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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Angry (08/02/07)

TITLE: Whoever is Kind to the Needy
By Dee Yoder


As I approach the door, I see him standing there. His smile is instant and infectious. He lifts his hand and waves in a big circle, as if he were an old cowboy saying, “Howdy, partner!” White hair covers his head, and one cowlick stands at attention at the crown, like a stiff albino feather. Once I spring the lock, he sweeps open the heavy door and wraps me in a hug.

“Hey, Ornery!” he laughs.

“Hi, Dad. How’re you doing today?”

“Oh, another day older and deeper in debt!” he jokes.

“Deeper in debt, huh?”

“Yep.” He nods vigorously.

We stroll down the hall toward his room, but before we reach it, the head nurse catches my eye and gestures me over. She leans in for a whispered conference; I stiffen.

“He’s been giving us problems today.”

“Really?” I answer coolly.

“Yes. He would not co-operate with me at lunch time.”


“The doctor would like to put him on meds.”

“Yes, you told me, but I told you no. And, when I questioned the aides about his behavior, they said they’ve had no problems.”

“Well, he fights me all of the time!” she insists.

“I’ll talk to you about this later, please. I’d like to visit with Dad while he’s still alert.”

I step around her and catch up with my Dad, who has stopped to wait on me beyond the nurse’s station. I smile and take his arm, but inside, I’m steaming. The head nurse has accosted me every time I’ve come this past week. She insists my Dad needs anti-psychotic drugs for his Alzheimer’s induced behavior. In another facility, he was medicated so severely, he lost the ability to use the toilet or to speak. After a grueling de-tox and new facility, he’s beginning to recover. The nurses’ aides report that he even says “Thank you” when they help him do something. I can’t bear to think of what will happen if he’s medicated again.

We meander into his room, and I guide him to his recliner while I search the TV stand for the remote. I hand it to him, and he points it at the television. Then he rears back in his chair, props up his feet, and chuckles. He can’t find the remote, or even remember to look for it, if no one reminds him.

Andy Griffith tonight, huh, Dad?”

“Yepper! I…I…li…li… you know, that…that show.”

“You like that show? Yeah, I do, too. We’ll watch together. But, first, guess what I brought you?”

He turns his face to mine, wrinkles his nose and eyes, then grins, like he used to when I was a girl as he teased me.


”Sugar-free cookies!”

His smile stretches and he rubs his tummy.


He watches intently while I open the package, but he offers me the first cookie. Like the good Dad he was and is, he never forgets me, no matter how old I’ve gotten!

We smile at one another and sit contentedly. The black and white program elicits laughs from him, but eventually, his head nods. He’s asleep. As I always do, I cover him gently, kiss his cheek, and tiptoe from the room.

The nurse watches me leave but doesn’t attempt a conversation.

Two days later, when I return to visit, I’m immediately puzzled. Dad isn’t at the door! He isn’t sitting in the chair, waiting and watching for his special visitors. I let myself in and walk to the nurse’s station.

“Where’s Ray?” I ask the head nurse. Her smile is smug, and I’m suddenly alarmed.

“He’s sitting over there in the dining room. The doctor ordered meds for him yesterday. He was being very un-cooperative.”

I turn and see my poor Dad hunched over a table. His arms are slack in his lap, drool is dripping from his chin, and his head nods rhythmically.

“Dad?” He tries to raise his head, but he can’t, nor does he answer.

I feel instant tears; I’m shaking, and sick with betrayal. I go to him, wipe his chin, and cradle his head as my tears fall on his soft white hair.

“I’m sorry, Dad. So sorry. Oh, Dad, I love you.”

Incredibly, he’s fighting through the medicinal fog to speak.

“Deep…deep…er,” he whispers.

“Yes, Dad, I know. Deeper in debt.” I stroke his face gently.

I turn my eyes and fix a bitterly angry gaze on the nurse. Inside, I steel myself for another long fight for my Dad.

“He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14:31 NIV

Word Count: 747

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This article has been read 1307 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/09/07
This is an awesome story. Your reader shares with you your love for the Dad you describe so wonderfully and your anger because of the arrogant nurse,determined to medicate him.
Chrissi Dunn08/09/07
I can't help but wonder how many others have had similar experiences. Sometimes anger is justified, and this is a good instance of it. Well written.
Joy Faire Stewart08/09/07
Very well written story. I was angry along with the MC!
Lynda Schultz 08/10/07
My fear is that the message in your story is all too true in many cases. The anger is justified. Excellent writing and important message.
Bonnie Way08/10/07
Very good story! This raises some good points about our society's hurry to medicate over any problem. Definately a case of anger in the right place. Well done!
Michelle Burkhardt08/10/07
Great story. I was ready to punch that nurse through the screen. Nice job.
Marty Wellington 08/10/07
Great job; your dialogue had me feeling the emotions right along with you. Nicely constructed story.
Kristen Hester08/12/07
The nurse made me angry. Good writing!
Jan Ackerson 08/13/07
Wow--if the idea was to elicit anger in your readers, you sure did the trick! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr! That woman needs to be fired! Great writing, Dee!
Sheri Gordon08/13/07
Good writing. You had me right in the nursing home with you -- and angry, too. Good job with the topic.
Sharlyn Guthrie08/13/07
I like the tenderness between father and daughter expressed in this story. I would like to know the outcome of the next fight. Great writing.
Julie Ruspoli08/14/07
Wow. (I am so angry at the nurse right now.) Ufortunately this is so true and sad. The description of the father, daughter relationship was perfect. Great article.
Joanne Sher 08/14/07
Oh, you got me fuming! Excellent characterization especially. Wonderful stuff.
Loren T. Lowery08/14/07
Your emotions are so toned that the reader can feel everything...the love of the father and daughter, the anger at the nurse and the institution. It also shows the strength of the MC and her willingess to once again to take up the banner and fight for the good fight. Wonderful job.
Patty Wysong08/14/07
This is fantastic, Dee!! Your characterizations are excellent and very touching--I could feel the love for Dad and the anger at the nurse enough to want to do something drastic. Excellent job!!
Leigh MacKelvey08/14/07
Having gone through Alzheimers with my grandmother, grandfather and mother, this aricle made me cry. Please pray about having this published in a journal or a magazine serching for topics on this subject. It's a needed insight! I have no critique ... it's publishable!
Pam Carlson-Hetland08/15/07
I spend lots of time with my parents in the nursing home, not with alzheimers, though. But I understand that fighting for your parent. I agree with Leigh. Please seek to have this published. This hits a raw nerve with readers. It's excellent.
George Parler 08/15/07
Powerfully moving. Even mad me mad. Wonderful writing.
Janice Fitzpatrick08/15/07
Oh my goodness did this cause me to seethe with "righteous anger". I could sadly relate to this so much as my dad did have altzheimers and we had some major problems with a ward he was staying in. Very moving hon. Right on the money here for sure! WOW!Great job!! I would love to see this followed up with another chapter. This is definately publishable material and will speak volumes to the readers. Thx for writing this hon. Janice
Sherrie Jackson08/16/07
This made me angry AND sad. Your story, to me, was effective because we only ever saw the stable dad, just as perhaps the mean nurse only came around when he was being stubborn. On closer inspection, we can see that maybe it's not so cut-and-dried after all.

Excellent writing as always!!
Janice Cartwright08/16/07
I think you got us all on our soapbox with this one, Dee! It really makes me angry when the very old or very young, our most vulnerable are treated with contempt. I especially loved the spark you preserved when how you had the dad's human spirit fighting to emerge from the dense fog of medication. Also the close that indicated the heroine was not about to give over!! Great job~
Seema Bagai 08/16/07
Dee, you've written another amazing piece. Wow. Touching and sad.
Jacquelyn Horne08/17/07
Yes, this is enough to make one angry. Well written.
c clemons08/20/07
Dee I sent you pm and didn't hear from you so maybe you don't have pm. Anyway, just wanted to say I could relate to this because my father was in one of those places not far from you and it's very hard to forget. Be blessed.
Lisa Holloway08/23/07
Dee, this entry was perfect for the topic. I got so ANGRY just reading it. I don't know whether this is a true story, but how dare they! And how could someone who is supposed to take care of him be so smug watching him like that? Good job making the scene and the characters real.
David Butler08/24/07
It had me seething, too. Shows you have the knack of carrying the readers along on the emotional waves and drawing them right into the story. Raises awareness on important issues about the treatment of our precious elderly. Well done.