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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Whine (05/23/13)

TITLE: The Flip-Side
By Tal Bartelle


It’s more like a hum than a whine. But, then again, it’s not really a hum either. A hum is something people do, and usually in the form of varied pitch levels, like humming a tune. Well, maybe humming isn’t just limited to people. Perhaps a few animal species make a hum or a whine type sound to either express a thought or a warning.

Then again, machines, appliances and other manmade things whine as they perform the function for which they were designed to carry out. Like a refrigerator. It cycles on and off to keep the temperature inside at a predetermined level. Its intermittent whine, hum or vrrrrg sound indicates that all systems are go.

But, to make certain the unit is still functioning during its quite time, one must wait for the box to cycle back on. And, when it does, the whine then becomes a welcomed and cherished sound. Unlike the whine of a child, begging, demanding, pleading for this or for that. Okay, even adults sometimes get into that act. But, the flip-side: total, complete and never ending silence, is what no one wants to hear from them.

Edward Chumas sat stoically, almost belligerently in the pew next to his God fearing wife. Edward really did love his wife, and therefore accompanied her to church every Sunday, as a compromise. In exchange, she agreed to not, in his word, whine about his lack of Salvation.

However, after fifty two years of that, he had enough. He’d grown tired of the preacher calling him out Sunday after Sunday, demanding he parade himself down the aisle in front of God and everyone to make a public spectacle of himself. “The alter call”, he thought, bathed with disdain. “Why wasn’t a belief that God exists and being a nice guy good enough?” He wondered.

Edward’s wife, Karen dutifully placed a hand on his arm and whispered encouragingly into his ear, “Honey, go on up there. Jesus is waiting to give you the gift of life.” Patting his hand she added, “Plus, I want you in Heaven with me.”

When they were first married, Karen took the Lord’s Great Commission seriously. And because the first and most important person in her world was her new husband, she did everything she could think of to get him saved. Thus, the compromise.

Edward had always argued that a loving God could never send someone to hell and burn forever. He posited that religion was overblown. And Karen’s response was always the same, “It’s not about religion, honey. It’s about a relationship, with Jesus Christ.”

“I believe in Jesus,” Edward would say. “Why isn’t that good enough?”

“Believing in the Lord is just the first step. Trusting Him with your life is what seals the deal.” she’d reply.

Edward’s final response, with a dismissive smile was always, “Well, I’ve done okay with my life so far.”

The human heart is something we feel and share, rather than hear. It is said to simply hum along, until the flip-side: total, complete and never ending silence. Regardless of who occupies its throne.

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This article has been read 254 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/31/13
I enjoyed this piece. Your ending really packs a powerful punch. I'm not sure if you needed the first part. The transition was a bit rough. Instead you might have shown the couple's relationship a bit more, and then added the metaphor about the whine of the refrigerator. I could even see the minister working it into a sermon. Your message is a great one. I'm sure many people can relate or know someone like your MC. Again the ending was fabulous. Many struggle with a good ending with the word limit but you make it look easy. This is a thought provoking piece. I enjoyed it, especially the second half. Good job. Keep writing those stories God places on your heart. Your words will touch people more that you could ever imagine.
C D Swanson 05/31/13
Powerful conclusion in this entertaining entry.

God bless~
Genia Gilbert06/03/13
I am so NOT an expert, and I always to hesitate to offer suggestions, but it seems to me that the first three paragraphs might be a little too much explanation. It is the only weak section I find in this piece, and the overall point is wonderful. It is well written and I enjoyed it.