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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: See (07/22/10)

TITLE: Apparently So
By Sarah Elisabeth


“Well now, wasn’t that a packed agenda!”

I moved my laptop bag and bottled water before Mrs. Stanley crushed them as she joined me on the bench at the base of the courthouse steps.

“They did cover several cases before adjourning,” I replied, jotting more notes on my tablet.

Mrs. Stanley continued, waving her Starbucks cup at the pack exiting the courthouse. “Look there! That million dollar man. I’m glad the judge ordered him to appear in person for the negligence lawsuit. And to think he was once a student of mine, and had fairy tale dreams of being a preacher – until his mother got sick. Ha, he’s getting in his limousine, probably on the way to foreclose on some poor widow’s home.”

Eyes moving from the tablet, I caught a glimpse of the man’s face.

Middle aged, angry. Dreams of going to seminary lost with mother’s long term illness. Running away from God, destroying himself in his pursuit of happiness. Dying inside.

“Rachel, what did you think about that slimy teenager they brought in for a minor traffic violation? Minor! Running a red light could get someone killed! Forty hours of community service is not even a slap on the hand. Oh, the excuses those kids give. Look at his face, he’s not even sorry.”

I looked. It was hard to see past the cool blue of seemingly uncaring eyes. But I knew he had a heart – even though it was lost.

Seventeen, hates music, women. Raised by a single mom who never spoke to him in a normal tone, hadn’t been told he was loved in many years. Needed to be reached soon; hope was spiraling out of sight.

“Plain to see that homeless man’s ambition – knock off a convenience store to get arrested for free room and board. Free because we, the taxpayers, foot the bill. Pathetic, that’s what he and our whole judicial system are. Pathetic.”

I watched as the man escorted by two police officers adjusted his US Marines cap.

Late sixties, scrubby beard down his throat. Vietnam vet, rejected by family, friends, country. Could never speak of the things he witnessed during the war. Waiting for death to come.

Mrs. Stanley gathered her oversized purse, missing my head by a baby’s breath as she swung it to her shoulder. “Well, Rachel, I suppose you have plenty of material for the newspaper. I look forward to reading your take in the column. Sunday’s paper, right?”

“Yes, Mrs. Stanley, usual page.”

“See you on Monday?”

“Actually, Brandon covers court this Monday. I’ll be back Tuesday.”

“Hmph, Brandon. He’s not an ace reporter like you. Take my advice and never date him. He belongs at a gas station, washing windows or something. No intelligence at all.”

“He does his job.”

A touch to the bridge of her glasses was the only sign of disagreement Mrs. Stanley made. “I will see you Tuesday.”

“Not before?”

The question seemed to catch the older woman off guard. I smiled gently. “It wouldn’t be a problem to pick you up for service - I go right by your place. And we’ll get a copy of the paper afterwards. My treat.”

A snort sounded, followed by a smirk on Mrs. Stanley’s face. “You don’t give up, do you?”

“Only because God doesn’t.”

Mrs. Stanley sighed. “We’ll see.” Two steps later, she turned back to me. “No one listens to me like you do. I might go just to see what that church of yours does to you.”

I watched her walk briskly to her car parked along the curb, shoulders in a slight dip.

Early fifties, out of style dress. Abandoned by husband. Daughter died in a boating accident at age twenty. Had never been told of the love and healing awaiting her at the foot of the Cross until we met six weeks ago.

Tablet tucked in my laptop bag and camera bulked on the other side, I jostled myself off the bench and down the street to where I had parked a block away. The walk always gave me opportunity to think through the events I had just witnessed before returning to the newspaper office.

Key in the lock, I paused at the sight of myself in the driver’s side window.

Just turned thirty, fashionable yet unassuming attire. Aborted baby at age sixteen, attempted suicide, never graduated high school. Forgiven and loved by an awesome God. Striving to see the world through her Father’s eyes.

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This article has been read 1366 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Heywood07/29/10
This packs a punch! How often I am critical of the "outside" of people without pausing to consider what made them that way. And then your ending completely surprised me. We all have much to be forgiven for. I just might read this again, I enjoyed it so much - wonderful, wonderful writing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/29/10
There's at least two sides to everyone. You did such a good job of bringing that out-a gentle reminder not to judge.
Gina Fifo08/01/10
Outstanding! Well written and packs a potent message. If only we all "judged" others through the eyes of God. I especially like how you included yourself in the end.
Laury Hubrich 08/02/10
Wow! Everyone has a story to tell, but sometimes they go untold. I love looking at the people through this woman's eyes, who, herself, had her own story, but because of Jesus - her story was full of hope and forgiveness and eternal life. Wonderful job!
Margaret Kearley 08/02/10
You've done it again! Your writing so grips me and so touches my heart. Fantastic piece. Thank you again.
Lollie Hofer08/02/10
This was a great story with a powerful message, interesting characters and a likeable mc. Good use of the week's challenge topic as well.
Phee Paradise 08/02/10
Wow! I love the compassion of your MC and your last line. The way you alternated the judgmental view and the compassionate view was so well done. I want to see people through my Father's eyes too.
Virgil Youngblood 08/02/10
Our prayer should always be, "Lord, help me to love others as you do." Thanks for reminding us. Excellent writing.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/02/10
What a creative way to tell the story, to get a wonderful message across, to make your readers see with their hearts--excellent writing.
Kate Oliver Webb 08/02/10
SO very good, Sarah Elisabeth. You said so much without "telling" and the messaage was powerful and true. Excellent writing; great imagery, emotions and thought processes absolutely spot-on. Thanks for your message.
Maria Egilsson08/02/10
Sarah Elizabeth,
Beautifully written. Seeing into hearts and no matter what has occured or why the behaviour, God loves, redeems and gives beauty for ashes. Then in turn, we look with eyes of grace into the hearts of others. Excellent article and right on topic.
Rachel Phelps08/02/10
Oh, Sarah, I love what you did here. So beautifully portraying what everyone should be striving to see. Lovely, girl. Really.
Brenda Shipman 08/02/10
This grabbed my heart like no other entry this week. Talk about demonstrating "perspective"! You certainly helped us see through the eyes of our Father with this story. I absolutely loved it!
AnneRene' Capp08/03/10
My absolute favorite this week. Loved everything about it!
Mariane Holbrook 08/04/10
Gulp! It doesn't get much better than this! Excellent is too soft a word to describe this! Kudos!
Mona Purvis08/04/10
Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. This is the best piece I've ever read of yours. And you have written some wonderful ones.
I couldn't stop crying to comment. On topic phenomenally. What a lesson. Move over folks, here comes an EC.

Marita Thelander 08/04/10
Very nice, Sarah. Well paced and you know what? I've had "conversations" like that in past experiences working with the public.

I enjoyed the use of topic here. Seriously.
Edmond Ng 08/04/10
Great description of each character in the story, with a superb closing description of self as the MC. All of us certainly have our own 'problems' to take care of, but with eyes that see the world through our Father's eyes, we can definitely see much more. Yes, what an awesome God we serve!
Margaret Kearley 08/05/10
Congratulations!! So well deserved!
Christina Banks 08/05/10
Congratulations! This is an amazing piece. Well done!
Patricia Turner08/05/10
Perfect take on this topic and what a powerful message! So so deserving of its 1st place EC! Congratulations!!!!
PamFord Davis 08/05/10
Bravo! Round of Applause! Standing Ovation!
Michael Joshua08/05/10
What a great piece - absolutely solid 1st Place - Congrats!!
Genia Gilbert08/05/10
Tremendous message! Very deserving of first place. This puts you in Masters, too, doesn't it? God bless!
stanley Bednarz08/05/10
Congratulations Sarah. You knocked this one out of the park. You kept swinging for the bleachers girl. Bravo!
Mona Purvis08/05/10
I knew it! Sarah, this is due the 1st place EC and I'm so glad you won it!

Beth LaBuff 08/05/10
This is packed with emotion, some raw, some heart-warming. Excellent writing, Sarah Elizabeth! Congratulations on your 1st places -- level award and Editor's Choice! I love this!
Rikki Akeo08/05/10
Congratulations on your EC!
I love eye-openers!
Seema Bagai 08/05/10
Sarah, this is a fantastic piece. Congrats on the win.
Eliza Evans 08/05/10
Yipeeeee!! So thrilled for you Sarah Elisabeth. :) :) :)

Huge Congrats!

Excellent job!
Carol Penhorwood 08/05/10
Such an insightful piece and convicting as well. We were on the same wave length with this challenge, but you did it soooo much better! Congratulations on 1st!
Joan Campbell08/05/10
Wow! Wow! Wow! This is truly special, Sarah. Inspired, I'd say. Congratulations on your 1st place EC. You must be SO excited right now!
Laury Hubrich 08/05/10
Congratulations, Sarah! #1 - Woo!!!!
Jody Day 08/05/10
Compelling and beautifully done. Congratulations!
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/05/10
Congratulations of being the best this week. Climb on up to Masters now.
Betty Castleberry08/05/10
Congratulations on taking the top spot! This was excellent.
Shelley Ledfors 08/05/10
Wow. That's all. Just, wow. Congratulations on a well deserved first place EC!
Sarah Heywood08/05/10
Sarah - this story "grabbed" me when I read it the first time last week. You deserve your win - many congratulations to you!
Amanda Brogan08/05/10
Amazing! I like how the character looked deeper into everyone's life and heart -- even her own. And Mrs. Stanley was a fun and dynamic character. :)

Congrats on getting First Place!!! (In Advanced and the EC. ;) ) Hey, are you advancing to Masters now?
Nancy Sullivan 08/05/10
Congratulations and a hearty "Amen" to the other comments. God Bless.
Yvonne Blake 08/05/10
Sarah, great story! I can "see" why it got 1st place!
Catrina Bradley 08/05/10
Perfectly deserving of first place. Simply "wow". Congrats, SE.
Connie Dixon08/05/10

Great job. Really loved this! Congratulations on your awesome writing and your EC.
Colin Swann08/06/10
I think the Lord would say:-"Well done my faithful scribe!"

Angela M. Baker-Bridge08/07/10
Very well done! Congratulations!
Cindy Barclay08/07/10
Sarah- what a fantastic story! Through His eyes is how I want to see- His grace is so amazing and the impact was so huge- without being preachy. Blessings! Cindy
Cindy Barclay08/07/10
Sarah- what a fantastic story! Through His eyes is how I want to see- His grace is so amazing and the impact was so huge- without being preachy. Blessings! Cindy
Sherrie Coronas08/08/10
Wow. Loved this entry so much. A well deserved win.
Catherine McQuiston08/11/10
I read your story and I was there like I was watching a movie. Very moving. I'm glad that you won first place. Excellent!
Catherine McQuiston