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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Dead End (02/06/14)

TITLE: Heaven-Bound - allegory
By Dusty Fontaine


Following my Savior down the STRAIGHT AND NARROW PATH for the past thirty-six years has been a challenge. The earthen trail has offered many uncertainties which have caused me to fear and lose sight of Christ along the way.

The Lord would say, “Follow my footsteps. Walk where I’ve walked. Don’t tarry.” He even offered to carry me at times, but my pride wouldn’t allow it. Therefore, I often found myself alone and confused.

Once, I came to a fork in the road. There were signs posted at the beginning of each path. One read: PEACE AND COMFORT – THIS WAY TO HEAVEN. The other shouted: TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS – THIS WAY TO HEAVEN.

I looked at the ground to see if I could tell which way my Lord had taken, but I found no clue. I peered down the one path and saw a treacherous dirt road bordered by jagged rocks. The skies in that direction appeared dark and dreary.

The other road was paved and lined with fine homes, each with picket fences and green lawns. Parked in their driveways was an assortment of luxury cars. Children were playing in many of the yards, while aromatic smoke rose over the top of some of the houses from active barbeque grills. The sun shone brightly. There was just enough breeze to keep it cool and comfortable and cause the Christian flags attached to the mailboxes to unfurl and wave to the passerby.

I studied the footprints again. It was evident that many more had traveled the paved road. My decision was made.

I started down the sun-kissed pavement, passing the first home. The children stopped their playing to smile and wave. From around the back corner of the house appeared four adults. They all waved and shouted “God bless you!” in my direction. I smiled and shouted back, “Thank you – same to you!”

At the second driveway, a man and his wife met me. “Where are you heading?” they asked.

“I’m going to heaven” was my answer. “Is this the way?”

“That’s what we’ve heard. Everyone on this street is going there too. Are you hungry?”

I was.

I joined them in the back yard, eating steak and enjoying conversation about their lives and how the Lord had blessed them. At one point I fell asleep in a reclining lawn chair with a glass of iced tea in my hand. When I awoke, the sun was setting.

The family convinced me to stay overnight. In fact, I enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner with them the next day… and the next week… and for a month or so after that. I felt very comfortable there. So much so that I forgot I was following Jesus.

One day, while we were talking about my time there, it was suggested I build a house at the end of the street. For a moment I entertained the thought. But then it hit me – “at the end of the street.” I thought this road led to heaven!

I ran out the front door and down the paved road, past waving kids and fancy cars – for what seemed like hours. The asphalt beneath my feet was getting hotter and hotter – until it ended abruptly at the edge of a dark smoldering wilderness that went on as far as the eye could see.

I had chosen a dead end.

I dropped to my knees and cried out to my Savior. “Lord Jesus. I am sorry I lost sight of you. I let my fears keep me from walking in your steps, and then allowed the comforts and pleasures of this life to lull me to sleep. I will make different choices if given another chance. Please don’t let this dead end be the end of my journey.”

Lifting my head, I saw the same two paths that were presented to me weeks earlier. I was no longer tempted to take the more alluring path. I shouted a “thank you” to my Lord and stepped onto the muddy trail.

There was a steady rain falling as I maneuvered around the first of many potholes.

Looking ahead, I spied a sharp turn with jagged rocks protruding out on one side and a steep drop off the other. Fear began to take over and I stopped.

“I need you, Jesus” I whispered.

From around the bend ahead my Lord appeared with His arms outstretched. I climbed into them and vowed to never lose sight of Him again.

I am still heaven-bound!

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This article has been read 121 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Stephanie Eckenroad02/13/14
I really enjoyed this read. Well written and creative. The lesson is one that will not quickly be forgotten!
Phyllis Inniss 02/13/14
Quite an interesting story. We know that what seems alluring is not as enticing as it looks. The forked road leaves one with a dilemma of which path to take. It is always better to ask God for directions first before we make the choice. Very interesting read.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/13/14
This is an outstanding take on the topic. You did a fine job pulling me in. Your MC was relatable and so real.

You may want to consider doing more showing than telling. For example:Stretching on my tip-top, I inhaled deeply. The aromatic smell of barbecues tickled my nose as my eyes focused on the beautifully manicured lawns speckled with flowers.

That's not perfect, but I hope it helps demonstrate what I mean. Your ending was perfect. As I read, I kept thinking don't let it be a dream. That can be an over-used literary device and I love that you didn't go that way. It made it so real and really packed a punch. I also really could feel the MC's panic and anguish when she realized she forgot about Jesus. What a powerful and thought-provoking message.

On the message boards, there is a thread called Jan's Writing Basics. It's a great forum for all levels of readers. This month she is focusing on the criteria the judges use for the challenge.
CD Swanson 02/14/14
Wow! All I can say for this is WOW!

God bless~
lynn gipson 02/19/14
It is when we face trial and tribulations that we are closest to our Lord. This is a fine example of that.

Well written and a delight to read. Very good writing here.
Toni Hammer 02/19/14
You definitely have talent. This was a heavy read in terms of subject, but it was easy to get through. I hope that makes sense. I only wish, and this is just personal opinion, that the MC had been able to see something good on the road less traveled. Maybe a calm meadow past the jagged rocks or something. I know this life isn't all rainbows and butterflies, but it's also not 100% pain and endurance, ya know?

Great story.
Rachel Malcolm 02/19/14
This is a great story! Thank you for sharing it. Your words help put life in perspective. This life is a journey. I think that we often forget that we are here for a purpose, not just to please ourselves.

One little thing that I noticed was a missing comma in a couple of places where you had dialogue. A comma should set off your quotation from the tag (he said, she asked etc.).

“I need you, Jesus” I whispered. This should have a comma before the last set of quotation marks: “I need you, Jesus,” I whispered.

This piece is well written with plenty of variation in sentence style and paragraph lengths. I look forward to reading more of your work. God bless!
Maura J. Merrigan02/19/14
lovely story!The title is wonderful!
Amelia Brown 02/20/14
Congrats Dusty!!!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/20/14
Congratulations on ranking 1st in your level and 12 overall!! The highest rankings can be found on the message boards.
lynn gipson 02/20/14
Congratulations on your 1st place win! Can you move up, now? I am thrilled for you girl.