Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Weary (05/03/12)
By Margo McKenzie
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In church, he could belt out ''What a friend we have in Jesus . . ." clenching his right fist and moving rhythmically his arm with the beat of the song to show the intensity of his convictions. Jesus was a special friend to him; I knew then that I wanted to meet Him some day.
In later years, his base voice would be reduced to an emphysemic rasp. When he walked in the kitchen, the slow swishing sound of slipper against tile had replaced the vibrant strides I had known as a child. Ninety two years of living had taken its toll on the strength of his legs, his heart and his lungs, but had never stopped him from telling us the stories of his youth: his years building the Panama Canal; working at the post office, walking off the job and then returning the following Monday, clocking in with his timecard and the boss asking him why he was back, and he merely responding, "I've decided to reconsider" and going back to business as usual.
Though he walked around with a transportable oxygen tank, he owned the stories that he told on borrowed air. The tale about his encounter with Jesus always kept us enrapt the most. "I was working in the sugarcane fields in Barbados, and this man stopped by in the heat of the day telling the workers 'I want to tell you about a man that sticks closer than a brother.' Those words grabbed me by the collar. You know I lost my only brother two years earlier. I had been working in the field for six hours, but I knew I needed to hear what this man had to say. He opened a black Bible with frayed edges, and verse by verse, he showed me why I needed Jesus and how to make Him a part of my life."
Grandpa would tell the whole story stopping at intervals to catch his breath but that broad smile and enthusiasm never left him. If he could, he would have stood up to finish his storytelling because his sprit sure was willing, but ninety-two years of living had wearied his weakened flesh.
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