picnic area. The sky was a beautiful dark blue and was doted with puffy white clouds. Julie thought upon her need of finding peace and happiness, the kind that would bring a twinkle in her eyes and a broad smile upon her face. That kind of peace and happiness would only come in fantasies and dreams. She would need to conjure some of that up, for her expectations were great.

As Julie hiked further into the wooded area, her thoughts relaxed. No longer did she struggle to conjure up her vision of how her life should turn with the world. The trees thickened and loomed around and above her. Less and less of the sky peaked through the tangled world of bushes, trees, weeds, wildflowers, and little wild creatures. Fear crept into the very center of her being, calling for her to abort her hike into unfamiliar territory. As beautiful as it was, it was unknown to her, and night seemed to be dawning upon her.

Self overpowered the wisdom of all she knew of the dangers of woods and uncharted paths, and so Julie trudged on. The path Julie had first ventured onto had taken several turns since her first steps into the woods, and at one point she had come upon a Y and had chosen to take the left instead of the right. Now with fear and fading faith in the wisdom of her choice, Julie shivered, and with one more step her ankle gave out, downing her to the ground. The thud startled a ground squirrel sending it scampering and disappearing into safety of the woods.

Seventeen year old Julie screamed, “Ouch!” as she tried to bring herself to her feet. Soon she realized there would be no standing on her very sprained, or possible broken ankle. Her thoughts and questions began to indwell her. Had she told her family when and where she was going? She began to relive the scene in her mind. The family had decided to have one last end of the summer picnic outing before school resumed the next day.

The picnic table was covered with the mostly eaten dishes of food and the scattering of utensils. The wind had picked up, fluffing up the tablecloth, and disturbing the peace of it all. It was then that Julie had completely lost it. What had her parents been thinking, bringing up Sunday’s message given by the Pastor? He had been high on his horse about the teens of the church, who in his opinion, were making bad choices and giving into the world. Julie thought what does an old pastor and parents know about being a teenager, anyway. Sure they were teens once, but decades ago! Times have changed. God does not expect the same from teens, as He did way back then.

When the conversation got heated, that was when Julie decided on the walk in search of peace and happiness. She remembered as she sat on the damp dirt of the path, she had just stormed away, not giving any explanation of why or where she was going. She had made a decision like a teenager, and look where that had led her.

Julie pondered her predicament. With each jabbing pain in her ankle, her fears excelled. The night came closing in on her, and the forest sounded with all its’ cries of the night. Tears ran like a river down her cheeks. Oh how she yearned for the safety of the circle of her family.

She thought again on the message from the Pastor that Sunday morning. What had he said about when one makes a bad choice and needs help to find their way back? Oh! Call on Jesus and He will hear, and He will draw near, and rescue you. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive.

Julie went into meditative prayer, imagining herself safe and secure in her home with her family. She imagined herself at peace and happy with her life. She felt Jesus’ presence.

When suddenly she heard rustling in the darkness, and she heard her family calling her, Julie! Where are you? The family entered the small clearing in the path where Julie sat rubbing her ankle. Even in the darkness they could see the broad smile on her face, and the sparkle in her eyes. The teenager happily lost in her great expectations.

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This article has been read 236 times
Member Comments
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Mildred Sheldon09/02/11
Although being a teenager happened a very long time ago I still remember vividly my expectations and the lost feeling I had when they went awry, but thanks to loving concerned parents who always was there to help me get back to solid ground just like Jesus. Good story. Thanks for sharing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/03/11
This is a good story with the perfect amount of conflict. I like how the teen figured out what she needed to do-pray. Being a teen is a difficult tests today, as well as being a parent of A teen. You captured this skillfully.
C D Swanson 09/03/11
Prayer knows no age limitations, God hears them all. Good job-I enjoyed this story. God Bless~