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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)

By Debbie Roome



I miss her. Oh, how I miss her. The flowers have withered, the phone is silent, and yet my pain is intense. I miss Helen more than I can describe. My lovely, vibrant wife, taken by a stroke.

Her clothes still hang in our wardrobe. Several times a day I bury my face in her dresses, her satiny blouses and inhale the lingering fragrance of soap and honeysuckle. Imagining that for just a moment I can hold her in my arms again.

Itís quiet this evening and nothing holds my interest. TV, radio, books, newspapers. They all seem so trivial. So empty. How can life carry on normally when my heart feels like its been wrenched from my chest, trampled on, crushed, twisted and then stitched back in? Restlessly I pace the living room. Through the sliding doors I see the view Helen loved so much. Patch-worked fields and mountains blanketed in snow, the liquid, amber sunset spilling like sauce across ice-cream.

Helen loved to sit in the spare-room and drink in the view. She said it inspired her as she read her Bible and wrote in her journals. She got religious a few months before her death. Started attending a church nearby. Iím not into it myself, but tolerated it because I loved her.

Maybe I need to go in there. Confront my demons. Move on a little. The air is slightly musty as I lower myself into her chair, feeling how the lumpy filling has molded to fit her frame. A stack of dated journals stand on the nearby bookshelf. Would Helen mind me having a look?

I gave my heart to Jesus last week. The most wonderful thing Iíve ever done. He has filled me with peace and joy in life. My new friend, Marjorie, said I should keep a prayer journal of my thoughts and experiences so here goes.

I keep reading and certain entries jump out at me.

June 24th
I pray for Mack daily. Heís not very interested in church and religion as he puts it, but he indulges me. God, please open his eyes so that he can see you and learn to love you.

August 18th
Mack and I had one of our rare arguments today. He wants me to go to a car rally with him on Sunday and I want to go to church. My attitude was wrong and Iím sorry God. Please forgive me. Iím going to apologize to Mack when he comes home. Please help him to see your love through me.

My eyes mist over. I remember the night she came and told me how sorry she was. How she wanted to come with me. I could see a new softness in her eyes, but never understood why.

October 29th
Iíve been reading about love today, God. From 1 Corinthians 13. Your love is patient, kind, not self seeking. Help me to love Mack with your love. I am so inadequate without you. I long for Mack to accept you as his savior. So that we can live this new life together. Marjorie says I must just continue to pray for him.

Tears are rolling now and I dab them with a hanky. This is a whole new dimension of Helen. I hadnít grasped how important these things were to her. Things she had tried to share with me and I wouldnít listen. How ironic that I am listening now that she is no longer here.

Itís the early hours of morning when I finish Helenís journals. Buttery moonlight tinges the skies and I imagine her sitting beside me, soaking up the tranquil scene outside. I test my emotions, dig deep to see how Iím feeling. Still grieving, bereft, raw, but somehow thereís something new in the mix. A sense of hope for myself and wonder at how God had changed Helenís life. I close my eyes and whisper a prayer.

ďIím not a praying man, God, but I think Iíd like to change that. Will You accept me and teach me the way You taught Helen?Ē

Thereís no fireworks, no explosions of joy, but there is peace. A soft, gentle peace that embraces my entire being.

A slight smile tugs at my lips. ďAnd God. Please will You tell Helen youíve answered her prayers.Ē

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/02/07
Well done! Loved the ending sentence.

My only suggestion would be to put the journal entries in italics, so that your narrator's thoughts after reading each journal entry are more clearly distinguished from Helen's words.

Very nice entry.
Kathie Thomas02/03/07
I lost the narrator's comments a little too, but got it worked out. Loved the story and could relate to it very much.
Virginia Gorg02/03/07
I like this line: Thereís no fireworks ..... Nicely done, pulled me in, and kept me reading. :)
Marilyn Schnepp 02/03/07
A beautiful, but sad story of lost love; however, but if Mack continues to read and learn - he can tell Helen himself one day, and not have to send a message. Nice write, great read, and a beautiful message.
cindy yarger02/07/07
I like this man. You've done well to share him with us. Thanks.