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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Weary (05/03/12)

TITLE: Why Everyone Hates Helen
By Cheryl von Drehle


“Shut the front curtains; lock the door,” called Charlotte to her daughter. “I see Helen headed this way.”

Katie looked up briefly from her book. “That’s not nice, Mom. She’s so needy.”

Charlotte sighed heavily. “Oh, I suppose you are right; although, I don’t see you entertaining her.”

Katie smiled and went on reading.

Two raps on the front door and then Helen pushed it open and breezed into Charlotte’s kitchen.

“Mornin’! Am I in time for coffee?” Helen plopped down at the kitchen table. “So, Ellie called last night. She is doing great at Stanford. Sure wish her father had stuck around to see her successes. I still don’t know why he left. Oh well. I see your daffodils are coming up. You should have planted them a little farther apart. Wish I had gotten some planting done last fall. Oh well, maybe this year. Goodness … you have quite a mess on your hands in the kitchen this morning. Did you have a party last night?”

Helen chattered on cheerily for fifteen minutes before realizing that once again Charlotte had not offered her any coffee and was not listening to her one-way conversation. She fell silent for a few seconds before pushing away from the table. “Well, I best be on my way. I have a lot of things to do today.”

Charlotte gave Helen a barely perceptible nod, and then Helen was out the door.

45 minutes later, Helen rapped on the door to Reverend Michael’s office and then pushed it open without an invitation.

“Uh, good morning Helen. I’m very busy here today… .” Michael’s voice drifted into silence as he perceived that Helen planned on staying awhile. He sighed audibly. “So, is there a problem?”

“I’m thinking of leaving the church.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. What seems to be the problem?”

“Everyone is just so unfriendly. Like Charlotte for instance. When I was at her home this morning … I visit her most mornings … well, she hardly even acknowledges my presence!”

Helen continued in this vein for several minutes while Michael’s vision became increasingly unfocused. She finally lapsed into silence.

“Helen, I have a verse from Proverbs I would like you to consider.” He thumbed through a Bible and handed it across the desk to her. “Read right here, Proverbs 25:17,” pointing out an underlined verse.*

Helen eagerly picked up the book and read the verse the Reverend indicated. She paused, and then set the Bible back on the desk, quietly stood up and walked out of the office without a word. Reverend Michael considered going after her to try and reason with her. Instead, he said a silent prayer that the Holy Spirit would lovingly teach Helen a hard truth that she badly needed to learn.

*Proverbs 25:17, NASB: “Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor's house, or he will become weary of you and hate you.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Danielle King 05/11/12
I like this entry. I have a Helen or two in my life but they don't seem to get the subtle hints with my huge yawns or when I vaccum the carpet around them. Thanks for the tip!
C D Swanson 05/11/12
I will be sure to keep that Proverbs passage in a frame! Clever, funny and a wonderful message.

I think we all know a "Helen." Nicely done.

Thank you. God Bless~
Joe Moreland05/12/12
This was very well written and to the point. I found myself hoping, though, that the people in Helen's life were going to see through the irritation she caused and realize that she was crying out for help and/or companionship. Her husband left, her daughter left for school...she's all alone.

When the point turned out to be that she needed to change, so that she would stop bothering her neighbors with her "neediness", I was a little dissapointed. That's not to say you've written anything wrong, for all I know, that's what you wanted us to see. Or maybe you agree with those who just wanted to make Helen leave them alone. It's something to mull on, for sure. I think this was a wonderful piece because of how much it's made me think. Great job!
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/14/12
I have a Helen in my life right now and I'm trying to find that balance of giving her some quality time where I'm honestly spending time being there for her... but at the same time not allowing her to manipulate me into giving more than I can or should. It's a constant learning process, but a healthy one to learn, I think. Great food for thought!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/17/12
This story left me with such sadness. My heart ached for poor Helen. Being lonely is such a terrible thing. I can understand where Charlotte and the minister were coming from though. Perhaps it sadden me so because I have seen lonely people make dipterous decisions from suicide to settling for an abusive mate. When wondering why these people would stay, the obvious answer was that abuse hurts less than loneliness. This is a well-written piece that I'm certain will touch many people in many different ways. It takes talent to achieve that. Nicely done.