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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Carols/Carolling (10/02/08)

TITLE: Jenny's Christmas Awakening


Jenny Winslow sat in an old rocking chair, listening to the singing of carols outside her bedroom window. It was ten o’clock at night, she had been in bed for awhile but couldn’t sleep. So, sitting in her chair next to her bedroom window, she watched the snow fall as she listened to the group singing, “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.”

It had been years since she had heard caroling. She couldn’t remember the last time she heard Christmas music outside, but it sounded wonderful!

She couldn’t believe that Jake, her husband, had died just five weeks ago. This would be the first Christmas without him. Thirty years of marriage had brought them close to each other and she was finding it difficult to visualize a future without him.

As she listened to the music, she felt alone and sad but after listening for awhile, she began to feel a strange sensation—a kind of peace and hope---feelings that conveyed a “rightness,” that perhaps everything would turn out alright and maybe new beginnings.

She put on her robe, walked down the hallway and stairs, took some money out of her purse and opened the front door. The group was ending their song of “Silent Night” as she opened the door.

“Thank you so much for coming! Your music has been so uplifting and beautiful! Here is my contribution and God Bless You All!”

As she handed the leader of the group her contribution, she noticed that he looked like a man in his early sixties, and had the most beautiful smile she had ever seen! She recalled that she had seen him before in church several times, as a member of Baptist Central. She and Jake weren’t regular church members, so she only saw him two, maybe three times.

Ben Gilbert, the leader of the singing group with the great smile, stayed behind while the others left. It was clear he wanted to talk with her alone.

“Hi! I would like to introduce myself. I’m Ben Gilbert, and I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s death. I saw his name in the church bulletin about a week ago but have been too busy taking care of my ill wife, Helen. She dying from bone cancer and is in terrible pain.”

“Thank you for your condolences and I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. I will pray that her pain eases and that God will comfort her, as I know He will.”

Ben looked down at the ground; he looked so sad and weary that Jenny thought he might pass out from sheer sadness.

“Thank you for such comforting words. I, too, am praying that her pain lessons and that God will take her soon. I just can’t bear to watch her suffer!”

“Hold fast to your faith, Ben. Our Lord hears our prayers and is faithful to our needs. If ever you need to talk and need someone to listen, I’m here for you.”

He looked at Jenny with a renewed look of hope and replied, “Thank you, Jenny Winslow. I will do that.”

Two weeks later Jenny saw in the local paper that Ben’s wife, Helen had died. She felt sad about Helen’s death but also relieved, knowing that now the poor woman was out of pain and with the Lord.

Jenny’s grief over her husband, though, continued. After five months she was still grieving over him and so she made an appointment at the local mental health center, hoping to find relief and guidance. There wasn’t much the guidance center could do to help her, except to listen and show compassion. The center also recommended that she go back to church and get involved in a hobby or part-time job. She chose to go back to church and it wasn’t long before she met Ben at one of the Sunday services.

“Well, hi Ben! Good to see you. How are you doing?”

“Better, thanks. Found a new job at Tech Central and doing some tutorial work at a local school. Keeps me busy and helps with the grief. How are you doing?”

“I’m better, too. I’ve gone back to work part-time, doing some editorial work. Keeping busy has helped a lot and so has coming back to church.”

It wasn’t long before Jenny and Ben found that they had a lot more in common than grief, for a developing friendship began and that, as we all know, is more precious than gold!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/10/08
Lovely seasonal story with a teensy hint of romance.

Be careful of the difference between "a while" and "awhile", and of "lessen" and "lesson". Finally, avoid exclamation points in the narrative.

I enjoy stories about people of a "certain age". This was a nice read.