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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Key (02/14/13)

By Judith Gayle Smith



I am the Histrionic artsy soul who seeks too much flattering attention for my highly questionable varied talents – until I am unexpectedly called upon to perform. Example – I cannot pass up a magnificently polished double keyboard organ without blissfully gracing its glowing finish with unstoppable drool. Magnificent sonatas flood my brain – oh so many beautiful hymns to praise our glorious God! But the message fails to animate the fingers on my recalcitrant left hand.

Hardly fair – for far too many years I had been a terrific high-speed keypunch operator – keying punch cards initially to be used by humongous computers that required large rooms of their own. My talented left hand flowed ecstatically with my right hand, creating documents that dominated my erstwhile career. My graceful obedient flying fingers knew well the requisite “home keys” – absolutely nothing was too challenging for my dependable faithful diligent digits.

Until the day I found a Casio Keyboard at a garage sale for only twenty-five dollars. Eager! I couldn’t wait to fire it up! Having no stand for it, I set the clumsy unbalanced keyboard on my lap, using my shaky left hand to hold the hymnal from which to send thrilling melodic strains to Heaven.

This was my first mistake. Having attempted to tunefully sing in choirs most of my life, I am somewhat able to – albeit fragmentally - sight read the soprano and alto parts. Stanzas never frayed me - until now. How to play the lower register? Holding the hymnal was vital, as I did not know how to play “generically” from the glories prayerfully lodged in my faulty memory. Being extremely nearsighted, I held the heavy awkward hymnal close to my eyes and carefully, hesitantly and too often erringly pieced out the melody with my right hand. Recognizable - somewhat. Not good, but a shaky tuneful attempt has been offered.

I was quickly becoming extremely discouraged. My loving Preacher husband valiantly sang along with my botched playing, but baritoned much too fast for my faulty rhythm-challenged fingers. I gave up attempting to play for many years. A key accidentally broke, and I placed the keyboard in the closet where it remains dusty and forgotten.

Found a wonderful keyboard for fifty dollars – another yard sale. Interest once again was piqued. But I repeated the same inane mistakes I had made before. Discouraged, I thought it might be the type of music I had chosen to play. I decided to replace the hymnal with a lively Disney Songbook and a late Fifties to early Sixties Rock music book. Then I misplaced these books. Still haven’t found them. Broke a key on this newer keyboard – I promise, not deliberately. Pride was definitely seeking a place to fall.

While penning this dubious prose I find myself taking breaks playing “Spider Solitaire” and halfway watching old movies playing in the background. Maybe this is part of my problem. Not applying myself directly to the task at hand. Dispersed thinking leads to my inability to win the silly game, understand the confusing movie – and, of course – complete this now sobering article.

I see boastful undeserved pride, discouragement, ill planning, repeating the same errors expecting different results, and changing venues fiercely competing for my attention. I stayed up awfully late last night trying to plot cleverly thematic storylines around the word “key”. So many applications, usages, anticipated themes. Boring – until I remembered the ultimate key that I missed hitting all along – humility. Pride numbing humility is the skeleton key that opens our Majestic God’s Heart. How could I forget? Without abject humility where is believable true repentance? Where is my hunger for Jesus – do I even know I need Him? And so the lonely broken keyboards sit until someone truly knowledgeable teaches me how to rightfully play – and I finally open my Bible and pray, preparing to unlock His Word.

I Peter 5:5 “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”

KJV Luke 15:7 “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

KJV Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

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This article has been read 657 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Danielle King 02/24/13
There's a good message in here, although you seemed to go off in different directions before getting to it. I think you write well but tend to add too much 'other stuff' that's a bit distracting. You were bang on topic and there's a lot of energy in your work. Keep writing because I suspect it's therapeutic for you and enlightening for others. You have some interesting ideas and experiences to pass on to dull folk... like me!
C D Swanson 02/24/13
Lots of messages in this multi-layered piece. Good spark and vivacious style.
Thanks. God bless~
Virgil Youngblood 02/24/13
Confession is good for the soul.
By the end of your article, you were off to the races and hitting the nail on the head. I enjoyed the humor and positive attitude and look forward to future submissions.
lynn gipson 02/24/13
I enjoyed this. I can relate to the big awkward machines that punched holes in cards. I worked as a keypunch operator in my younger years.

Very good message here.
Alicia Renkema02/25/13
You do have a real way with your words and sentence structure... I was all settled in to hear a nice story about your key board and then you started to tell the reader what was going on currently with you as you were writing your story. I found myself wanting to hear the rest of your story on the key board. While I thought you made great observations about what was happening with you and your scripture references were spot on for those observations, it was like reading two different stories. You are very gifted as a writer, and once you develop one solid direction with your plot and characters, you will have so many cool stories to share. Am looking forward to hearing more from you. You have got some awesome descriptions! God's Blessings to you.
Cheryl Harrison02/25/13
I love the honesty in your writing. Good job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/25/13
I really enjoyed this piece. it especially touched me as I am having problems with my left hand. I've lost some function on my left side and because i can't feel if my finger hits the cap lock key and I didn't listen to my typing teacher when she told me to watch the page not my fingers, i can get a lot of typing done before realized that dratted cap lock button had been pushed. As I'm writing up my comments I realize much like the MC, my eyes have focused on the wrong thing--I should be watching the paper or what it stands for in this story--my eyes should be on God.

Now that I have rambled on, I do want to point out I noticed once or twice where you slipped from the past tense to the present.

I think you covered the topic in a fun and fresh way. I also think many of us can relate to your lovable MC. You did my heart good and raised my spirits so I am going to bed with a smile in part due to your words and the Spirit's impeccable timing. Bless you. :)
Myrna Noyes02/26/13
I like your energetic writing style and believe God has given you definite talent as a story teller! Sometimes you're a bit too "wordy" for me, but you do use some good strong verbs and descriptive adjectives. (I noticed, as someone else mentioned, that you wrote in two different tenses, so you should choose one and stick with it throughout your piece.) I liked the part about humility being the "pride numbing" skeleton key to unlock a closer relationship with God. I look forward to reading more of your work, as you drew me in and kept me interested to the end.
Bea Edwards 02/27/13
Clever title and unique direction for this piece. You also presented a valuable lesson for the reader through your own struggle while writing this challenge entry. Well done!
Myrna Noyes02/28/13
HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR LEVEL WIN for this wonderful piece! I mentioned earlier that you definitely have story-telling talent, and this proves me correct!! :D WAY TO WRITE!!
Alicia Renkema02/28/13
Way to go girl, I am so happy for you on your win! You have a lot of stories in you and I know you will go far...
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/28/13
Congratulations on placing third in your level and for ranking 28 overall! (The highest rankings can be found on the message boards for the top 8 to 15 in each level and the top 35 overall.)
C D Swanson 02/28/13
Congrats. God bless~
Olawale Ogunsola03/03/13
Great piece! Great message! Thanks for sharing.
Olawale Ogunsola03/03/13
Great piece! Great message! Thanks for sharing.
Olawale Ogunsola03/06/13
Humility is the key. This piece speaks volumes. Thanks for sharing and congratulations for placing third.