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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Reader (04/15/10)

By Sylvia Hensel



With trembling hands, Joan laid the book down. It was as though she was reading an auto biography of herself. The main character in the book, Sandra, was living her life.
A life filled with sin and bad choices, leaving home in anger and moving in with her boyfriend who was now long gone, leaving her with a baby girl.

Her struggles to make ends meet had been more than a challenge, doing what ever needed to be done to make a semblance of a home for her and her child. She wasn’t proud of her job as a dancer in sleazy bar, but it paid the bills. The attention she received from the patrons, though unwanted, contributed to her income.

She desperately wanted better for the both of them, but she had no idea how to find a job that paid what she was making through her present lifestyle. She had made up her mind that before her daughter was old enough to realize what she did for a living, she would have saved enough to move away and start over.

Reading the book had caused her to evaluate her life. Sandra, the character in the book, also had a child and made a life for them by selling her favors to whomever. Everything Sandra had done, Joan had done also.

What grabbed Joan’s attention was when Sandra became sick, so sick she ended up in the emergency room. After all the tests were taken, they admitted her into the hospital. The doctor came in to talk with her. “How long have you been feeling this way,” he asked. “For a while, I guess. I kept thinking I would get better.”

“Sandra, you should have come in a long time ago. You may have waited too long.” the doctor said. “We found massive tumors in you lungs and other organs. They are cancerous and it doesn’t look too hopeful. We will do all we can, but it has already progressed to stage four. Is there anyone we can call?”

Sandra’s world collapsed. What was she to do, and what would happened to her baby? She had no one to turn to. She knew her party friends wouldn’t care for her. She felt she had burned bridges behind her where here parents were concerned. She gave the nurse their number, yet in her heart she did not expect to hear from them.

Tears flowed freely as she was overcome by a sense of hopelessness. Her free lifestyle, which at one time meant so much to her, now meant nothing. She had been brought up in a Godly home and been taught about Jesus, but she had turned her back on Him too, but now she found herself crying out to the one she had forsaken; “Jesus, if you can hear me, I need You. I am so sorry for all I have done to hurt You. Please help me.”

“My child, I am with you. I will never leave you or forsake you. I have never stopped loving you.” Her being was flooded with a peace she had not know since before she left home. It was at that moment she heard a soft voice, “Sandra, it’s Mom.” Once again tears streamed down her cheeks. She knew then that no matter what happened, everything would be alright.

Thinking of how the story ended, Joan was gripped with fear for she had been sick for quite a long time also. Could she have this dreaded disease? Like Sandra, Joan wondered what she would do if she did. An overwhelming need to make things right overcame her and she fell on her knees and asked Jesus for forgiveness.

A great releasing washed over her; a draining of all the old pouring from her soul until there was nothing left of her former self. In the emptiness of her being, she sensed a newness of spirit, a cleansing to the uttermost. Love poured through her to overflowing as Jesus took His place on the throne of her heart.

With great resolve, she picked up the phone, “Mom, it’s Joan, I am so sorry. Please forgive me.”

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This article has been read 418 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Maria Egilsson04/24/10
Good job of portraying how books can confront and influence the reader to change.

Carol Penhorwood 04/27/10
Great reading. Thank God for second chances.
harvestgal Ndaguba04/27/10
Wow, Love the way you showed the power of reading a book and the affect it can have on one's life. Nice Story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/27/10
Wow this is serious stuff. You did a great job tackling the tough stuff. Well done.