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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)

TITLE: Wonder Working Power
By Betty Castleberry


Henry’s cane clicked along the tile floor as he made his way to the only empty chair. He eased his heavy frame down into the seat. The man sitting next to him folded his arms, looked in the other direction, and harrumphed loudly.

Henry retorted, “Shut up, Ted.”

Iva squinted her eyes at the two and shook her head. “Going to be trouble.”

Miss Joyce called for their attention. “Pastor Evans is here. Let’s begin.”

The pastor stood before the group and started reading scripture. A few listened, some mumbled to no one in particular, and some slept.

Ted’s bony elbow brushed against Henry. Henry snapped his arm out of the way and boomed, “Keep to yourself.”

Ted challenged Henry with a stare. “You old coot. I was here first.”

Nobody was listening to the pastor. All eyes were on the ensuing battle.

Iva stifled laughter. “You might as well separate those two, Miss Joyce. There won’t be much of a church service if you don’t.”

Pastor Evans cleared his throat uncomfortably. Miss Joyce approached the two just as Henry yanked the blanket from Ted’s lap.

Ted balled up his fist, and Miss Joyce intervened just in time. She pushed Ted’s wheelchair to the opposite side of the room.

Iva continued to snicker and poked a sleeping woman next to her. “Happens all the time. You miss too much when you sleep all day.”

Miss Joyce addressed the group. “Let’s allow Pastor Evans to continue.”

The pastor had just started to speak again when an eerie groaning sound came from Ted. His head lolled to one side in an unnatural position, and his eyes were closed.

Miss Joyce ran to him. “We need a nurse here.”

The nurses worked over him furiously. A few minutes later, Henry watched as the ambulance took Ted away.

They were served beef stew that night, but Henry didn’t have much of an appetite. Usually he liked the chunks of beef in the rich brown gravy. Normally he picked out the peas, but ate the potatoes and carrots. The stew had little appeal to him, and he left it on his plate. The nurse’s aide looked at him questioningly when she took his tray away.

He had a restless night. Visions of ambulances driving through rivers of beef stew invaded his dreams. He woke suddenly and saw that it was not yet daylight.

Instinct urged him out of bed. He retrieved his cane and walked to Ted’s room. The bed was still made, the covers pulled taut.

There was nothing for him to do but return to his room. He went back to bed and slept a restless sleep.


A few days later, an ambulance pulled up in front of the automated doors. The residents watched as a gurney wheeled by, carrying Ted.

Iva pointed at Henry. “Your enemy is back.”

Henry followed the gurney down the hall to Ted’s room. The staff pushed the door shut, but Henry could hear part of what they were saying. He caught the word “stroke.” A nurse talked of how Ted was unable to speak and would need speech therapy if he was ever to speak again.

He waited outside of Ted’s room. Shortly, all the medical personnel left, leaving the door to Ted’s room wide open.

Henry looked in. Ted was lying in the bed, staring up at the ceiling. Henry entered the room cautiously. His feuding partner turned his head slightly and watched as Henry sat down beside his bed.

They sat in silence for several minutes before Henry leaned forward. “You know the Lord, Ted. You‘ve got to trust him now.”

Ted stared backed.

“Talk to me, Ted. I know you can talk to me. Come on, you ornery old man.”

Ted looked blank.

“Let’s sing. You like to sing.” Henry barked out a hymn. “There is pow’r, pow’r, Wonder working pow’r.”

He stopped and touched Ted’s hand. “Sing with me. You know the song. You can do it.

“In the blood of the Lamb.”

The stroke victim twisted his mouth and moved his jaw slightly.

Henry nodded and motioned to him, coaxing him to sing. “There is pow’r, pow’r, Wonder working pow’r.”

“In the blood of the lamb.”

Ted mouthed the words. A faint grunt escaped his lips.

Henry smiled. “That’s the way, you old geezer.”

*Song lyrics from “There is Power in the Blood” by Lewis E. Jones

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This article has been read 1022 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sheri Gordon11/15/07
This is really sweet. I can picture the two old men singing that song. What a wonderful picture of encouragement this is.
Lynda Schultz 11/15/07
Great story. I love the "Grumpy Old Men" scenario.
william price11/15/07
Superb characterization. Masterful writing and presentation of your message. Excellent, I'm impressed if that means anything. God bless.
Joanne Sher 11/16/07
Wonderful characterization and detail. You put me right there - and I love the ending.
Jan Ackerson 11/18/07
Excellent characterization and such poignant writing!
Beth LaBuff 11/18/07
Loved the exchanges between Henry and Ted. I could see the meeting at the nursing home. Great story and nicely written.
Deborah Engle 11/18/07
Very believable setting, and very touching story. I guess by the time you reach this stage of your life, you realize not all friendships look alike.
Janice Cartwright11/19/07
A slice of life as it really happens. No matter what the circumstances or methods employed, encouragement is always a thing of beauty.
Patty Wysong11/19/07
This brought tears and laughter--Excellent!! I could so easily see those two, from beginning to end. I love it!! Hugs!
Sharlyn Guthrie11/19/07
Excellent characterizations! Excellent crafting of this touching story, as well. Love the words of the hymn woven in.
Mariane Holbrook 11/19/07
This is quite beautiful. The dialog is very realistic and the setting is very familiar to me because my mother lived in such a facility for 16 years. You've painted a very poignant picture of a very sensitive subject. Good job!
Yvonne Blake 11/20/07
There is power in the bond between Christian friends. This is so touching...loved it!
Dee Yoder 11/21/07
Oh, this made me happy and sad at the same time. Since my Dad's in a Nursing home, I see so many seniors like these two; and your story is a fine example of the bonds and friendships they make with each other under these trying circumstances. Good writing and great characters.
Laury Hubrich 11/21/07
These was wonderfully sad and encouraging. I liked your two MC's. Great job!
Sara Harricharan 11/21/07
I liked this and yes your title is true, there is "Wonder working power" Good charactization and dialouge. Very realistic, with a great ending.
Loren T. Lowery11/21/07
I liked the honesty of the characters straight away and the way it carried the story. Our sincere love for others helps us to find the ways to truly encourage them.
LaNaye Perkins11/21/07
I love your all your writing, and especially this piece. This one brought tears to my eyes. Well done my friend!