Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: First (as in original) (01/10/05)
TITLE: First, Oldest, Original
By Catherine Pollock
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“Isn’t that something we all would love to be able to add to the list of adjectives we use to describe ourselves? You are the first, the oldest, the best – a one of a kind original that could never be duplicated, and never will be because the One who made you made you to an original. When you’re gone, you’re gone, and there is nothing on this planet that can ever contribute just exactly what you are able to contribute.
“I wish I could say I always think that way about myself, but I don’t. After so many years of hearing the exact opposite, of being told that I was nothing, or less than nothing, it is so easy to fall back into that kind of mentality. I’m just starting to accept the idea that I was created especially to be me, that I am a unique individual who can do anything (as long as God is with me, of course).
“I was never the oldest, the prettiest, or the first to get anything done. I never could run fast, hit the ball hard or kick it into between two poles. None of my writing ever made it past my teacher’s desk, and none of my talents ever made anyone want to look at me in any kind of light. My parents would complain about how I never showed any signs of being anything but average. The way they constantly threw it in my face… well, let’s just say that I grew to hate the words average and first.
“That is why, when I was a teenager, I ran away from home. The constant comparisons, the thinly veiled insults… I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to get out. I had to get away from it before it destroyed me.
“I didn’t know then that a worse destruction was what faced me on the streets. TV, movies… they seemed to glamorize it. They made it sound like something that anyone could and should do at some point in their lives, but they never showed me until it was too late just how dangerous it could be. Especially for a young teenage girl who had no idea of what she was in for.
“Those two years I spent living on the streets were the most horrific of my life. I shouldn’t have to get into detail about that because I know that you all know the dangers. Smart, educated people like the ones who are reading this right now would know better than to turn to a life on the streets because a life on the streets like I was living was really no life at all.
“It was a couple of years ago that my life on the street came to an end. I was tired, cold and hungry when I heard one of those street corner preachers just preaching up a storm. I stood there and listened because I had nowhere else to go, and when he started talking about a mission that provided food and a bed to sleep in for people who needed it, I was ready to go and do just about anything he said because I wanted to eat so badly, and sleep someplace that was safe and warm.
“By the time I got into the mission and figured out just exactly what was going on, of course I thought about bailing out, going back to the street, but I stayed because what they were saying, all this God stuff, was starting to make a strange kind of sense. It gave me a tiny flicker of hope, and that tiny flicker was all that it really took to get me to stay and see what God had to offer.
“I’ve been out of the mission for a year now. I managed to get my GED, and I’ve got a job that pays the bills while the government helps pay for school. I’m not going to university yet, but I will soon because I’ve found out that I like working on computers and there’s so much more for me to learn about them.
“I’m not the only person who’s ever been through what I have, or is doing what I’m doing now, and I know I’m not the first, but I am an original person with an original story, and I’ll always be the first, the original and the best me there ever will be. God wouldn’t have it any other way.”
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