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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: Winter’s Edge
By Randy Chambers


Times had been better than we thought. We had grown so accustomed to the comfort and ease of our lives that we had failed to see what we really had. In fact, many of us had complained that things were actually bad. But there were so very few of us who understood what ‘bad’ really was.

Those who as adults had endured the great depression were all but gone, and what they had experienced seemed like a work of fiction to read about. There was no one around who could really identify with their hard times; no one who really wanted to think about it long enough to imagine the unimaginable--that such times could reemerge.

Ours was a time of two cars in every garage, and two TVs in every home. We squandered our excess on fast-food, comfortable living and entertainment. We became a people who lived for, longed for, and came to expect our creature comforts. The line between luxuries and entitlements blurred. Our cups overran. But rather than put away for the winter, we simply closed our eyes and hoped winter would pass us by. We were like so many toddlers, believing that as long as we covered our eyes, no one else could see us. We gave little thought to the coming reality that the lifestyle we enjoyed would soon fade.

And so, we were faced with a choice. We could continue on pretending winter will pass by once more. Or we could prepare for the inevitable. But even as clear as the choices sometimes seem, they are seldom as black and white as it first would appear.

As people began to take notice of the coming winter, the responses varied. Some people panicked, started hoarding, and constructed personal fortresses to keep out their neighbors. Others shrewdly dissected the events, looking for opportunity to make a buck. Still others, as always seems to be the case, decided that all could be resolved by discussing it at length.

There were some, however, who turned to the grace of God, and clung to His Word and His wisdom. It was they who seemed to have discovered the path that would take them through the winter. Sure, they were not exempt from hard times, but so many of them held in their eyes a spark of hope that refused to be extinguished. I wasn’t sure where I fit into all of this, but it seemed good to me to follow this group. They weren’t perfect, and they couldn’t answer all my questions. But their hope was to me like some distant lighthouse guiding me to safe passage. And that was something I found nowhere else.

A drastic turn of events always brings out the finger-pointers, looking for somewhere to place the blame. “How could this have happened?” and “Whose responsible?” I use to sing in that chorus. At the beginning of the recession, when I could no longer do things like take my family out to eat, I began to search like all the others. My lifestyle had been disturbed and it seemed reasonable that someone should be made to compensate all of us.

It seems now we all would love to turn back the hands of time, change our course, and make better decisions. Suicides, substance abuse and crime are on the rise. Churches are full again, prayer lists are massively long, and the faces of attendees are mostly filled with pain. But the ones with hope are doing what they can to encourage the rest.
“We are where we are,” they say, “We cannot change what has been, but we can find in Jesus what we need to live with it…and get through it.”

It is truly useless to lay blame, or lament ourselves into helplessness. One could wonder what we could have done with all we had before we were on the outskirts of our winter’s edge. We could wonder what things would look like if instead of wasting our excess on fleeting fun and sparkly trinkets, we might have sought God on what to do with our abundance. But, again, we are where we are. We may not be able to change what has been, but it is certain we can work toward what will be. And should we choose to let God’s spark be in us, perhaps it will spread and bring light to our world no matter how dark our times--or how desperate things seem to be here at our winter’s edge.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sally Hanan02/14/08
Well-written, albeit a bit depressing. It does highlight what a difference hope can look like in contrast to blame.
Patty Wysong02/16/08
It's that Light of Christ shining through giving hope. The contrast was good, showing the hope even more.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/18/08
A sobering piece, but laced with wisdom and even better, hope.