Hire
Writers
Editors
Home Tour About Read What's New Help Forums Join
My Account Login
Shop
Save
Support
E
Book
Store
Learn
About
Jesus
  

Win A Publishing Package HERE            

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge

BACK TO
CHALLENGE
MAIN

INSTRUCTIONS

how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level

ENTRIES

submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners



Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.





TRUST JESUS TODAY

TRY THE TEST



Share
how it works   Submit

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

TITLE: Under Our Own Acre of Sky
By
10/08/08


 LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
 SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
 ADD TO MY FAVORITES

Dear Eric,

I’m wrapped in our blue-plaid blanket sitting on our bench. The binding has frayed—that’s what happens to both blankets and love when they’re drug over all matter of terrain. It seems outside, though, is where I need to be, under the endless acres of dark sky, even if it means passing over gravel and rock with only a shard of moon to guide me.

It makes me smile (not to mention my mother laugh) to see the anti-hermit I’ve become. It had always been the nooks of our California ranch that beckoned to me—the closets, the caves I created with beds butted up to either side of tables shoved into corners. It's funny how one cross-country move and a little caroling can change everything.

At first, Virginia didn’t feel like home. How could it when we moved the summer before my freshman year of college? I felt like my old guppy, Vince—who once flopped out of the net while I was cleaning his bowl. With every contraction of gills, he begged to be airlifted back into his safe, finite quarters.

This alien feeling shadowed me back to California for the beginning of my first semester at the small University I had chosen, and it hung out with me, clinging to my ankle like some lovelorn silent film star. By Christmas break, I was ready to go home—even if that meant Virginia.

I expected lingering ambivalence toward this strange (for me) rural setting, but what I wasn’t expecting was Mom’s words leaving the airport: Tomorrow we’ll go shopping (that part I expected), then Friday night we’ll go caroling—by the way—we’ve joined a church.

Joined a church?

On a frigid Friday, a super-sized van, radiating warmth, lured a shivering group of us in one by one. We drove to a white farmhouse—way out over snowy hill and dale.

We stepped out onto an unpaved, slushy driveway, grasping Pastor Thomas’s offered hand, and it struck me that our voices would never be heard out here—the sound would be lost in the vastness of the earth’s atmosphere. I was used to singing in choir halls where the sound traveled in an arc finding the center of emotion—whether that was the heart or the head, I was never sure.

What was the point of this?

We assembled ourselves under Widow Kip’s window. A boy pulled up the sash and waved at us calling behind him, “Ready for your surprise, Nana?”

Ruby, the choir leader, directed us to page four—the widow’s favorite carol.

Oh, Holy Night,
The stars are brightly shining
This is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.


Our voices rose up and over and around and through, filling the sky as if encapsulated in a snow globe.

I only made it through three lines before I was pierced with something I can only describe as utter love. The stars winked at me, glittering on a background of navy blue velvet. The notion of big filled me with peace. The heavens, the Milky Way, my own acre of sky faced me. I didn’t know where one began and another ended, yet the voices found seams and crevices and saturated them with goodwill and good news, and oh, how I wanted to fall on my knees.

It wouldn’t be until church the next Sunday when I would realize the baritone singing behind me was you.

That same winter you took me ice skating on a frozen pond. I had never skated out of doors and again something vast flooded me and my now permeable heart. I remembered thinking: No wonder it’s easier to find God in the country than in the city. In the city you saw what man created, but here you saw what He created.

The greatest comfort I had during the years I was finishing college was that we were both umbrellad under the same expanse. I love the paradox of that thought, of God—so open and encompassing and yet so protective and embracing.

But we’ve made a fine mess of things, haven’t we?—as Hardy would say to Laurel.

There’ll be time to apologize and negotiate and cry and forgive—later.

For now, Eric, this is my long-winded way of asking if you’ll meet me Friday night to go out caroling with the church. Heaven may reign over us both, but I need you under our very own acre of sky.

I Love You,

Shelby


The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.


This article has been read 818 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/11/08
Very nice! The untold story here--whatever has happened between Eric and Shelby--is a thread woven through this entire story, and even though the reader doesn't know exactly what has happened, you've made us care so much about this couple that it doesn't matter. Love the whisper of hope at the end. Super!
Beth LaBuff 10/12/08
I love this, "under the endless acres of dark sky, even if it means passing over gravel and rock with only a shard of moon to guide me." I could see it! I've felt the "didn't feel like home" move and thought your guppy analogy was good. I had to sing theses carols in my mind as I read the words. :)
Karin Beery10/13/08
Well-written! It wasn't necessary to tell us what happened or why. Shelby's letter gives enough description to make the point without writing a list of woes.

My own preference would be to consider breaking up some of the long sentences. The first half of the letter is full of them. A few shorter ones can keep the eyes moving.

Nicely written. Easy to read. Understandable without being overly-descriptive. I really enjoyed it.
Joy Faire Stewart10/13/08
I enjoyed Shelby's voice. The emotions are vivid giving her great personality.
Jason Swiney10/13/08
Very well written as usual, you are definitely a wordsmith.
My favorite line: No wonder it’s easier to find God in the country than in the city. In the city you saw what man created, but here you saw what He created. (SO FULL OF TRUTH).
It had so much story development that I had difficulty at times believing it to be a realistic letter (does that make sense?), but the ending and the mystery concerning their conflict works well in the letter format. Another solid entry, well done.

Catrina Bradley 10/13/08
Wow, this letter has many layers! Very well written, with recipient of the the letter, the discord between them, and finally the purpose for the letter finally coming out at the end. I really enjoyed this. There was one part that I had to re-read for clarity - I was confused with all of her moving, but I think I was just reading too fast. :) Nice job!
Marijo Phelps10/13/08
Leaves the reader wanting more but this story is totally complete within itself! Good descriptive phrases - wonderful word pictures!
Tessy Fuller10/14/08
This was beautiful "yet the voices found seams and crevices and saturated them with goodwill and good news" I got so lost in the descriptive narration of the caroling I forgot that it was a letter. Very well done!
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/15/08
I felt like I knew Shelby, and I liked her very much. I enjoyed all the layers of your story and the hope at the end.
Karlene Jacobsen 10/15/08
I somehow thought throughout the letter that Shelby was writing to someone overseas in the military or something like that. So imagine my surprise to find that she was offering hope of reconciliation at the end of her letter. I wouldn't change a thing though, it is beautifully written and makes perfect sense; an incredible lead-up, in an estranged relationship, to an invitation.
Shelley Ledfors 10/15/08
Lovely! I really like Shelby. And I love the mystery in here of what happened between them. I think that makes the story better than if it had been spelled out. Very well done!
Leah Nichols 10/16/08
I like it - a very unique piece. I love your writing - keep up the great work!
Lyn Churchyard10/16/08
Your descriptions are simply wonderful! I particularly loved our voices rose up and over and around and through, filling the sky as if encapsulated in a snow globe. The story is a mystery and a love story all in one. Super job as always.

Celeste Ammirata10/16/08
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Especially, this paragraph..

I only made it through three lines before I was pierced with something I can only describe as utter love. The stars winked at me, glittering on a background of navy blue velvet. The notion of big filled me with peace. The heavens, the Milky Way, my own acre of sky faced me. I didn’t know where one began and another ended, yet the voices found seams and crevices and saturated them with goodwill and good news, and oh, how I wanted to fall on my knees....

There is nothing like being out in nature, staring up the vastness of the heavens that declare his workmanship!
This scene is my Christmas fantasy......Great job. :-)