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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Park (10/25/12)

TITLE: Radical Ceasing
By Ken Grant


I was late and I was rushing; not an uncommon activity for me. The hours of the day never seemed to be enough to satisfy my schedule. I had fallen into the habit of promising more than I could do and then when I couldn’t deliver the guilt would come crashing down upon me. The sad thing is that it would just encourage me to try to do more to make up for what I had failed to do the first time. I was speeding through life without really seeing.

“Hey!” A plaintive voice cried out.

I stumbled and almost fell, but I regained my balance just in time. I looked back to see what I had stumbled over and saw a well-worn blanket lifting up to expose a young woman underneath. She looked at me with those eyes that tell a story and hers was clearly one of deep pain and abandonment.

“I’m trying to sleep here!” She screamed.

My adrenaline immediately turned into fury. My mind filled with thoughts of anger, frustration, hatred, and any number of other negative emotions. She was literally a bump in my road and I had no time for her. She looked at me for a moment before burying herself back underneath her protective cocoon. It was my opportunity. I had the right to walk away and go about whatever necessary things I had to accomplish. But those eyes wouldn’t let me. She had invited me into her pain, if even for a short moment, and that had made all the difference. I carefully walked over to where the form slowly moved up and down. I bent down, began to touch the blanket, stopped, and whispered, “I want to help you.”

The world around me slowed down. I looked about at the trees, the birds, the joggers, the people pushing strollers, the children playing, and a thousand other things that I hadn’t seen just moments before. They had been there, of course, but my mind had been too preoccupied to see them.

“What do you want?” The blanket lifted and the young woman stared at me again with those eyes. Her words were pushing me away, but her eyes still held hope.

“I want to help you.” I stammered out the words. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but I sensed it had something to do with rescuing my soul.

“Leave me alone.” The words didn’t have the same venom this time.

“I won’t leave you.” I felt as though God was speaking the words through me.

“Nobody cares about me.”

“I do.”


It was a fair question. What was I doing there? Why had I stopped? I stopped because I needed to see. In the middle of the park I needed to remember that God had made me for more that just accomplishing a list of tasks. He had made me to show his love to a young woman who needed to know that someone cares. I merely said, “God cares about you very much.”

She smiled a weak smile. It was most likely all she had within her. “Thank you.” She replied before returning to her cocoon.

I stood up and went my way. It wasn’t a miracle, but it was miraculous. I was no longer rushing, but resting, in a whole new way.

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This article has been read 272 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/02/12
This is a touching story. I'm sure many can relate to the MC and even the "bump in the road." You did a nice job with developing the conflicts, the inner one raging in the MC's head and the external one of homeless people in the park.

The one thing I'd encourage is to do more showing. This line is telling: I was late and I was rushing
but switch it up a bit and you have showing: I looked at my watch and could feel the blood pound through my veins as I picked up my pace.
Try to paint a picture for the reader.

Your message is a great one and one we all need reminding of. There is a purpose for our life beyond checking off things on a list. I also like this because I think different people will take different messages. Some might hear God whisper slow down while another might hear the shout of doing something to help.
Marie Hearty 11/03/12
Very nice story with a great message. I enjoyed reading it.

God bless!
Sandra Wells11/03/12
Your piece touched my heart. I could almost see the young woman's pain filled eyes. God can use anything and anyone to grab our attention when needed. I liked the quick back and forth dialog between the two women, ending with the simple yet powerful question, "Why?" On that day,in that park, two lives collided, and God spoke to each in a voice they needed to hear. It really makes me stop and think, thank you for that.
Karen Pourbabaee 11/03/12
Strong messages in this well written piece. I really liked your definitive line...she invited me into her pain and that made all the difference, for that marked a change in both of their lives...one opening up/receiving and the other giving/caring. Great work!