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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Employment (01/26/12)

TITLE: The Widow's Might
By annie keys
01/31/12


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My most favorite room in our house is the suite bathroom; huge windows flank both walls of the eastern corner. Morning sunshine floods into the room washing away the last stains of the night with almost blinding natural light. Right now, I need this shower of light every morning to cleanse my heart from the gray sadness that clings to me after another night of sleeping alone.

Contemplating the mirror, I wonder who that haggard old lady is and why shes wearing my pajamas. Shaking my head in wonder at how fleeting life is, I turn the shower on. Waiting for the water to come to temp, I go to the closet to select something that a kind, yet discerning, administrator at an employment agency would wear. Day number 345 since the death of my beloved husband, Walter, begins.

Morning ablutions completed, I dress in a softly patterned dress with a flowing skirt that gives me the illusion of grace. Finally downstairs, in the sun bright silence of the kitchen, I sip bold black espresso. Opening my executive day planner, I ritually pen, This is the day which the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be GLAD in it in the wide top margin.

Pausing before looking at the details of the day, I pick up Walts eyeglasses lying on the corner of the table and clutch them to my heart. As the first anniversary of his death looms near, I still struggle to live my life without him. It wasnt supposed to be like this; I was supposed to die first! Walt would have been much more adept at accepting the rigors of life, alone, than I.

The thought of him so near, I found my nose searching in vain for one more scent of his after shave. I firmly place the spectacles back on the table. Work, I must get to work Once at the office, I have no choice but to set aside the affectations of loneliness and dismiss all the comforting props of a grieving widow.

The heart attack had taken Walt so suddenly; thered been no hint of ill health. Sometimes, I still strained, listening to the silence, thinking the nightmare will be over and Ill hear his voice call to me one more time. I must get to the office quickly or the day will be wasted in unproductive crying.

Working outside the home had never been one of my responsibilities. Walt had been successful in setting up and running a small employment agency. After the children had grown and gone, I worked with him at the office, scheduling appointments and acting as a search hound for hopeful clients.

The last ten years, Walt, in his firm but gentle way, had shown me every aspect of the business; all the intricacies of running the company. Id had no idea that I was being groomed to run our small business alone. Both God and Walter had been faithful, without my even realizing; Id been fully equipped for the task now at hand.

As I stand at the kitchen sink, rinsing my coffee cup, a wave of fresh grief surprises me, causing me to lean on the counter top to keep from sinking to the floor. Mistakenly, Id thought these moments of raw, consuming agony were done. At first, these waves of emotional pain had come regularly; leaving me limp, sobbing and drained.

The weeks following the funeral, Id often spent hours curled up on the kitchen floor sobbing into the uncaring silence. The cold, hard reality of the ceramic tile had been a clutch point in the fevered frenzy of my mourning. Many times, in the painful weeks and months since, I had begged God to allow me to die as well. Contrary to poetic license, time doesnt cure anything, but it has taken me further away from the raw agony of bereavement. Only Gods grace and mercy have sustained me through the pain.

Forcibly turning from the memory, I open the door and step out into the disinfecting morning sunshine. God will give me strength for another day; I force my mind to focus on the unemployed that wait on me to find work to sustain their homes. I must be patient with myself, give myself time. Smiling, I realize those are the exact words Walt would say to me if he was here to cheer me on. Then, I realized that Walt would be proud of me; Im going to be okay.


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Member Comments
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CD Swanson 02/02/12
This was so powerful it took my breath away, and made me cry. I was feeling all of your emotions, and wanting to place my arms around you throughout the entire story.

Everything you wrote about my mom felt when my dad died...And, so many of my friends when they lost their spouse.

This was completely on topic, and my heart goes out to you. My condolences on your great loss...May the Lord continue to bring you the strength to carry on, and may He keep His arms around you always.

God Bless you my dear~

Hiram Claudio02/02/12
You are amazing! I just felt I had to say that. This piece was so moving, so real, so powerful. You wrote from such an vulnerable place and yet, so open and expressive.

This was so wonderfully written and I was inspired by the courage you display in writing it (and sharing it) and by the power you display in walking through each day.

The Lord and your beloved husband aren't the only ones cheering you on ... I gladly join them!
Leola Ogle 02/02/12
I just absolutely adore you, and I don't even know who you are. This was so moving that I, too, wanted to hug you and comfort you! God bless you richly, my dear!
Helen Curtis02/03/12
Wow this is so powerful. Is it anecdotal, or fictional? Not that it matters, we have each experienced this kind of pain in our lives, or know of those who have. You have so beautifully captured what grief is like; I love the line that talks about time making it easier not being so. Words cannot describe how amazing this is. Well done indeed.
harvestgal Ndaguba02/03/12
How well you captured the feelings and greif of loosing a spouse. You took us right into the MC's life and let us capture a glimpse of her reality.
Theresa Santy 02/07/12
This is a powerfully moving piece. I loved how sunshine was woven through the piece, the way God's love is woven through our lives. In the last paragraph I was taken back by the parallel you made between the MC's struggle, and the struggle of those she's employed to assist. Wow.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/08/12
This is beautiful. You really touched my heart and make me appreciate my husband's snoring. You wrote a powerful message while staying on topic.
Hiram Claudio02/09/12
It touched me to read this again ... congratulations on the 2nd place finish!
Leola Ogle 02/09/12
Yay Annie! Congrats, dear lady!
Linda Goergen02/09/12
Congratulations on a well deserved second place win! What a touching story, the truth of the piece and raw emotion just makes your heart reach out to the MC. Great job.
CD Swanson 02/10/12
Congratulations on your win!
God Bless you~