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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)

TITLE: A Whole Lot Of Love
By Sara Harricharan
12/05/07


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Some days I should stay asleep.

There is no way I should be the one standing here.

Opening the front door and greeting every hopeful and tired face who could drag themselves to the Tio’s Small Group tonight.

She’s too sweet, too soft and too hopeful.

Why do I have to be her daughter?

I’ve got one tenth of the heart she had. She’s my only soft spot.

Which is why I’m here heading up her group tonight.

I hope I can fake this long enough.

“Megan!” Mrs. Jones smile is bright in spite of her sad eyes. “I’m so glad to see you and how is Tio?”

“Mother is fine.” I say, holding the door open. “Come on in.”

Mom’s updates replay in my head.

Mrs. Jones is getting divorced from her banker husband of twelve years because he was cheating on her.

How do I help someone like that?

Mrs. Jones crushes me in a welcome hug. I try not to inhale her coat fuzz as I hug her back.

She sniffles.

Oh Sugar Snap.

“Mrs. Jones?”

“I’m fine.” She tells my shoulder. “You don’t know how much it means to me to be able to come here every week.”

A fresh round of tears break the floodgates.

I pat her shoulder awkwardly until she can compose herself.

She pulls away, eyes sparkling with unshed pain. “Thank you.” She whispers. “I’d better go freshen up.”

By the time I think to hurry after her, the others trail into the living room.

There are careful greetings, none as smothering as Mrs. Jones’.

I think I am failing the one important test of my life.

There is Ken Douglas.

Ken is suffering from a heart condition that he can’t bear to break to his cancer-riddled wife. The doctor bills are piling up, he can’t afford the operation his wife would insist on.

Marian Lovesworth. Her left arm is in a cast.

Marian survived a holdup at the grocery store, with one shot to her left shoulder.

Allison Cooby, three earrings in each ear and a smile coated in sugar-candy pink.

Allison finally broke up with her abusive boyfriend, but she’s pregnant.

I wonder if this is prayer group or a crisis center.

“Hello.” My voice squeaks. I clear my throat. “Sorry. Hello. I’m Tio’s daughter, Megan. I know you all must miss her. She uh, is doing well now, thank you, the stroke was not serious. Thankfully, she will be home next week, I really don’t think I’m cut out for this sort of thing.”

Allison giggles nervously.

“There’s not a whole lot to be cut out for, Miss Megan.” Ken drawls. “It’s jest talkin’ to the Lord, straight from the heart.”

A smile is summoned to my face. “Of course. Now uh, how exactly did, Moth-I mean, Tio, do this?”

“We hold hands and whisper.” Marian volunteers. Her face is so pale her freckles look painted.

She extends her hand.

Everyone begins to shift and shuffle as hands are joined and Brad Mason takes my other hand.

Marian begins the first prayer. “Dear Heavenly Father, I cannot thank you enough for being with me this week. I was so scared, I thought I was going to die, thank you for being with me through that. Even in the hospital …”

Ken picked up. “Father, yes, thank you for Marian’s safety and healing. Please give me the courage as Lillian and I face these trials before us. I do not ask you to take them away if it is not your will, but I as for the strength and the love to endure it…” His voice cracks.

“And Daddy, thank you for keeping a roof over my head.” Allison sniffles. “Especially for this little nightmare that you’ve turned into a miracle. I didn’t know you had so many angels to help me.”

“Father, we also ask your blessing and healing upon Tio and her daughter, Megan. Thank you for helping her to carry on while her mother cannot-”

Brad’s voice fades away in the fresh tears that are streaming down my face. I guess I do have mother’s heart after all.

There are no hypocrites here.

Just honesty…and a whole lot of love.


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This article has been read 1242 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 12/07/07
Very nice descriptions in here. Thank you for sharing about this one home group.
Laury
Marita Vandertogt12/07/07
Good flow of the story ending in a change in the MCs heart. So many people with hurting lives like the ones you describe. Thank God for the support of small groups.
Dee Yoder 12/09/07
Honesty and warmth-that's a good small group picture. Great characters and dialogue!
Jan Ackerson 12/10/07
Very good! This young woman became so real to me! And I broke out in a big grin over "Oh sugar snap." Three words that just seem to capture the essence of her personality.
Patty Wysong12/10/07
I loved being inside the MC and I loved the change when they were praying.
Yvonne Blake 12/10/07
RED PEN: My suggestion is to cut most of the beginning and jump right into her remembering her mom's updates, with self comments interspersed. Then, when she introduces herself to the group, the reader finds out why she is greeting everyone. I like the ending.
Patty Wysong12/10/07
(I just saw you in the Red Pen District, LoL.)
Red Pen: The 3rd phrase felt disjointed to me until I tacked it onto the previous line and understood that Tio was a person, her mother specifically. Once I understood that the confussion cleared right up. Like I said earlier, I loved being inside the MC's head and seeing her personality from that angle. 'Remembering' Mother's updates like that added a lot to the story. Hearing them pray brought out the depth and compassion--I really liked this, even the first part, which I felt really brought out her personality.
Temple Miller12/11/07
I liked a lot about this story: great dialogue, great descriptions, and great heart. Very, nice!
Lynda Schultz 12/11/07
The best way to minister is to open yourself up to ministry. That's small group at it's best. Well done.
LauraLee Shaw12/12/07
I loved your beginning sentence. It draws people in, because we all wake up and have those days. This is filled with warmth and excellence. Good job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/12/07
I thought the way you continued with the information about each person through the prayers was done excellently. This is quite realistic and well done.
Tim Pickl12/12/07
I love the thoughts to herself in the beginning -- it sets up the story and the wonderful ending. Her perception of her small heart definitely grew--as God opened the eyes of her heart! Excellent writing!
Loren T. Lowery12/12/07
I liked the way this piece unfolded and showed the reader how, by trusting God and following your heart, you can help others in their faith, allow for healing and find it for yourself as well. Well done!
Sheri Gordon12/12/07
A beautiful picture of a home group. You made your characters so real in such a short time. Great job with the topic.
LaNaye Perkins12/12/07
I fell in love witht he MC and her compassion. Your charactors were so real, and you wrote so well. I felt like I was right there in the room with them.