Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: THE UGLY TOURIST (07/09/15)
- TITLE: Atomic Bombs
By Dot Hannah
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I awakened to beauty, the sun warming my soul. I felt like I was a world away from my mundane, routine existence, grateful that God had blessed me with the resources to take a much needed vacation. I was in a bold, beautiful, picturesque place with sandy beaches to stroll, historic sites and museums to tour and charming boutiques to shop.
I was traveling with several family members. It was so wonderful spending time with those I rarely see except on holidays. Every day we set out on a new excursion, from sunning on the beach to fishing at sea. We took a tour bus around the city to see all the rich, historic sites and beautiful streets lined with moss laden trees. It would have been awesome except for one in the group who did not share my enthusiasm. He complained about everything and was negative from dawn to dusk. He was prone to angry eruptions, and we found ourselves tip-toeing around when he was nearby. Needless to say, this put a damper on our jovial attitudes.
Words are powerful. We can ruin someone’s day with our words or be a glittering diamond in the midst of mud. We can encourage someone’s spirit or melt it like July on ice. Words can save the day or destroy it. I needed to relax and enjoy myself. It would be a long time before I would have a similar opportunity. I intended to get back to nature and escape the fast paced stress of everyday life. I picked the perfect place to make life long memories and had tirelessly planned every small detail for full enjoyment. How could I have prepared myself for what was happening? The only way to overcome the gloom was to stay focused on all the beauty God made for us to enjoy, and ignore the ugliness.
“This place is a tourist trap. They saw us coming,” he said. His words were like atomic bombs. I encouraged myself with this thought, “God saw us coming so He made the sunshine more radiant, the sea deeper blue, and all the activities more spectacular than I ever imagined.” The more he complained the more determined I became to count my blessings and relish every moment. I was going to become a fun-loving beach bum, hunt sea shells, eat ice cream, enjoy fantastic cuisine, nestle under live oaks and read books. I was motivated all the more to introduce myself to the unaccustomed, celebrate life, and thank my generous God that my world was perfect. My plans included rocking on the porch, enjoying my family and never experiencing a dull moment while there.
He was like a winter blast in the midst of a summer paradise, his tongue like a coiled rattlesnake. I had to guard my focus or I, too, would cultivate an ugly atmosphere. His bitterness seemed only to intensify. Patience exhausted, I wanted to crack and scream, “What gives you the right to ruin my vacation?” However, I forced myself to remain silent and center my attention on giant ocean swells, fresh breezes, hot tubs and flip flops. It worked, and I suddenly felt lighter. I learned I can control what I think.
The others in our group and I parted with a promise. We would pray that this individual would recognize his blessings and have a heart change. After all, it is the abundance of the heart which speaks. We would pray that he begin to see his glass as half full rather than half empty, that he would realize his lost opportunity to celebrate life, love, and family.
“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart and they defile the man.” (Matthew 15:18) KJV
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