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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Minute(s) (as in time) (03/03/11)

TITLE: Minutes of Change
By Caitlyn Meissner


As a child growing up, I struggled with the mysteries of telling time. Digital clocks were my style. They revealed the actual time in a plain, understandable way. There was no need to fuss with hour hands, or the dreaded minute hand. There were no interchanging numbers, no confusing statements like, “when the long hand points to the nine that means it’s been forty-five minutes.” I never could quite understand how that simple nine had changed so mysteriously into a forty-five.

But perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised. After all, every child knows that there are different types of minutes. The first type of minute is a “real” minute, the kind made up of sixty seconds. In a real minute, I can…

- Read aloud fifteen verses from Psalm 119

- Jump up and down ninety-three times

- Draw twenty-five stick figures

- Click my flashlight on and off fifty-four times.

But though we have real minutes, we also have fake minutes. A fake minute occurs when your mom tells you she’ll be ready to go “in just a minute,” then turns around and talks to her friend for another ten.

I’ve also known minutes that weren’t bound by the “sixty seconds” rule. Every time I tried to hold my breath for a full minute felt like hours of agony. And the five extra minutes Dad used to give me to finish playing with my friends always felt like thirty seconds.

But the most amazing thing about time is this: it only takes a minute for a person’s whole life to change. Believe me, I know. I’ve had it happen before.

It all started the last month of my sophomore year of college. Ten math tests stood between me and freedom, and since math isn’t my best subject, when I started studying, I studied hard. Several hours went by as I craned my neck over the textbook, scribbling sums onto blank paper. Then, all of a sudden…

“Ow!” The worst pain I’d ever felt filled my neck. I sat up, stretching my head from side to side, but the pain persisted, pulsing behind my eyes and shooting along my spine. Neither heating pads nor ice packs could take it away, and I ended up studying for my math final sitting stiffly upright in our easy-chair.

I passed math, (I’m still not sure how), but the pain in my neck never went away. Whenever I read, wrote, or used the computer, I could feel the soreness starting to escalate. I couldn’t wear necklaces, turtlenecks, or any kind of collar. Even standing still could hurt. One minute had changed my life forever.

Now, if life were a science fiction film, I’d be trying right now to build a time machine to take me back into the past to change what happened. However, if I did, I’d have to go back and change my whole life. Why? Because I’ve learned that, though it only took a minute for the pain to come, I’d been preparing for its coming for years. The doctors claimed poor posture had ruined my neck, and I’d been standing with poor posture ever since I became a teenager! Yes, one minute changed my life, but it was the countless years of slouching every minute of every day that built up and caused the pain in my neck.

This is a reality we all need to understand, because it applies to every area of life. Once, long ago, I suddenly realized I hated a childhood friend. The feeling shocked me. Where had the hate come from? I realized my emotions weren’t the product of a minute, but the culmination of many years of teasing, competition, and wounded pride.

Is there a way to change things? Certainly! But it isn’t an easy way. For every minute I slouched through life, I now have to spend even more minutes sitting and standing up straight. For every minute I spent disliking my friend, I now have to spend even more minutes loving that person as Jesus would.

But is it worth it? Absolutely. Every minute I spend free from pain and hate is a minute I’m thankful for, and every minute I spend struggling against them is a minute in which I draw closer to Jesus.

Do you have something in your life that needs to change? Do you need to become more like Jesus? I want to encourage you to start right now. Start this very minute.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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This article has been read 407 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 03/13/11
Oh ouch! I didn't realize that was a possibility. You've turned it into a powerful lesson!
Sunny Loomis 03/15/11
Good job. I can hear my grandmother's voice, "Pull your shoulders back." Thank you.
Bonnie Bowden 03/15/11
After reading your piece, I took a minute to sit straighter in my chair. I never thought before about all the decisions that lead up to a "sudden" problem. Thank you to opening my mind to such possibilites, especially the need to change certain areas in my life.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/17/11
Congratulations on placing 16th overall!
Amanda Brogan03/19/11
Great piece in a very real, honest devotional style. I like how you showed the "different kinds of minutes." My dad uses the "fake minute" a lot. ;)

And what a wonderful lesson to end with!

Congrats on placing in the highest rankings! Awesome job!