Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)
TITLE: An Unforgettable Experience
By Helen Dowd
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My husband and I looked after my uncle Bill during the last two years of his life. He was a bitter old man, and he would sit in his chair stewing about the injustices in his life: how he hated certain people, one of them being my father (his oldest brother); and how he resented his sister's husband because he felt that Grandma treated him better than she did him, her own son. We had many talks with him, telling him of God's forgiveness. Often he would grow silent, and then his look would soften. We noticed a change in him after a few months, and would catch him reading his Bible. He loved an argument, so would bring up passages from the Scripture, and we would discuss them.
It was during his last few days on this earth that I am sure he made his peace with God. And I discovered that his resentment was not toward Dad, but rather toward his next oldest brother who had died as a young man.
On the eve of his death, Uncle Bill asked me to pray with him, and to read Psalm 23. He died in my arms the next morning. To have someone die in your arms is an unforgettable experience.
This poem, "Sad Solitude", I wrote in memory of this bitter old man who found the Lord, or was restored to the Lord, very late in his life.
His life was such a weary pain.
His rising in the morning, vain:
He knew he'd not be young again.
He listened to the children play
Out on the street. They sounded gay.
But all he did was mope all day.
He thought upon his youth once more,
Remembering health and strength before.
Oh yes, life then was not a bore.
He was the master of his fate:
He could have chosen love, or hate.
Alas! He chose love, far too late.
He'd picked his options long ago.
He made few friends, but many foe.
His payment? Loneliness and woe.
He'd long forgotten how to pray,
Could not remember what to say.
In youth he'd cursed God every day.
He lived with bitterness and hate.
He didn't care about his fate.
For life to cease, he'd sit and wait.
But even death did him defy.
He could not choose the day he'd die.
That choice was left to God on high.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
He clutched the Bible in his hand.
Before his Judge one day he'd stand.
He longed that he might understand.
A light then burst upon his soul.
He cried, "Oh God, I've been a fool.
Forgive my sins and make me whole."
Into his soul at once came peace.
The turmoil of his thoughts did cease.
All hate has vanished, love increased.
He waited then for God each day.
He'd listen for his Lord to say:
"Come home, my son. Come home to stay.
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