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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beautiful (11/07/05)

TITLE: My Day with Aunt Fanny (Historical fiction)
By Benjamin Stephens


So, you have come to hear my story. Very well, I will tell you what I recall. The tea pot is boiling and a cup waits to the right of the cupboard.

Comfortable? Good!

I am ninety-five years old today and I was not always an old woman sitting alone by the fire. There was a time when I was a rather unpleasant child, an unyielding confirmation that all children accumulate enough pride and arrogance to shame their elders. To my discredit I was familiar with the skill and became quite good in the exercise thereof.

While I have no personal recollection of the events leading to my blindness, I do know that a doctor of ill repute was to blame for my nearly lifelong blanket of darkness. I bear him no grudge. Perhaps his blunder was used by God to make me into something I was incapable of being otherwise.

Do not make me seem something I was not, I meant what I said. Good!

My grandmother did most of my formal raising. I do not recall being afraid of anything. I would take part in activities that really required two good eyes - I possessed neither and am certain to have a few scars to prove my lack.

I did not want to learn Braille, so I exercised my brain by memorizing long passages of Scripture and prose. In many ways I was a star pupil save for my own predilection to chicanery. Simply put, I was a handful both inside and outside the classroom.

All is well? Good!

My poetry was the first thing to gain a bit of notoriety. I was often commissioned to write a poem for some dignitary or group. I once recited a poem for the President.

God apparently saw something inside me that I could not see - no matter the eyes that stood vacant and unknowing.

God gave me the heart of a poet, but He also gave me a love for music. That is the real reason I did not like Braille. My fingers were too coarse from playing the guitar to notice the Braille writing.

Through my love of words and music I began to write songs. Once I started writing I found it difficult to stop. I wrote the songs as much for me as anyone. It could be argued that these little songs are simply a journal in my Christian faith.

It seems that when I stopped paying attention to such things, the beauty of a face I have yet to fully behold came into view and I could do no less than write about such glorious wonder and awe. The greatest solace I have found in life is doing the hard work of concentrating on the beauty of God. When all else failed me or those I loved best departed for a better country, the beauty of God has been the only thing that gave me the courage to walk on.

These eyes failed me early and they are no use to me today, yet there is coming a day when I shall gaze on that beautiful face with eyes that will catch every hue and color and I shall be undone in the scorching gaze of His love. I long for the day.

Yes, those are tears. Be a dear, would you? Place another piece of wood on the fire? Good!

I am afraid my fingers no longer work like they once did, but if you will indulge the crooning of an old woman, I would sing for you.

Yes? Good!

Blessed assurance
Jesus is mine
Oh what a foretaste
Of glory divine

Heir of salvation
Purchase of God
Born of His spirit
Washed in His blood

This is my story
This is my song
Praising my Savior
All the day long.

You see, when this life is over I have such beauty waiting for me. Each morning when I rise and I know that today is a day to praise the God who makes eyes - yet somehow lets me see.

What? Oh, yes, I am tired. Perhaps we’ll talk again another day. Good!

Note: Fanny Crosby died on February 12, 1915, at the age of 95, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She was a prolific writer, penning more than 3,000 hymns and poems. Her funeral was attended by more people than her friend P.T. Barnum. Her original burial market was inscribed simply, “She hath done what she could.”

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This article has been read 1250 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Pat Guy 11/14/05
Someone did a really good job here! :) Loved reading this!
Garnet Miller 11/14/05
Hopefully that can be said of us all one day- that we 'did what we could' to add a bit of beauty to the world that has shared its beautiful wonders with us!
Daniel Owino Ogweno11/15/05
The other day, a brother in the Lord asked me if I could do certain thing. I answered that I couldn't. Another brother overheard and shouted back, "Yes you can!" Surprised, I looked at him. He added, "You are a man of God who can do all you can do". May we do all that we could do. A story of hope that makes us cope. Thanks!
dub W11/15/05
Good job, I am sure she would be proud of your interpretation. Thanx.
terri tiffany11/16/05
I loved this piece. You brought her to life and I loved the parts in between where you broughht her back to her visitor. Very creative.
Anita Neuman11/16/05
Ditto to Dub - you've done her proud!
Sally Hanan11/16/05
Well done for managing to pack in so much of her story into the confines of 750 words.
Beth Muehlhausen11/16/05
Felt I could reach out and touch this woman's heart. Effective story-telling!
Cassie Memmer11/16/05
Wonderful! And so enjoyable to read. Oh, what God is able to do when we let Him. In our weakness He is strong! Good job!
Val Clark11/17/05
You gave a realistic insight into the heart of this woman. A good read. Thank you. Yeggy
Shari Armstrong 11/17/05
Loved it! Her story is such an inspiration -as is heard in her music. One of the ladies at church is legally blind. She's often said that she's had more fun since losing her eyesight than before. God's really drawn her close through it. I could see her being friends with Fanny! (and her name is Fran lol)
Alexandra Wilkin11/18/05
Such an imaginative way of telling this lady's story, and beautifuly structured and told. God bless.
Julianne Jones11/18/05
You have skilfully brought her to life and made her 'live' and managed to convey a valuable message at the same time. Well done.
Christl Boyd11/18/05
Beautiful...this was simply beautiful! What an incredible tribute to the Lord and his awesome and sometimes misunderstood ways. Thank you.
DeAnna Brooks11/21/05
Truly, an inspirational capture of Beauty, Benjamin. Fanny was a remarkable woman ... one I need reminded of when my eyes get a bit too focused on my own life, and the troubles I 'think' it bears. Herein lies beauty, to see in the face on all things Beauty Himself. All else naught. Congratulations on a most deserved win!!! Blessed Assurance ... mine indeed.
Dan Louise Mann11/21/05
Congratulations on your well-deserved win this week. Kudos!
janet rubin11/21/05
congrats! Fanny seems like an old friend to so many of us who have sung her hymns for years. I had no idea she was from CT like me!
Laurie Glass 11/21/05
Excellent! Congrats on your well-deserved win!
Helen Harris11/21/05
Very Touching Deserve Win. Beautiful Share. Thanks for Sharing. Helen
Congratulations Benjamin!
Linda Germain 11/21/05
Benji, excellent (as usual!)
Suzanne R11/23/05
Excellent, excellent, excellent. I love historical biographies at the best of times, and yours was no disappointment. Well done! And congrats on first place!
Marilyn Schnepp 12/04/05
The date on my critique will show you that I'm a "Johnny Come Lately"..but I am reading Winners today to see if they rub off on me. Very nice bio of a great songwriter...and you mentioned an ancestor of mine...P.T. Barnum, which I did not realize was a friend of hers. God BLess and Congratulations!