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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Commitment (01/05/12)

TITLE: The Faithfullness of Mrs. Robin
By Kathy Stevens


Johnny is watching for Janet to come home today. This is the first month of her new year as a teacher, and he is planning to surprise her with a special evening for the two of them.

“Rudden!” He hears her car in the driveway and is on his way out the door to meet her when he sees her put her head down on the steering wheel. Opening the car door, he sees that she is crying.

“Sweetheart, what’s the matter?” he says helping her out of the car.

Between sobs she tells him. “Oh, Johnny, I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I can take it anymore.”

He helps her out of the car and presses her head into his massive chest while he holds her.

“Come on in the house where we can talk, and I’ll fix you some tea. That’ll help.”

“My head is spinning, and I feel like giving up.”

“Shh, now, it’ll be all right.” He says as he strokes her long black curls.

He loves her hair, the way it feels and the special fragrance that comforts him as he nestles his nose deep into her head. He would do anything for her.

In the house, he gently places her into her favorite over-stuffed chair. It always seems to make the world’s troubles go away. He hands her a tissue to blot her pretty eyes -- eyes that are usually smiling or laughing. What could have happened to mar the beautiful radiance on her face that he is accustomed to?

“Would you like some tea now?”

“No, just hold me. I feel as if I’ve had a beating.”

“Tell me who did this to you.”

“It’s just my job. The kids were especially rough today. I’ve wanted to teach for such a long time, to help kids to learn the things that will carry them in life, but . . . but I’m not sure I can do it anymore. These kids seem like they don’t have even basic social skills. They act like they’re a bunch of wild animals turned loose for me to corral for hours a day. I don’t know how I’m ever going to teach them anything.”

While he holds her, he is praying about how to solve this problem that has hurt his precious one. He has an idea.

“Come with me, I have something to show you.” he says as he tries to entice her to come with him. I think you’ll like it. Remember the Robin who made a nest right outside our kitchen window?”

“Oh, yes, she is so pretty. I always admire her and the way she protects her nest. I’m in awe of the way she sits there day after day even during the bad rain storm we had last night. How is she today?”

Looking out over her nest, they see little baby chicks that have just hatched.

“Oh, look. They’re so cute. She was so committed to their safety that she didn’t care about her own.”

Pausing for a minute, it is as if a light has dawned on her.

“Oh, I get it now -- commitment. Her commitment to her babies brought them life.”

She sits down for a minute to take in this new revelation.

“Johnny, do you think I could be as strong as that Robin?”

Johnny guides a curl from her forehead and then tilts her head up to meet his eyes.

“You did make a commitment when you signed your contract to teach these kids. I guess maybe you’ll just have to sit on the nest as long as it takes. Of course, we’ll pray for them and bless them. That always makes the difference.”

This is the answer she needs, and a broad smile escapes to cross her mouth. Her eyes begin to sparkle again.

“Yes, I don’t have to do this alone, do I? I have God, and I have you to help me keep them covered in prayer. We can do this, together. I love you, Johnny.”


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This article has been read 361 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Curtis01/12/12
A beautiful analogy of how we can be committed to others even in the hard times, when it seems futile. Commitment is sacrificial, and we really cannot do it very well without our Father's help. I really enjoyed this. Well done.
Brenda Shipman 01/13/12
Having been a teacher, I could relate to your MC's frustration (you did a good job showing that, by the way.) Loved the metaphor of the robin, illustrating that sometimes loving little ones means sacrifice, being uncomfortable, persevering. That is certainly what one needs in order to be a mother or a teacher. Most of the dialogue was believable, some was not (i.e. When her husband told her about the robin. Given her distraught state of mind, I can't imagine her giving such a long response. Mine would've been simply, "Yeah." It's like you were trying to give the reader information about the bird through her response and it came off as stilted, rehearsed.) Anyway, not a huge deal, and it didn't keep me from enjoying your good story. Blessings and joy as you write!
Theresa Santy 01/13/12
I loved the message, but I thought the relationship portrayed would have been better suited as a mother-daughter one, rather than husband-wife. (At least in my world.) I realize there are many husbands out there who are sensitive and nurturing, but I had a difficult time relating, since my husband would not rush off to make me tea and grab a tissue (and he wouldn't call it a tissue). He actually would make me tea if I was struck with fever and ache, and he would hand me a tissue if I was sobbing and asked for one, but he would say, "Sure, uh---where do we keep the Kleenex?"

Again, that's just my perspective, and I did love the message and I adored the robin metaphore.
C D Swanson 01/13/12
This was a sweet story...I am smiling at the responses about "husbands." hahahaha.
But some husbands can be nurturing and responsive, as this character was.

I enjoyed it - nicely written. God Bless~
Noel Mitaxa 01/18/12
Very engaging and sensitive approach. I also loved the simplicity of the example.
Jenna Dawn01/18/12
This is a sweet story with a nice message.

I think the opening to your story would be more interesting and draw the reader in better if it contained stronger verbs, included some action and showed us Johnny's anticipation for Janet's arrival. Here's an example.

"Johnny stares out the living room window with expectation. He drums his leg. Janet will pull into the driveway at any minute where he will unveil the surprise he has planned in celebration of her first month as a teacher."

In this sentence: “Come with me, I have something to show you.” he says as he tries to entice her to come with him.

First of all, Johnny is already stating "Come with me". It is unnecessary to repeat that he is enticing her to come with him. Eliminate "he says" (which you could do throughout your story) and focus on more action with strong verbs. Perhaps "Come with me, I have something to show you." Taking her hand, he draws her from the car.

Your story fit the topic nicely and the analogy of the Robin was creative. I'm sure this would be an encouragement to many a frazzled teacher! Nice job.
Leola Ogle 01/18/12
I loved reading this. It made me smile! Thanks for sharing! God bless!
Danielle King 01/19/12
I loved this sweet, gentle story and definitely loved the husband! Do these sort of men really exist? lol!