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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shhh. (02/18/10)

TITLE: Just Be Still
By Catrina Bradley



The whisper floated through the firs and down the slope, tickling Chelsea's ear. She shivered in her sleeping bag. Yeah, God, I know--"Be still". She tried harder to empty her mind.


Her tent kept out the chill wind, but canvas doesn't block sound.

Wait, that's not You, is it?


She fumbled for her zipper tab and emerged from her cocoon. Her sweats were waiting and she pulled them on and wrapped up in her granny's trusty quilt before undoing the door flap.

The zzzzzrrrriiIIIP silenced the early morning bird and bug chorus, and one final SHHH.....SHHHHHH echoed off her tent and across the narrow meadow.

A voice. "Helloooo? Anyone home?" Definitely male. Definitely close.

Lord, if that's not your angel, please protect me.

Chelsea peeked out, and gasped. Her unexpected caller stood not two feet away staring back at her.

He had lifted his goggles, and she saw that his brown eyes were crinkled at the corners. Is that kindness I'm seeing, God? Or not? I can't tell. Impossible to tell much with all that ski gear. Ahh, skis! That explains the shhshh's.

"What're you doing here?" she called through the canvas.

"That's kinda what I wanted to ask you."

This is silly. If he's an axe murderer, a tent's not going to stop him. Chelsea slipped on her clogs and stepped out. "I came here to get away from the noise, but it's not working."

"Oh, my fault I guess."

Was that a friendly wink, or a sinister one? "No, that's not it." Chelsea blushed and stared into the forest. "I wanted to get away from phones and TV's, doorbells and...and people. I wanted to hear God. But it's not working--the noise in my head--it won't shut up. Yap yap yap. I don't know how to make it stop, to 'be still' so I can know God. And I do. Want to know Him."

The words had come out in a rush, and Chelsea glanced into those confusing eyes then back at the trees. "I'm sorry. I don't know where that came from."

"People're usually like that around me. It's OK--I'm pretty good at keepin secrets. It comes with the job."

"Ahh. 'The Job.' CIA? FBI? KGB?" Chelsea looked around the wilderness. "Underground anti-initial militia cell?"

His laughter rang through the trees. "Not even close. David," he said, and stuck out his hand. "I pastor a little church down the hill. You aughta come. Sunday morning 'n all, ya know?"

"No, I don't think so, but thanks. I need to be alone. And listen."

"There's more'n one way to 'be still'. There's nothin like worshippin in song to help you hear better." David slid his goggles down and set his poles. "I gotta go, but you'll likely be seein more of me."

"Didn't I mention I came here for privacy? And quiet?"

"D'you know happen to know where 'here' is?"

"Yeah, I scoped it out--that dirt road I took isn't even on the map. That's why I'm here. It's private." This time she didn't look away when she met his eyes.

His smirk said he had a secret. Not the reaction Chelsea was expecting.

"Just so happens that dirt road is my driveway, and 'Here' is my mountain. Sorry, but yer wrong about the privacy."

The sun moved behind a cloud, shrouding them in shadow. Chelsea shivered and tugged Granny's quilt tighter.

"You're welcome to stay, tho," said David. "Hope you hear what you're listening for. And if you change your mind about church, go back to the main road and take a right--we're down just a ways on your left."

Chelsea watched him push off and ski across the meadow, still uncertain about what she'd seen in his eyes.


She'd poured her first cup of coffee and settled into her camp-chair by the fire to try again--be still and listen--when strains from a pipe organ wafted uphill. She couldn't make out the words, but she heard them all the same.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound..."

'Listen. Be still. Know.'

Chelsea heard again the strange pastor's words: "There's more than one way to 'be still'."


A calming of body, a relaxing of soul. A choir sang familiar praises in Chelsea's mind, accompanied by the heavenly music traveling on the crisp air.

'ssshhhhh. Be still. Do you know?'

Her heart opened, and she heard her Lord.

'I am.'

And she was still.

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This article has been read 810 times
Member Comments
Member Date
AnneRene' Capp02/27/10
Entertaining and very realistic! I chuckled at camping in the pastor's driveway. And, you are right...it takes effort to truly share time alone with God, but then again, so is the pastor...worshiping in song can also create a special, one on one, even with other, annoying humans right beside ya. :)
Donna Wolther02/27/10
Cute story.
Charla Diehl 03/01/10
Nice story which many of your readers will identify with. In a world of cell phones, texting, facebook, and such a rush paced in everything we do, it is so hard to be still. Like your MC, I always gravitate towards nature to find some peaceful moments.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/01/10
Very nice, you had so many undertones going. I enjoyed the subtle flirting and that the sshh sound was skies. I laughed that she camped in the driveway.
Allison Egley 03/01/10
I like this a lot. I liked the "shhh" of the skis. Nice touch. And there are some good reminders in here too! Great job.
Ruth Stromquist03/01/10
Excellent description, great dialogue flow, and good message. I especially liked the way you handled the sounds, and "The zzzzzrrrriiIIIP silenced the early morning bird and bug chorus, and one final SHHH.....SHHHHHH echoed off her tent and across the narrow meadow." line. The one thing that tripped me up a bit was " "Not even close. David," he said, and stuck out his hand." For some reason, I read it as him calling HER David, rather than introducing himself. But my mind's moving kind of slow tonight, so it could just be me. :-)
Gregory Kane03/02/10
Good stuff. My favorite one-liner was "Underground anti-initial militia cell" Corny but delightful
Tim George03/02/10
Thanks for reminding me of the need to actively look for silence before the Lord. Good story my friend.
Mona Purvis03/02/10
Sweet story. I kept thinking about tent camping in the snow. Brrr. I wanted a little more conflict from her POV to let me know about her desire to escape. Maybe, David could have asked. But, I enjoyed this story.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/02/10
This was definitely a creative take on the topic. Good job...and I liked just the hint of a possible romance.
Pam Carlson-Hetland03/02/10
I liked the MC's ambitious attempt at privacy. I enjoyed the humor of situation--camping in a pastor's driveway. The dialogue was great. The reader could even 'read' the accent. Good message. Good story. Good writing.
Sarah Elisabeth 03/02/10
Very creative slant with the setting, great message about the ways to "be still."
Pamela Kliewer03/02/10
I like it. :o)
Edmond Ng 03/03/10
Nicely written! Being still certainly should come from the heart, and more so with listening.
Loren T. Lowery03/03/10
We plan, but God directs our course. Good lesson, well-told in this story that is sooo easy to relate to. You did a great job with the banter between the two characters making it easy for the reader to know who and what they were about and searching for.
Lisha Hunnicutt03/03/10
Well written, but who in their right mind camps in the snow? Yikes!!!