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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)

TITLE: Glowing
By terri tiffany


There is was. It had turned slightly gray with time but it was still recognizable. Even the ribbon held after all these years. Mother had saved it. She threw most everything out, but this remained.

Standing up, I stretched the kink out of my back. The cardboard shoebox that held the remnants of my childhood lay at my feet. The only thing that remained to be done was to open it - but not here.

I settled on the twin bed of my girlhood bedroom. The green flowered wallpaper had never been changed - not once since I turned eleven. If my mother liked something, it remained; if not, she disposed of it quickly. Her recent transfer to a nursing home now left the removal of the household items to her daughters.

The box languished before me. The ragged ribbon slipped easily free with one pull. Why did my heart hammer so? I shifted my shoulders and lifted the top. A jumble of tokens from my past greeted me. Brownie badges, birthday trinkets, a tiny leather pouch from a vacation souvenir store, a grainy black and white picture of my two sisters leaning against the old Cutlass. My fingers dug deeper.

A postcard from one of my first friends. Two notes folded in tiny squares worn from being passed through too many hands. A silver ring – given to me from my first real boyfriend. I winced with relief when I thought about what could have happened.

Finally, my fingers felt it. Smooth - with the feel of an object that begs to be remembered. I folded my fingers around it and pulled it from the depths of the treasures. Opening my palm, I sucked back a breath as the memory of that day punched me full force in my heart.

“You earned it. Twelve verses in twelve weeks straight. This is the last prize before the big one.” Miss Joanie’s eyes shone with tears. I swallowed at the recognition and lowered my eyes to the worn oak floor. I had one more verse to memorize. She said it was the most important one of all - the one that would lead me to a new life. I closed my fingers around the prize.

When I settled into the Olds that Sunday after church, I couldn’t wait to show my family what I had earned. Dad was in one of his moods and Mother was acting too quiet. I looked at my sisters. Both seemed unusually still. Something was wrong.

Mother turned in her seat. “Girls, we aren’t going back to that church anymore. Your father and I had a disagreement with the deacons and we don’t feel we can attend anymore. I’m sorry.” She turned back to the front and clamped her lips shut.

The bottom dropped out of my world. Only one more verse. Ms. Joanie promised she would talk with me next week about how Jesus would give me a new life. I hated my present life. I was too shy in school, too ugly for boys, and too sad when my parents fought. I needed that new life and now I would never find it.

Blinking, the lime green wallpaper flooded my vision again. Too many memories. I glanced back at the object clutched in my fist. One by one, I opened my fingers and gazed at the tiny cross that lay in my hands. It was still faintly green – its yellow tassel dangling from the top. Flicking off the nightstand light, I watched it glow in my hand. Miss Joanie had told me that Jesus shines for me just like this cross glows in the darkness. After that last Sunday, I’d held the tiny plastic cross in my hand for two weeks. Eventually it found its home in my box.

I flicked the light back on and turned the cross over to read the raised inscription on the back. John 8:12* The green cover of the new testament I carried as a child appeared on top of my pile. It took some time, but eventually I found the verse. It wasn’t one I had memorized yet - I wondered if this was the last one - the verse that would have given me new life. I wiped my tears. It was.

“…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV*

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This article has been read 1165 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Pat Guy 08/24/06
Wow! This was great - brought tears to my eyes - so believable. Great writing!
Birdie Courtright08/25/06
Wonderful! It brought tears to my eyes. I still have my little new testament from 40 years ago, given to me by a special teacher. It's a story I 'll write one day...thanks for writing yours. It's an awesome work.
Steve Uppendahl08/26/06
Wow. Outstanding job. You've done a great job of tugging at the heartstrings with vivid description and emotional writing.

One small typo in your first sentence "there is was", I'm guessing should be there "it" was. Still, a wonderful story and very well written.
Marilyn Schnepp 08/27/06
Nicely done, and it brought back memories of that old shoe box - the one most of us have tucked away somewhere...thanks for sharing. I loved it.
Jan Ackerson 08/28/06
Great phrase--"an object that begs to be remembered."

Really nice story, it brought back lots of memories.
Ann FitzHenry08/28/06
This is really beautiful! What a wonderful story! I was digging in the box right along with you. Excellent writing. It "glows!" :-)
Ed VanDeMark08/28/06
I suspect that this is a real event in your life. It clearly shows a childs heart ache when adults get overly emotional about technical or doctrinal differences of opinion. An important message about what is most important. Thanks.
T. F. Chezum08/28/06
Great story. Excellent descriptive writing.
Edy T Johnson 08/29/06
I love this writer's style. Your words flow so naturally, each step of your narrator's journey hinting at something more. A reader is helpless to resist, just carried along to the end. I can think of nary a suggestion to offer. Good job. [I still love those little glow-in-the-dark crosses, too!]
william price08/29/06
A very beautiful story written from a tender and true heart. I enjoyed it very much. It reminded of my Sunday School days. I enjoyed the time I spent reading this. God bless.
Sandra Petersen 08/29/06
My heart resonates with memories after reading this. This reminded me of my childhood: "I was too shy in school, too ugly for boys, and too sad when my parents fought. I needed that new life". I imagine this would evoke the same feelings from other women who thought themselves too shy, too ugly, too sad when they were children.

I could picture in my mind the entire piece from beginning to end. You did a wonderful job! This should place well!
Joanne Sher 08/29/06
What a beautifully painted story - the details were so vivid and true - I felt transported back with her. Wonderful job!
Valora Otis08/29/06
The vivid imagery in this piece tugged at my heart. I was with you every step of the way. Masterful writing my friend. You really got to me. This is a two kleenex story. God Bless.
Trina Courtenay08/30/06
Shivers, tears, the true message of the cross, going through that old shoe box...this is perfect from begining to end - a pure delight to read. Oh and one more thing - WOW, Awesome Piece.
Laurie Glass 08/30/06
You drew me in and held my attention throughout. This is an awesome story with great descriptions.
Edy T Johnson 09/01/06
Just a note to thank you, too, Terri, for your comment on my "cross" entry. I sure appreciate you!