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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: 24 Hours (01/27/11)

TITLE: The Journal Entries of Layne Kimberly
By Amanda Brogan


12/31/10, 6:00 a.m.

Itís amazing the rigid mark that one day can etch into a personís life. What a difference those twenty-four short hours can make in the days, months, even years to come. The effect they can have on every waking minute afterward.

Even now, sitting in a bleak hospital room watching my darling sleep beneath crisp sheets, I am unable to erase the burning image from my mind of the day this strange journey began. The day when we knew we couldnít ignore Joyís pain any longer, when we instinctively sensed that she had more than a simple flu. Those fateful hours with all those tests that seemed to last the entire day. And then came the doctorís downcast diagnosis.

But why am I rambling on about all this? The former pages of this journal contain the whole story.

12/31/10, 10:06 a.m.

Joy has fallen asleep again after a 9:30 breakfast of yogurt and half of a small banana (which I finished). My poor, sweet Joy. So unlike her normal energetic, fun-loving self. Putting my heart in a blender could not wound it much more than seeing her in this condition. Her lively energy gone. Her delicate head barely able to lift from its resting place for more than a few seconds.

Of course, I always encourage her just to rest. Sheís spent plenty of mornings waking at six and utilizing every hour the rest of the day, peacefully and contentedly going about the seemingly menial tasks of maintaining a household.

How Iíve loved those many mornings, waking to see her shining face bowed over her favorite study Bible, the rising sun bursting through our bedroom window and illuminating her soft auburn hair. Those mornings of reading and prayer shape her entire day. She has never complained about washing my dirty shirts or scrubbing the kitchen floor to a spotless shine. Yes baby, you deserve your rest now. Youíve earned it.

12/31/10, 3:27 p.m.

I canít seem to stay away from this journal. These pages and those of my Bible are my closest companions lately. Except for the times when Joy is awake. Then I encompass her frail hand in my own and we talk and pray until she is too exhausted to talk anymore. Then I read to her from Scripture until she drifts off again. Usually I read from Psalms or some of her favorite New Testament passages.

On my own, however, Iíve been reading the account of King David. Iím not sure what it is that draws me to his story. Maybe itís his steadfast dependence on the Lord, the way he clung to God as to a rock whenever the quicksand and mire of rough circumstances threatened to drag him to his grave. I canít help but wonder if Davidís first son by Bathsheba in II Samuel 12 died of leukemia. If it did, then I may have more in common with David than I thought. I also wonder if God is punishing me like He did David. Would He take my precious wife, my wife of whom this earth is not worthy, in order to cleanse me of some sin and make me a better servant?

But then, as if a gentle, supernatural hand were laid on my shoulder, I feel my Savior comforting me and reminding me that sometimes itís nobodyís fault. Maybe this is just part of a heavenly refining process that will bring us out stronger on the other side. Oh Lord, make me like David that I may trust and love You more by leaning on You through my struggles!

12/31/10, 10:42 p.m.

My dear Joy. Always thinking of others. Always strong even in her weakness. I broke down earlier and told her that maybe I havenít done enough, maybe I havenít prayed as hard as I should.

ďLayne,Ē she said, ďGod is always good. Even when we donít understand His plans, He is always good.Ē

01/01/11, 6:00 a.m.

I woke up to see the sun shining on her face more brightly than ever before. I know it is because she has risen before me into the presence of the Son. I have faith beyond a doubt that she was right. God is good for the five years He gave us. He is good for having brought her into my life to teach me to love Him more.

Nothing can erase the mark that you left on my life, Joy Kimberly. These last twenty-four hours have taught me that.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Virgil Youngblood 02/04/11
Outstanding! Thank you for sharing this beautiful, well written tribute.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/06/11
What a touching peek into such bittersweet time. There are so many people right this second second somewhere in a hospital going through a similar situation. You reminded me to pray for a 16 yo boy in our community who was just diagnosed with leukemia. Beautiful story, good idea to put it in a diary format.
Karlene Jacobsen02/08/11
Such beautiful writing. You really captured the heart of this husband and the struggle many face when asking the question, "Why?" It's not a shaking fist question, but one of I need understanding; but I still trust You.

Well done.
Laury Hubrich 02/08/11
Very touching story. Nice job.
Rachel Phelps02/09/11
What a moving tribute. Well done!
Margaret Kearley 02/09/11
This is so touching and beautifully written. Your first paragraph particularly struck me with its strong truth - I think many of us have '24 hour periods' in our lives that we will never forget. Thank you for this lovely story.
Lollie Hofer02/09/11
I'm usually not a fan of "journaling" stories but this most definitely is an exception. This well-written story really tore at my heart and I was riveted all the way to the end which, of course, was just the beginning for Joy.
Benjamin Graber02/10/11
This is really good, Amanda! I don't generally like journal style stories, but you did a great job of making this both beautiful and emotional.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/10/11
Congratulations for placing 8th in level three and 24th overall! It's nice to see you back in the challenge!
Loren T. Lowery02/11/11
I really liked your opening paragraph. And, as the story unfolded it seemed to have been written by someone who truly journals their life. It is an awesome practice, showing a slice of our life to not only ourselves but to other who might read it after we're gone.
Nice job with the emotions, too!
Caitlyn Meissner02/28/11
Wow! What a great story. You did a good job fitting all those hard emotions in 750 words. Joy and Layne became real as you wrote about them, and I'm glad they had the hope of redemption. Great job!