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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Selfishness (02/14/05)

TITLE: A Third of a Bag of M&M's
By C.L. Burden
02/15/05


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I hungrily watched as my mother carefully divided the single bag of M&M’s into three small bowls. “Here’s one for you,” she said as her eyes met mine, “one for you,” she said to my sister, “and one for your brother.” My eyes followed as her hand glided across the three bowls.

Following a lunch of PB&J with macaroni & cheese, my younger brother had dashed out the back door to meet up with his waiting friends while my sister and I clamored to the candy jar noticing the lone bag of Peanut M&Ms. “I saw ‘em first!” My sister blurted, as I shoved my arm deep into the glass jar and scooped up the package. “So what? I got ‘em first!” I retorted, waving the bag in her face. She quickly snatched them from my hand and shot through the kitchen with me hot on her heals. We flew through the living room with our chase reaching top speed as we hit the hallway. “Young ladies!” Our mother’s stern voice stopped us cold. “Exactly, why are you running in the house?”

We both flew into our own version of the terrible travesty of the Peanut M&M’s only to be brought to an abrupt halt by her single word, “Enough!” She plucked the bag from my sister’s hand and headed to the kitchen as we closely followed behind. Like all of the decisions involving her three children, mother’s word was fair and final.

Her task complete, she slid our bowls across the table and directed me to take my brother his share.

Grabbing the two bowls, I headed out the back door. The mid-summer heat greeted me harshly as I moved to the shaded area of the porch, plopped down and slid the first M&M into my mouth. The chocolate slowly melted, leaving behind the small peanut which I rolled over my tongue several times before crunching it hard between my teeth. Grabbing the next, I noticed it was green with a chip in the candy coating. I decided I would make each of my few edible treasures last as long as the first, so the process began again.

My position on the porch gave me a clear view of my brother and his friends. They ignored the heat to continue a baseball game that, as far as I knew, had started the day school let out for summer vacation. Enjoying my snack, I watched as the dozen or so neighborhood boys scurried after the stark white ball in the field behind our house.

It was my brother’s turn at bat as I reached my hand back into the bowl. “Oh, man!” I said aloud, realizing it was empty. I licked my lips attempting to savor any bit of chocolate left behind by my last bite. Then, I saw it! Only inches away from me on the concrete steps...my brother’s bowl! I looked across the yard to where my brother now stood on second base. “No one would ever know if I took just one,” I thought as I slid my finger over a red M&M. Checking my surroundings, I slowly pulled it from the bowl and gently glided it into my mouth. The heat had softened the chocolate and it melted instantly on my eager tongue. “Maybe, just one more,” the thought came as I grabbed another.

The baseball game had turned into a shouting match. I watched in interest as the boys argued on for several minutes before achieving some level of resolve. My brother turned toward our house and gave me a quick wave. Suddenly, my interest quickly diverted back to the bowl before me. It was empty! Oh, no! Did I really eat his M&M’s, too?

My face flushed a new level of heat as I anticipated the immediate future of attempting to explain to my brother and, inevitably, my mother how I had “accidently” been selfish enough to eat two bowls of M&M’s.

I would love to say that I was never “accidently” selfish again. However, I find that I am much more likely to be selfish accidently than selfish on purpose. How? I get lazy with my time and talent, I procrastinate, I make excuses, I avoid giving direct answers, I get too busy to spend time with my Lord. Then, I realize that all I have left is an empty bowl of purpose that is so common for those of us who are “accidently” selfish.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Cynthia Zirkwitz02/21/05
Nicely woven lesson in this story. I also like the way you build the story around the 'deprived' little girl. Good work!
Debbie OConnor02/22/05
Love this story! Excellently well written with a great lesson. You made a painful truth pleasant to read about and apply. I'm afraid we all have bouts of "accidental" selfishness.
donna robinson02/22/05
The story was delightful and the moral intense. I mean, don't we become selfish more by accident than on purpose which is why it is such a tricky trait to change?
Marjorie Arrowood02/26/05
I especially liked the "empty bowl of purpose" -- good job!
Jeremy McNabb02/26/05
What a great anecdote and you told it so well, so personably. Good luck!