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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)

TITLE: Putting Your Mind to it - With God's Help
By Petra van der Zande
07/30/08


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It was a perfect spring day with a gentle breeze. A few clouds drifted in the blue sky which made the scenery even more picturesque.
The painter found a secluded spot next to some steps leading towards the Old City. He set up his easel and other items needed for his project.
The young artist focused his attention on the picture-perfect scenery before him and began to sketch the outlines. He was so engrossed in his work that a sudden voice made him jump.

“What are you doing?” The woman peered over his shoulder to the sketch and then compared it with the real picture. She sniffed derisively.

The painter forced himself not to say that she was stating the obvious. “I’m trying to concentrate on my painting.” Carefully, he erased the jolt-mark.

“Oh. Good luck!” The woman got the message and left.

People on their way to work passed by the painter. Some just looked, others made nasty remarks, but a few complimented and encouraged him.
He tried to remember the instructions from his art-classes and gave the sketch all his attention.
“Well, lookey here, honey! A real painter!” An American voice drawled.

The young man grinned at the tourists. The heaving man wiped his brown and leaned against the stone wall.

“You have stuff for sale?” The wife perspired less. “My granddaughter wants a real Jerusalem painting.”

“Well, actually, I have some at home.” The young man looked at the couple. “I’m just an ordinary artist who paints for fun. My paintings aren’t expensive.”

The woman squinted at the sketch. “Seems well enough to me.” She looked questioningly at her husband, who nodded while taking a swig from his water bottle. “You have a business card or something?”

They exchanged names and addresses on a piece of scrap paper. The artist promised to come to their hotel so they could choose from his finished pieces.

After the couple left, the elated young man found it difficult to fix his attention on the drawing. Besides, a steady stream of tourists now began to file past. Even though he hoped it might land him some more sales, he knew that lack of concentration could have the opposite effect.
Even though he always tried to steel himself against nasty remarks from passersby, in the end they always managed to pierce a hole in his armor. He preferred to remember the encouragements.
Whistling a happy song, and thanking God for this unexpected meeting, the young man picked up his painter’s items and went home.


It was now or never! The woman knew she had to grasp this golden opportunity.
The children were at school, there were no appointments, and household chores could wait. Those rare, few hours of “nothing” were precious, thus she installed herself behind her computer and asked God to give her the words to write.
The ideas began to flow.
With single-mindedness the words appeared on the screen in a steady rhythm. Like she had been taught, she clustered some ideas, which gave her even more material to write about. A hopeful thought appeared. Perhaps she even would be able to finish the article today!
Her cell-phone rang.
She had been so deep in thought that her hands jolted on the keyboard. Annoyed at the intrusion she hoped it wasn’t about the children.
Relieved, she went back to her article.
Now she had to rack her brains to get back into the flow of the story. She knew that only during the morning hours she would be able to give it all her attention. The moment the children arrived home there would be constant interruptions, making intense mental application impossible.
She sighed and read what she had written so far. It wasn’t too bad, but still needed lots of editing and fine-tuning. At least the foundations were well established.

Without further interruptions the writer finished her article. She applied the techniques she learned from the writer’s course, printed a draft and then edited some more.
She was tempted to send out the finished product immediately, but heeded the advice from her writing teacher, and let it breathe a few days.

“How was your morning?” Her husband kissed her.

“Fantastic!” The mother/writer beamed. “My brain is still spinning from concentrating so hard, but I did it! It took an all-out effort, but I’ve noticed that when I put my mind to it, God helped me to make it happen!”


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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/02/08
I liked both of your examples of concentration. A final paragraph to connect them would cement your ideas.