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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera (02/14/08)

TITLE: Waiting for the Knock
By Joy Faire Stewart


Elena smiled as she watched Katie twist strands of auburn curls around her index finger, like she had done since she was a little girl, lost in thought. Her daughter sat at the old kitchen table where they had shared so many memories.

Had it been only yesterday when the aching loss had shattered their lives?

“Deacon Thomas called to say he is coming by today with something important to tell us. He was the last person to talk with your dad,” Elena said softly.

Although Justin, her husband, had insisted she and Katie leave the hospital to get some rest, Elena wished with all heart, they had stayed.

Suddenly, Katie’s countenance seemed to glow.

“Do you think Dad told Deacon Thomas...maybe he...could he have...?”

Cupping her daughter’s hands in her own, Elena looked into the hopeful eyes that were so much like Justin’s. “‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’” She reminded Katie.

“Mom, I always have. My earliest memories are of the two of us kneeling beside your bed and praying for Dad’s safe return from the war.”

Elena smiled.

“Katie, do you remember the day we received the wooden cuckoo clock he sent to us from Germany?”

They both chuckled recalling when he returned home, he detested the noisy bird. One day it had annoyed him once too often. He took it from the living-room mantel and gave it to the man mowing the hayfield.

When I was small and would stand on the instep of Dad’s boots, we waltzed around the living-room while he whistled The Tennessee Waltz. I would like to find the old Polaroid pictures you took of us, Mom.

Elena looked wistfully at her daughter, “That was more than 20 years ago.”

Silence filled the room like the fragrance of Justin’s aftershave. Mother and daughter were lost in memories.

“I loved it when he played the harmonica,” Katie said. “Remember how he would make the sound of a freight train? I was grown before I realized he played only one song. I thought he was the most talented dad in the world.”

Then, Katie began to cry.

“Why wouldn’t Dad go to church with us? He always said ‘Not today, Angel.’” The sobs came from so deep within her soul, the words were a mere whisper.

Elena had anticipated this question for years, knowing it would eventually come. She dried her eyes with the dish towel she had been wringing in her hands, and tried to explain.

“When you were small, you and I attended All Saints Memorial Cathedral. They wouldn’t allow me to be a member of their church because I had been divorced.”

Katie blinked. “Mom, I didn’t know you had been divorced!”

“At the time, it wasn’t acceptable, and your dad made me promise not to tell you. But now, it’s something you should know. The divorce happened years before I met your dad.”

Katie gasped in disbelief. “Isn’t church supposed to be for sinners? You and I accepted Jesus as our Savior and we have been faithful members of Grace Chapel. We’ve been on mission trips. You have taught the teenage class for 14 years. I have been the organist since returning from college. Many people would say we are assets to the church.”

Elena took a deep breath.

“Your father didn’t want any part of a church that wouldn’t allow a divorced person, like me, to be a member. He would often say, ‘All Saints Memorial Cathedral’s loss was Grace Chapel’s gain.’ But the saddest part of all? A wonderful man grew to distrust organized churches. He wouldn’t let go of the resentment and anger in his heart. It festered like an abscess until he was consumed with hostility toward religion. I often tried to talk to him, but he turned a deaf ear. He hardened his heart.”

Katie looked at her mom and whispered, “Does that mean he’s not in Heaven?”

Their conversation was halted abruptly by a knock on the door. Katie placed her head in her hands and began to prayed.

As Elena made her way to the front door, her legs felt like a marathon runner trying to finish the last few yards of a race.

Later, she would not recall opening the door for Deacon Thomas, but she would never forget the miracle message, he delivered from Justin.

Matthew 21:22 KJV

The story is based on some actual events that occurred in the 1940s.
Names have been changed.


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This article has been read 814 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie Wistrom02/21/08
Great story, a lot of the details seemed personal. Thanks for sharing.
Beth LaBuff 02/22/08
Your entry is very well written and your reflections are so heartwarming. The genuine yearning for a lost family member really comes across in this.

I've always like the "Tennessee Waltz" and could just see father and daughter dancing together. Your miracle ending was very uplifting. Thank you for writing this.
Jan Ackerson 02/24/08
This has wonderful tone and mood--nostalgia, love, longing, hope...

Some missing quotation marks on the 12th paragraph threw me for a bit, but I recovered quickly...no biggie.

Perfect ending.
Lisa Graham02/26/08
Very well written story! On-topic, thought-provoking and beautifully rendered. There is rich depth to the characters and the scene as it unfolds. The writer shows a practiced eye for observation, through well written, vivid descriptions and carefully drawn characters. This piece makes the reader stop and think!
Lyn Churchyard02/27/08
Very well written. I love the dialogue between mother and daughter. Very realistic.
Well done!!
Shirley McClay 02/27/08
Very sweet story... I love this line..Silence filled the room like the fragrance of Justin’s aftershave. It made me actually breath in deeply when I read it.
Seema Bagai 02/27/08
Beautifully chosen details in this well-written piece. Good job.
Sara Harricharan 02/27/08
This gave me goosebumps just reading it! The whole story between the mother-daughter was so real, you captured that very well. I liked the line at the end with feeling like a marathon runner. That was pretty good. ^_^
Sally Hanan02/27/08
You have some nice pieces of description and dialogue here. Narrative can sometimes kill a good story. Rather than tell us what he chose, make it a memory with dialogue again so that we can be there as he turned away. This was a good interpretation of the topic.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/27/08
I loved the shared memories in this excellent story, and I loved even more the great ending.
Loren T. Lowery02/27/08
Powerful and thought provoking read and your use of symbolisms were top notch. The marathon runner, the waiting for the knock...simply tereffic!
Catrina Bradley 02/27/08
Wow - I was completely swept away. Superb!
Catrina Bradley 02/27/08
Oh, I forgot to mention how much I LOVED the ending! I wanted to applaud. :)