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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Reunion (06/05/08)

TITLE: The Passionate Encounter
By Marita Thelander


Peter stared at the ceiling and caught himself forming faces from the bizarre patterns in the textured surface. He shook his head and forced himself to look elsewhere, anywhere, as long as he did not close his eyes.

Must not…close…eyes…

Flashes blinded Peter as he flew into the air, reeling out of control. He heard a thud as his body made impact with the ground. Men screamed…shots whizzed passed his head…

Peter’s body jumped involuntarily as he soaked his bed in a cold sweat. Shaken by the dream, he reached for his hand held mirror. As he examined his scarred face, he wondered if Michele would still love him. After all, he was only half a man now. His fingers left his face and found their way to the stub beneath the blanket where his left knee used to be.

“Tomorrow you fly back to the states,” the voice next to him broke into his thoughts. “Got a woman there?”


Annoyed, Peter looked away from his roommate. He thought about being reunited briefly with his wife in Washington D.C. where he will undergo extensive surgeries and physical therapy.


Exhausted from her flight, Michele stopped to compose herself outside Peter’s hospital room. She knew she loved him no matter what, but did he know that? Lord, help me be strong.

“Oh honey, I am so glad you’re okay.” Michele’s words tumbled out.

“Okay? You call this okay?” Peter pushed his wife of twelve years away and refused to even look at her, unable to remove himself from his personal grief to welcome her warm embrace.

Determined not to be offended or hurt, Michele switched gears. “I brought pictures from the kids to hang in your room.” Peter glanced her way as she fumbled in a large canvass bag. “Here are some of your favorite movies to watch, and Sarah made cookies for you.”

Michele continued to ignore Peter’s attempt to be detached while she updated him about life at home. She assured him that things would be ready for his return.


A year had passed since that horrible night in Iraq. Peter struggled with emotional flashbacks and depression. He longed to enjoy being reunited with his family, yet he felt inadequate to be the man of the house anymore.

Glued to his recliner, he stared blankly at the T.V. Life went on without him, and he willfully chose to let it.

“Honey,” Michele asked cautiously, “Will you go to church with us tomorrow?”

Peter had avoided church since he had been home. He knew his family loved him unconditionally, yet his church family…for some reason he didn’t want to be around them.

The look in Michele’s eyes abruptly melted a large chunk of Peter’s iced over heart. He simply nodded as he broke the eye contact and stared at the T.V. again.

The next day, it took great effort on Peter’s part to walk as straight and natural as possible. If anyone noticed his limp, they did not draw attention to it.

“Peter,” Pastor hugged him. “Welcome home, man.”

The genuine welcome he received from old friends eased his discomfort as he slid into the seat next to his wife. From the moment the service started, Peter could not take his eyes off his wife. He knew she had become excited about her walk with the Lord while he had been in Iraq. He had seen a genuine joy in her, a different love than before.

Worship seemed to come alive in Peter that morning. He had no memory of music affecting him this way before. Hands were raised all around him. He had never been one to lift his hands in worship. Gradually he lifted one hand…then the other. Slowly he relaxed and became lost in the expectant atmosphere.

A warm sensation spread over his cold heart as salty tears slid down his face. Anger, bitterness and self-pity began to drip away as joy, love, and forgiveness filled the gaps. A miracle had taken place right there in his seat as the Holy Spirit nudged him back to a right relationship with God.

Later that evening, Michele walked past Peter in his recliner. He reached out and took her hand. He had not instigated any form of contact in a long time. Gently, he pulled her into his lap.

“I’ve missed you, Peter.” Michele’s heart beat passionately as Peter freely gave her the love and affection she had longed to encounter…reunited at last.

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This article has been read 624 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Holly Westefeld06/13/08
The tenderness with which you unfold this story is excellent. Similar scenarios must play themselves out across the US, and not all with the knowledge of the undergirding of Christ's love.
LauraLee Shaw06/15/08
This must have been difficult to write in 750 words, but you did so excellently. Your tender and happy ending gave me a lump in my throat.
Jan Ackerson 06/15/08
Wonderful story, very moving.
Chely Roach06/15/08
This was so beautiful and tender...so very well done. Wow.
Lyn Churchyard06/16/08
Wonderfully touching story.Marita. The scene in church and the emotions portrayed were extremely moving. Well done, very well done indeed :- )
Mariane Holbrook 06/16/08
You did a very good job with this piece! I hope you place with it!
Joanne Sher 06/16/08
So moving, Mari - you really nailed the emotions especially. Very good!
Colin Swann06/17/08
Very meaningful - Thanks
LaNaye Perkins06/17/08
Oh my gosh, I need to run for the kleenex. You made me cry, but it was a good cry. This is definately up there with my favorites this week. Great writing my friend!
Beckie Stewart06/17/08
Once again, you have written a touching and wonderful story. Great job.
Debbie Wistrom06/17/08
Wonderful off base, but right on entry for topic. Everything about this rang true to me.

Thanks for sharing this tender tale.
Helen Dowd06/18/08
This has GOT to be a winner. It certainly brought tears to MY eyes. What a sacrifice this man made, and what devotion his wife had to believe that his inner LIFE would be restored. I have a small feeling for what the man must have gone through, losing his limb. My husband has also lost a limb a year ago. Only occasionally do I detect his depression, but I know it lies under the surface...Oh, how I love your story....Helen
Tessy Fuller06/18/08
I felt the passion! Very moving. So glad you threw your brick so I didn't miss this one. This was one of those entries I wish there had been no word limit on.
Sara Harricharan 06/18/08
What an encounter! There is such a story here, I'm glad I didn't miss it! The ending was my absolute favorite part of this piece! Simply wonderful! (and have you thought about a tissue warning?) Nicely done! ^_^
Karen Wilber06/18/08
Touching story. You kept the energy going throughout--anger, fear, love, surrender. The ending was great. Well done.
Gerald Shuler 06/18/08
Every story you write is better than the last one. Great story this week.
Catrina Bradley 06/18/08
Oh, so special - yes I see the layers of reunion, and I love it. What a fabulous ending, too. Great work!
Joshua Janoski06/19/08
Very emotional writing. I had tears in my eyes by the end of it. It wasn't just the reunion with his wife that moved me - it was his encounter with God.