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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: Little Brass Bell
By Donna Powers


This pile of rubble is not our home.

Up until yesterday, this is where youíd find our house. Its four walls sheltered us and kept us warm and dry. It held our furniture and all the things weíve collected over the years. It had spaces for our TVs, our computers and our big fish tank. We decorated it with bright colors and homemade curtains. Our garden gave color and life to our tiny yard.

Now, itís all nothing but a shambles. It's a pile of mismatched scraps of lumber and bricks. The hurricane swept through our town and leveled most of the houses here. Iíve seen so many families doing just what weíre doing now: picking through the rubble to try and glean some treasures. Thereís not much left.

Yet, through my tears, I look at my family and know weíre blessed. We have our faith; we have our love and we have hope for the future. Church friends will give us a place to sleep tonight and the Red Cross brought us food. We may not have all weíd want, but God knows what we need.

Home is Ruthieís laugh, and itís Paulaís friendly smile. Home is seeing the girls dance and listening to them as they practice their spelling words. Home is prayers before bedtime and encouraging each other to follow Godís plan. Home is hugs from my husband and winking at each other when no one else is looking. Home is singing silly songs and laughing at things that no one else understands. Home is unconditional love.

Last Christmas Eve, our family sat in front of our fireplace and decorated a beautiful spruce. Snow glistened on the windows and folded itself gently onto our lawn. Christmas Carols were playing quietly in the background. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows in the fire and we told stories and laughed with each other. The flames hypnotized me as I stared into them. Hand in hand, we thanked God for His Gift of Jesus and His daily gifts to our family. To me, thatís the essence of what home is and will always be. Those connections we have, as a family, will endure no matter where we may live.

Over there, in one of the many piles, I found a little brass bell. Itís one of the many decorations we hung on our Christmas tree, over the years. We had several boxes of them but I donít see any of the others.

Why did this one survive the hurricane? I donít know. I do know I slipped it into my pocket with a smile. It will be a symbol of what we once had, and next Christmas it will be front and center on our new tree: a bridge between our past and our future.

Iíll miss the way our house and garden looked. Iíll miss the walls and the curtains and the furniture. But I know those things didnít make our house a home; and Iím thankful the Lord hasnít taken away the people who make a home with me. With His help, our true home will always be intact, within our hearts.

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This article has been read 642 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Deborah Engle 06/05/08
Beautifully written.
Seema Bagai 06/05/08
Your descriptions were vivid. I felt like I was turning the pages of a photo album as I read. Good job.
Marilyn Schnepp 06/06/08
Very well written and hits the nail on the head when it comes to The Family Home; telling it like it is. Truly a delightful and honest glimpse into the true meaning of "family home"...Kudos!
Beth LaBuff 06/06/08
Your message in this creative entry is excellent. You find out what is truly important during a crisis like this. My favorite sentence is, "Home is Ruthie's laugh, and it's Paula's friendly smile"Ö then "Home is unconditional love." Nice work on this.
Jan Ackerson 06/07/08
Your last three paragraphs are especially well done in this tender piece.
Ann Marie Lindenmeyer06/09/08
I like the way this is written and it really sends a clear message of what is most important, good job!