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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)

TITLE: Nuthouse Evangelism
By Lisa Holloway


"You do realize that if you all succeed in your plot to drive me completely insane, I won't be available to buy you groceries, drive you anywhere, or take care of you in any form or fashion, don't you?" Lorena was only mildly twitchy as she drove her 15-year-old to play practice after a mega-day of putting out fires and organizing people and dogs who not only didn't want to be organized, but seemed intent on bogging her down in their separate issues and creating the maximum of messes along the way.

"No," he replied (succinct, as ever).

"So did you have a replacement in mind for when I'm bouncing around my rubber room? Or did you just not think it through that far and figured you'd simply enjoy the fun of making me nuts before constructing Phase 2 of the plan?" she asked.


They were getting nowhere. The truth was that he had no idea what it was like to live in his mother's world, and she didn't have much more of a clue about his. Life moved so fast these days, and the temptations that always existed were so much more accessible now--like the condom he got at school, the online porn, all the kids who spent their evenings and sometimes their nights home alone--that is alone except for their friends, girlfriends, and the booze they brought over.

But I had a lot more restraint. No really! I did, she thought. Then she remembered her old diary, safely hidden from mortal eyes in a ziplock bag at the bottom of the laundry bin--you know, where people would have to actually Do Laundry in order to find it. Just last week she had read back through some of those pages from long ago, completely perplexed by her own decision-making process.

Well, maybe I did have more self-control than Jesse does, but I still did my share of stupid things. Somehow the thought gave Lorena comfort, and a hope that maybe someday Jesse would "grow out of it" too.

Still, she was worried. If Jesse was a virgin, as he claimed, what did he need with a condom? Why did he seem to hunger for darkness, violence, and shock? Why did he lie and sneak around over and over? Why did he block out the people who loved him? And why, oh why, had he and his friend played that "game" of cuts, intentionally maiming themselves to test their pain tolerance? Given his negative attitude toward emotionally-motivated cutting, she had thought he was too smart for that.

Nothing they did--no punishment, no conversation, no attempts to work with him to find solutions to problems he would not help them define--nothing seemed to make a difference. His friends were his world, and they were not the kind of friends out to make him a better person. Lorena couldn't help but feel that everything they did only attempted to treat the symptoms and not the cause.

He had never said it, but she suspected he had rejected the faith of his family in favor of worldly "wisdom" and the militant secularism that infused everything from his education to the media with which he was saturated. It was time to address the root cause: he needed God. So many things in his life screamed the words he never let pass his lips. And she knew she had to try. There was really no one else in his life to do it.

She hated that, because she'd never been comfortable with the go-tell-it-on-the-mountain aspect of Christianity. Still, she knew if she didn't break out of her discomfort over sharing God with the people she cared about, Jesse might soon be lost to them. What if this was a key moment in the life of his soul? Or in her own development as a person of faith? She had been praying for his salvation; she felt that if she let this moment pass, it might not come again.

She took a deep breath. "Jesse, do you believe in Jesus? I mean, really believe?" She let the Spirit guide her through the uncomfortable sea of words to a place of absolute honesty between them. It was a beginning.

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This article has been read 779 times
Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany11/09/07
Good job!! Liked the voice - good ending:)
David Butler11/09/07
Very well written. I like the honesty and wry sense of humour, but I can hear the mother's heartbreak underneath it, too. It's soooooo true: the bottom line is that we all need Jesus - no matter how "religious" that sounds.
Every situation is unique, of course, but I wonder if it's wiser to approach her son with a different opener - one he'd relate to much more. He may still be a bit defiant / defensive from the previous comments too.
Dee Yoder 11/11/07
Well written story and perfect voice for the worried mother. Succinct is definitely the right description of teens at this age, too. I enjoyed this entry very much.
Gregory Kane11/11/07
A great insight into the cultural and social worldview of the modern teen. I loved the honesty of the mother and the way you used her diary to remind the reader that none of us is beyond reproach.
I was a little disappointed with the ending in that the boy wasn’t given an opportunity to respond. After all, he could simply have shrugged his shoulders and said, “Dunno.” Perhaps you could have placed ‘It was a beginning’ after his tentative response, so as to give the conclusion more of a punch.