Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Discern (08/12/10)
TITLE: Just a Beginning
By Charla Diehl
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Clutching the flannel sheet, knees drawn to her chest, Becca’s sunken eyes took rest on the recent photo of her son and husband smiling at her from her dresser. Tears, anger and sobs erupted in waves of grief just like yesterday, the day before and the weeks prior. In the seconds it took for two cars to collide on a rain slippery street, her cheery world had become a dark and dreary place.
Friends that called or stopped by were met with fuming and bitter words. “What do you mean--God loves me.” Her eyes squinted and her jaw tightened. “What a morbid way to show it,” she mumbled.
“Please Becca, in order to heal, you need to forgive. I‘m so sorry but you need to stop blaming that boy for this tragic accident,” Nancy begged as she washed up crusty dishes that were piled in the sink.
“I can’t forgive. Not that kid, and especially not God. I just want to die. They were my life, my purpose for living. Can’t you understand that?” Becca wailed. Yanking the blinds closed immediately after Nancy’s efforts to brighten the room, she ordered her friend to leave. “I don’t want you here--go and don’t come back.”
Nancy knew the words came from a tormented heart. Weight loss, dark circled eyes, pale skin, and her attitude--visible signs Becca wasn’t grieving in a healthy manner. She needed to find a way to plug her back into life.
Early Thursday morning Becca heard a scraping noise outside her bedroom window. Lifting a few slats she saw Nancy cutting rows of little troughs into a symmetrical pattern in the dirt patch that was going to be this year’s flower garden.
“Stop that. Why do you insist on bugging me? Leave me alone!” her raspy voice shouted from the open window.
Nancy knew she couldn’t do that. Their friendship reached back to the third grade. And so she kept hoeing and pulling weeds, humming happy tunes all the while. She was startled and a bit deflated at the slamming of the window, but she persisted. She loves getting her hands in the dirt, she’ll come out, Nancy thought.
Fifteen minutes passed before Becca met her friend at the garden wearing a scowl. Nancy whispered “thanks” to God. “My Jeep is bursting with colorful pansies, daisies, petunias and some spiky things that looked interesting. Want to help me or do I have to do this alone?” she said with a beckoning plea.
No response, just a blank stare. Becca walked around the corner of the house and saw the rainbow of flowers. When she returned she had a garden trowel in her gloved hands. She knelt down, scooped up the loosened soil and inhaled, eyes closed. When she opened them gentle tears washed down her cheeks. Nancy quietly watched. Seconds later Becca embraced her trusted friend and whispered a shaky “thank you” in her ear.
Side by side they worked, exchanging only half smiles occasionally. And for the first time in seven weeks Nancy saw a slight spark in those sad, dark eyes. Words weren’t necessary for them to communicate. A gentle pat on Becca’s back told her how much Nancy cared. As she admired the nodding flowers, Becca was grateful for this steadfast friend who knew how to tease her back into the warmth of the sun. And this was just a beginning.
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