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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sunday School (10/25/07)

TITLE: Decision Time
By Deborah Engle


A soft breeze whispered through the leaves of the birch trees around him, bringing to life the dappled shadows at his feet. Lupine and maidenhair fern joined in the dance, beckoning him further into the wooded retreat. In the distance he heard the sound of waves gently slapping the lakeshore. Ah, yes, this could be the place he was looking for.

Sitting down on a log by the water’s edge, Warren took in the view and allowed his spirit to rest in the tranquility of his surroundings. A small fishing boat bobbing along out towards a tiny island was about the only activity he saw aside from a few swimmers on a remote beach. Even on a holiday weekend in the middle of summer, this private lake allowed no high-powered motor boats or noisy jet skis. What an unexpected treasure he had come upon, and oh, how welcome it would be.

His recent promotion had come with greater responsibility but the financial compensation made up for that. Still, he realized he needed a place to get away. Could he make it work? The comfortable and inviting cabin was only a couple of years old, increasing the appeal of the property, but also adding to the price. Lost in thought, he missed the luminescent colors and the gentle humming of the dragonfly that hovered for a moment above the water before resuming its stop and go, zigzag journey. Only the distant sound of a church bell brought him back to reality. As the initial tolling of the bell gave way to the melody of long forgotten hymns, Warren listened, in awe of the unexpected offering. By the time he had heard What A Friend, Sweet By and By, and Whisper a Prayer, he was completely enchanted. Standing to search out the source of his pleasure, he spotted a small white church, complete with bell tower and steeple, on the far shore of the lake.

How long had it been since he had heard those songs? His earliest memories included attending Sunday school faithfully. His little boy innocence had embraced the love of the teachers and the excitement of the different activities. He had been a willing participant during the song service and remembered Mrs. Daniels, his first grade Sunday school teacher, smiling at his unabashed enthusiasm.

Finally the music came to an end, but Warren’s mind was still in the past. He could see a Sunday school program from long ago, to be presented before the whole church. Angela had the important part – and why not? She was pretty and smart and well behaved. Warren was chosen as a back up, but he didn’t give it much thought, sure that Angela already knew the part. To his dismay, she got stage fright and refused to come to church that day. After 10 minutes of cramming, he hesitantly took his place on the platform and stumbled through the chapter. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He leadeth me beside the still waters....He restoreth my soul: ...He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake...” What came next? “Um... I will fear no evil: for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff they comfort me... He restoreth my soul...Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.” He knew it wasn’t right, but everyone was smiling, and Mom had told him he did fine.

Absent-mindedly he wandered back over to the log and sat down again. Other memories clamored for his attention and many of his favorite teachers began to reintroduce themselves to him. Mr. Smalley in the junior department - once you were in his class you were fair game for his practical jokes. Beginning junior high, Mr. Sanchez and Mr. Smith had challenged him to study the scriptures. In the high school department, Mr. and Mrs. Russell had taught him the value of prayer. All good memories, and Warren wondered why he had allowed himself to wander away from something that had been so good to him.

The chill of the evening began to set in and he roused himself. As the setting sun cast its reflection across the water, Warren made two decisions. He would make an offer on this property first thing Monday morning but before that, he promised himself, he would be at that little white church for Sunday School in the morning.

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This article has been read 764 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/01/07
There is lovely imagery in the descriptions in this story, and the memories leading to right decisions are well told.
Therese Witkus11/05/07
The beautiful setting and the quiet reflection of meaningful times bring a peace of heart along with the message.
Lynda Schultz 11/06/07
Lovely description, both of the scene and of the trip down memory lane. Nice job.
Betty Castleberry11/07/07
Absoutely gorgeous description. You literally painted a picture with words. I like you r MC's reminiscing, too. Very well done.
Joy Faire Stewart11/07/07
Oh, I enjoyed the vivid descriptions in this piece. Excellent writing!
Brenda Welc11/07/07
Oh my! What a descriptive way you have with words. I was so engrossed in this I did not want to leave. Great writing!
Sheri Gordon11/07/07
This is very soothing to read. I love "watching" the memories happening. You use lovely words to describe the scene. Nice job.
Peter Stone11/07/07
What a touching, peaceful story, well done.
Helen Dowd11/16/07
Good look back on times of old when we were young and Sunday school was simple and something to look forward to each week. I could relate to all those things you talked about - the scripture memorization, the hymns, good old fashioned hymns. I am glad you told of coming back to the Sunday school of old in the old country church. Very interesting.