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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Love (04/27/06)

TITLE: Light in the Darkness
By Stacey Thaeler
04/30/06


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Rachel shut off the ignition and listened to the silence. A single fat raindrop hit the windshield, rolling until it impacted the wiper arm. A middle-aged couple pulled into the next parking space, stepped out of their truck, and entered the iron gray building. Get out, she told herself. You have to go inside. If you donít do this now, you never will. Closing her eyes to arrest the flow of tears, she leaned her head on the steering wheel. Why do I have to do it at all? Why canít I drive away and go on with my life?

You know why you have to do this, Rachel.

Yes, Lord, butó

Before you were born, I loved you. And before he was born, I loved him.

Lord, how can Ió

Iím the true light of the world. Iíve given you part of my light; walk as a child of light.

Rachel raised her head and looked at the low-slung building. From where she sat, she could make out the words ďcorrectional institutionĒ on the front. She watched as several more people walked up the tulip-lined walkway and opened the glass doors.

You really want me to go in there and forgive him?

My light shines brightest in the darkest places. There is no darkness I cannot chase away.

Lord, Iím afraid.

Then do it afraid. What better place is there for someone to experience my power over death?

More fat raindrops splashed onto the clean windshield. Her whole body felt like lead. Was this how Mary felt as she gazed up at her son, dying on the cross? Was she ever able to extend forgiveness and love? No! She couldnít do this. Sheíd have to be out of her mind. The tears finally came, mimicking the rhythm of the rain.

As she reached into her purse for a tissue, her hand brushed up against something stiff, like cardboard. She stared down at the leftover valentine from one of her students. Unbidden, a smile formed on her lips. In shaky, first grade printing Amy had written, ďI love you.Ē

The rough construction paper heart pressed to her cheek, Rachel recalled Jesusí words in Johnís Gospel: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.* Out of love, God gave his Son for whoever would believe in Him. Jesus came for sinners who are sick and dying.

The rain pelted her as she stepped out of the car. She dashed for the entrance to the prison, brushing up against a large mass of yellow tulips. Inside, a few people waited to check their belongings before entering the visitation room. Fighting the urge to run, she stepped into line, praying silently. When her turn came, she answered the questions, filled in the appropriate information, and waited to extend forgiveness to the drunk driver who took her sonís life.

*Scripture quotation from John 3:16 (KJV)


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Lynda Schultz 05/05/06
What a wonderful picture of the struggle to forgive. The surprise ending was a clever twist. One little detail that struck me: "the drunk driver who had taken her sonís life". Good job.
Sherry Wendling05/06/06
Gripping! I could feel the heat of Rachel's wrestling match with God. How many times have each of us who call Jesus Lord entered that ring? You led me straight to the 'above-and-beyond-all-expectations' finale. Excellent work. Keep writing; you're in line to be published, for sure.