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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)

TITLE: Drifting, Grasping & Trusting
By Anthony David



My coffee was getting cold as Joe sauntered in. He smiled tentatively and said, “Well Uncle, what’s up?”

I ordered some more coffee. Joe was wearing expensive clothes. But he slouched in them. That spoilt his looks. He didn’t appear to care though. A week long stubble adorned his youthful cheeks. He exuded an air of nonchalance.

“How are you spending your time these days Joe?” I asked as we sipped our coffee. Joe slurped his coffee noisily. “Oh well. Just like that!” he replied.

“Are you attending classes in your college?” I persisted. “No, I am not,” he said vehemently. “Why should I?”
“Don’t you like to study and prepare for some career?” I questioned. “Why should I”, he said. I was flabbergasted. Joe was very different from most youth whom I counsel. “Well Joe won’t you try and get a job after your graduation?” I continued.

“Why should I?” he repeated,” My Dad has earned enough money for me and for the next three generations after me to sit and enjoy life. I don’t see any reason for me to study or get a job. I don’t need a job at all.”

I didn’t know what to say. “How do you spend your day then”, I blundered.

“Well, I wake up late and have my breakfast. Watch TV for a while and have lunch and a siesta. In the evening I go roaming around with my friends. Come back and surf the net for a while before more of TV, supper and sleep. That’s my routine.” I looked at this young man. He was in perfect health but had no purpose in life.

Peter seemed a little sad when I told him about my talk with Joe. He was trying to hide his feelings. “All I want from that son of mine is this. He should realize that he needs to start earning money as soon as he can.” He said. I remonstrated, “But Peter, is that all to life? Just to earn money?”

“What else is there Sam?” asked Peter, “I fully believe that money runs our lives. If we have enough and more to spare, we don’t have to depend on anyone else. Don’t you agree Sam?”

I smiled and said, “No Peter. Can money give us happiness and joy, love and affection? Just see what money has done to Joe. Isn’t there a higher, nobler purpose to our lives than to just earn money?”

“Not that I know of” mumbled Peter as he disinterestedly turned away. He was busy scanning the newspaper for stock market updates.

Feeling slighted, I turned away and went into the next room of their home. Anna, Peter’s wife was my cousin. She had just finished praying. She smiled at me in welcome. “Well Sam, how’s life?” she enquired. I wondered at her. “I don’t understand how you appear so cool and collected In spite of all your troubles?” I spoke out.

“Troubles? What troubles Sam?” she said smoothly, “I leave all my cares, all my concerns daily at the feet of my Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. He will look after them. I am only to look out and help others my brothers and sisters.”

“But Anna”, I objected, “Joe, your son is drifting in life without a purpose. Your husband Peter keeps grasping for money. How come you alone are so composed and happy?”
Anna placed a cup of steaming hot coffee for me on the table. She paused and said, “My purpose in life is to trust God and pray to Him. I let God run my life. I am content to pray for my dear family. I leave the decisions to my Lord. His will for me is to keep praying, smiling and sharing. And that's what I am doing.”

I kept pondering deeply as I drank the delicious coffee. “Three members, all of one family. One has no purpose in life and is drifting. One keeps grasping for more and more money. While the key figure in the family just trusts the Lord and rests in Him.”


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Member Comments
Member Date
Virginia Gorg06/02/06
Interesting article. I would suggest that you don't need to say "Joe, your son....and your husband, Peter" since you've indicated these are good friends. How about just their names? Nice (in a sad way) that the father wants his son to work, yet is so interested in the stock market. Nice telling and message.
Sherry Wendling06/05/06
Nice concept, comparing the attitudes of three family members! I like the way you use dialogues to reveal the attitudes, such as Joe's description of his daily routine.

One thing that we all deal with sooner or later is those pesky adverbs! It's so natural to stick in an adverb that TELLs readers how to interpret what's going on. Truth is, readers really want you to SHOW a picture and allow them to interpret for themselves.

Examples from your piece: "said smoothly," "Pondering deeply," "said disinterestedly," "said vehemently." Adverbs actually detract from the strength of your piece.

In most dialogues, a simple "said" will do. For instance, instead of "said vehemently," you want something like, 'Joe's tone rose three or four notches. "No, I am not!" '

See how the reader can 'hear' the vehemence for himself? You don't even need the "said."

Have fun with this! Good job!

Shari Armstrong 06/05/06
A very nice lesson. A little proofreading for typos, grammar and punctuation problems would help. Start a new paragraph for each new speaker. I really liked the comparsion between the three distinct personalities in the family.