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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: Priceless Pints
By Eileen Knowles


BEEEP, BEEEP, BEEEP, the abrupt buzzing shook Ruby out of her slumber. She rolled over and pressed the button down on the alarm clock. The bright glowing numbers across the front slowly began to come into focus, the only light in an otherwise dark room. Ruby lay still for a time and listened to the gentle hum of the ceiling fan above her bed. Thank you Lord for the restful sleep…how can I serve you today? She took a deep breath, sat up, and slowly swung her legs over the side of the bed.

Ruby had never been a morning person. But nowadays, she needed a few extra minutes each morning to spend some quiet time with the Lord before leaving the house and heading down to the local Red Cross. Ruby slipped her feet into her house shoes, grabbed her robe from the foot of the bed, and headed into the bathroom. Ed had always been the morning person between the two of them. Even after years of marriage, Ruby would still, on occasion, find herself completely amazed by how much “morning” the Lord had been able to knit into one individual. The cheerfulness was almost too much for a non-morning person to stand. Returning from the bathroom, Ruby grabbed her bible from the bedside table and walked out to the kitchen. After filling the tea kettle and placing it on the burner, Ruby sat down at the table and opened her bible to this week’s devotional.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ; Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…

The whistle slowly began blowing on the tea kettle. Ruby got up and retrieved a tea cup and tea bag from the cupboard and poured the steaming water into the cup. Taking a seat again, Ruby began thinking about the words she had just read. Although she had read these verses in Philippians many times over the years, the words seemed to penetrate her heart this morning in a fresh new way. Ever since Eddie lost his long battle with cancer, the desire to serve had become so strong in Ruby, stronger than previous seasons in her life.

Eddie had such a servant’s heart. It was evident to anyone who spent any length of time with her late husband. His serving nature was contagious. After the diagnosis, Ed never once considered that perhaps it was time to stop serving and be served, even though he was now fighting the battle of his life. So each week, for as long as he was able, Ed continued being a servant, often spending his afternoons at the nursing home and helping out wherever he could. As Ed’s cancer progressed and mobility became harder, he found other ways to serve. Quite often, the Lord would prompt him to pick up the phone or write a note of encouragement to someone who desperately needed to hear some words of hope.

In his final months, it became necessary for Eddie to receive a blood transfusion. As Ruby sat by his side that day, watching the blood slowly drain from the bag and into it’s new home, she found herself feeling so thankful for the individuals, the strangers, who were willing to sacrifice so her husband could spend just a few more months here on this earth with her. What a beautiful gift. Ruby began thinking of an even greater gift, Christ’s gift of eternal life. The trials she and Eddie faced in this life were truly temporary. Because of His ultimate donation on the cross and the blood shed so many years ago, Ruby had hope.

Ruby closed her bible and finished her last sip of tea. It was time to get dressed for work. Snacks and drinks needed to be prepared for the donors who would show up at the Red Cross today. Lately, a day did not go by in Ruby’s life where she wasn’t eternally grateful for the red cross.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst10/08/09
This is a lovely read! The scene was a simple one but yet full and rewarding. Having had blood transfusions myself, Ruby's thoughts about Christ's "ultimate donation on the cross and the blood shed so many years ago" echoed in my heart as well. Nice job!
Brenda Shipman 10/08/09
Nice comparison between the two "red crosses", and the sacrifice of love each one represents. I liked this line, "Even after years of marriage, Ruby would still, on occasion, find herself completely amazed by how much 'morning' the Lord had been able to knit into one individual." I think this line alone describes her husband's morning energy & cheerfulness without the line that follows it (no need to "explain" any further.) Ruby is a lovely, selfless person, perhaps so much so that I have a hard time relating to such a perfect character. I love the message of the story, and the title is great! Nicely done.
Allen Stark10/09/09
Beautiful and inspiring story! And I can relate, only because my wife, after going through nearly 38 years of rheumatoid arthritis, which has required over 20 surgeries, cancer treatment, and recent neck surgery, she still looks to reach out to others with love and hope. Much of who I am today is because of her.
Jan Ackerson 10/09/09
A sweet story--I'm about to become a Red Cross volunteer lady, so it made me grin.

If I were to give one suggestion, I'd say that this story lacks conflict, which is one of the definitive characteristics of a short story.

Nevertheless, she's a precious character, and it was a pleasant read.
Shilo Goodson10/12/09
I enjoyed reading your story. I also really liked your title. It has a wonderful ring to it.
Lisa Johnson10/15/09
I, too, liked the way you tied the two red crosses together. Very good story.