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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Day and Night (07/10/14)

TITLE: Starting A New Life Today
By Donna Tijou
07/17/14


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“Why are you getting up so early?” I asked incredulously, squinting at the clock on my nightstand.

Full of vigor, Dave replied, “Time’s a-wastin’,” and bounced out of bed.

“Are you kidding? It’s only four o’clock.”

“I’m starting a new life today.”

“What’s wrong with the old one?”

“It’s too settled, too ho-hum. I need action and excitement, starting now.”

“Okay, enjoy.”

If our lives were ho-hum, it was by design. We were both sixty-five, a few months into retirement. Ho-hum to me was .... wonderful. I had waited my whole life for ho-hum. But if Dave felt he needed to add excitement to his life, it was alright by me. I wasn't about to argue, especially at four in the morning. I rolled over and went back to sleep.

When I got up at seven-thirty, I smelled coffee brewing and bacon frying. Hmmm, maybe this new and improved Dave was good.

“Good morning, hon!” Dave chirped from the kitchen.

“Good morning, Zippy.” I replied. “How’s your new life going?”

“Terrific! I've already watered the garden, read the paper and walked Ruff. Life is what you make it. I've been sitting around too long waiting for life to happen. Now I’m going to grab hold of it and do something worthwhile.”

“Wasn't raising four children to responsible adulthood worthwhile? Isn't having eight grandchildren worthwhile? Wasn't a forty year distinguished career worthwhile?”

“Yes, but now I need to do something different, something that leaves my mark on earth.”

“I’d be happy to get you a nice gravestone to leave your mark on the earth,” I joked.

“I’m serious. I need to do something significant.”

“How about going to church this Sunday?

“Yeah, that’s great, but I want to do something where I can see my name in writing.”

“How about seeing your name God’s book of life? Would that be significant?”

I had been witnessing to Dave most of our married life. I found salvation in my twenties when a friend told me about giving myself to Jesus and accepting Him as personal Savior. Now in our sixties, Dave still hadn't made that commitment. I worried about his eternal soul. Our children had accepted Jesus at an early age, but Dave was still holding out. It was no wonder he felt like his life wasn't meaningful. I knew he needed to put God in his life, but he needed to know. I had been praying for him for forty years and hoped that today would be the day. I whispered a quick prayer.

“What is God’s book of life? Can I order it on Amazon?” he asked sarcastically.

“No, it’s free, you don’t even have to wait for it to come in the mail. Think about it. If you want to feel like you've contributed to this planet, let Jesus into your heart and He will show you how.”

We said no more as we sat down to the breakfast Dave had prepared. A single, elegant rose plucked from our garden that morning, graced our table.

He spent the rest of the morning hopping from one project to another, never seeming to find rest for his soul. After lunch he took a nap. I wasn't surprised, considering he had gotten up at four. When he awoke he was quiet, contemplative. We shared a simple dinner. When finished, he pushed back his plate and, looking me in the eye, said,

“I've been thinking about the conversation we had this morning where you spoke of accepting Jesus and letting Him make my life significant.”

“Yes?” I said, hopeful.

“Well, I guess it’s time. I've been fighting it all my life, wanting to do everything by my own power and might, but never really feeling satisfied. I want to let Jesus in.”

My eyes filled with tears as I helped Dave say the sinner’s prayer and accept Jesus as Savior. Then we wept together, tears of joy. We climbed the stairs, slid into bed, and kissed good night. Before drifting off, I whispered “thank you” to Jesus.

That night the angels came and took my sweet David home. Doctors said it was a massive heart attack. Five years have passed since then and I still grieve, but find comfort knowing Dave did something significant that day.

I did get him a grave marker. It said, “A day and a night can make all the difference. This man’s name is written in God’s book of life.”


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This article has been read 73 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Elizabeth Baize 07/17/14
The dialogue drew me in amd kept me reading. I loved the tone, and the last two lines are so powerful!
Lynda Schultz 07/17/14
Powerful story. Well done.
Virgil Youngblood 07/18/14
I enjoyed the pace of this story and the message conveyed. Well done.
Toni Babcock 07/20/14
Great story! Thanks for sharing it. Only found one omission in the sentence: “How about seeing your name God’s book of life?" (the word 'in' missing).
Camille (C D) Swanson 07/21/14
Poignant, touching and memorable. Well done and well written.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/23/14
This is a sweet story. You did a nice job of developing the characters . Loved the wife's attitude. This week in Jan's Writing Basics on the message boards, she talks about balancing showing and telling. You actually do a pretty good job of doing that. Personally, I'd like to see a tad more showing and possibly tightening the story up.

For example you could do something like this:
I felt the springs bounce as Dave hopped out of bed. Groaning, I squinted at the clock. "Good grief, Why are you getting up at four AM?"
That's not perfect, but shows a way to combine a few lines into one while painting a picture for the reader.

Although the ending was a tad predictable and the message on the headstone possibly a bit too long, I still think you did a fantastic job and delivered a vital message--actually several messages. Prayer is so powerful, never give up on loved ones, and we never know when the end might come. (She has a lesson about tightening stories and writing a good ending with a restricted word count out there too if you haven't seen them yet.)

I truly believe your story will impact many lives. It reminded me to be more consistent in witnessing to my loved ones. I sincerely thank you for that. Your character is someone whom I would like to model myself after. You did a great job.
Larry Whittington07/23/14
Jesus gave his entire life obeying God. He only asked God one time if it would be OK for him not to have to do something that God wanted him to do but he ended that prayer with a "but not my will but yours."

In Acts chapter 2 the people who finally believed that Jesus was both Lord and Christ didn't just ask Peter for a short prayer to let Jesus into their lives but asked "What shall we do?" They were told to repent and be baptized and their sins would be forgiven and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Those who accepted his message obeyed and about 3,000 were baptized.

In our writing let us always show the Bible way of obeying.

Should be obey any less than they did?

Camille (C D) Swanson 07/24/14
Congrats!

God bless~