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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: The Ladder
By Cynthia Hinkle


The question seemed odd, but necessary. “Do you know me?” Mr. C asked Sammy.

Months before, my son Sammy followed Mr. C around for two days. He chatted on and on as the sub-contractor filled and sanded nail pops on the interior walls of our new home. When Mr. C built our composite deck, my son shadowed him like a puppy, no barks, or whimpers, just a stream of questions.

One icy November day I waited for Sammy to return home from school. I expected to hear him greet and bug Mr. C who sat atop a ladder to repaint the second-story molding. Instead, I heard frantic knocks. My daughter opened the front door, as I rushed barefoot to the balcony railing.

“Sam’s still on the bus,” the bus aide shouted. “I tried to talk to him. He’s confused.”

“Oh no! Sammy can’t be sick again!” my daughter and I cried in unison. For six years he was well; the last four years he had been weaned off all medications.

Mr. C slid down the ladder and rushed to the middle of the bus where my son sat. Quickly he calculated the racing pulse on Sammy’s neck and wrist, both clammy with sweat. He checked his eyes and tongue. “Do you know me?” the former military medic asked. My son seemed to look at him, but then his pupils rolled to the right side and down. He slumped.

Centuries before, far from home, on a desert rock pillow, a Jewish patriarch dreamed. Jacob saw angels ascend and descend on heavenly stairs with his Lord at the apex. Temples of that time or “ziggurats” had stairways the priests climbed to catch a glimpse of their deities. But Jacob didn’t need to clamber up to meet God. God was with him. And God vowed, “I will be with you and watch over you wherever you go.” That vow took into account a future wrestling match that left Jacob gimpy.

The former medic helped carry my unconscious son through the narrow bus aisle, then down to a readied stretcher and ambulance. A passenger in that ambulance I felt fear and faith wrestle within me. Fear tried to bind me in despair. Sweet Jesus and faith reminded me that a rescue ladder and rescuers were on hand for my child . . . and for me.

For parents, confused, confounded by children who’ve grown distant from the faith—-realize, by faith, the rescue ladder is in place. For confused, concerned adults with parents who linger in the hospice of soul unbelief--understand the eternal Medic is here. He measures heartbeats, peers into eyes, listens, and asks, “Beloved, do you know me?”

He’s scribbled the answer, a prescription script from Isaiah 46:4:

“I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

No palliative for symptoms, this is a promise to ever be our cure, the Ladder, and Lifesaver.

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Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood08/23/07
A beautifully written and ntriguing story. Vivid descriptions that made the action and characters come alive. Interesting analogy between the present situation and the account of Jacob--though the abrupt transition confused me at first.

The story left me curious as to Sammy's condition. What made him sick on the bus? It brought to mind the insulin reactions sometimes suffered by my diabetic mother.

Great title--this also sparked my curiosity!
Joy Faire Stewart08/24/07
Your reader feels the anguish of the mother in your writing. Your descriptions are excellent.
Dee Yoder 08/28/07
Your title is so catchy, I just had to drop by and see what it was about! Your story sure is intriguing, and I would love to know how it all turned out. I would guess, by the scripture reference, that what matters is the trust in God to stand by His word to be with us, no matter what the circumstances. Good story!