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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Expect (07/11/13)

TITLE: THE "NORM"
By CD (Camille) Swanson
07/11/13


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After a riveting sermon we gathered in the lounge for conversation with friends and our fellow Christians. As always it was a joy catching up on what had happened during the week to our congregation family. After a lengthy and lively discussion we hugged and said our goodbyes.

My husband had to pick up some items and I opted to wait in the car. While enjoying the sun on my face, I took note of the various individuals trailing in and out of the store. Some looked happy, some appeared to be in a great rush, and others were walking while texting not watching where they were walking. One such individual banged into a man and nearly toppled him over in the process. The individual kept walking and texting, not so much as an acknowledgment or apology to the man. I was so upset, and what made it more difficult was that the man was homeless. He had a shopping cart with bottles, and various items, that appeared to be useless...but to this man a treasure.

I walked to him and asked if he were okay. He nodded silently and began to walk away, but before he could I touched his arm and told him, "Jesus loves you, and that's all that matters." He looked directly at me and for a just a moment, his eyes brightened. I smiled and handed him money and said, "God Bless you sir."

He seemed shocked, and overwhelmed, perhaps both. I believe that the first encounter, with the rude man was something he'd learned to expect...and, so he was unaffected by it. However, my behavior was completely unpredictable. It was something he'd never expect and that's why his eyes brightened. Albeit, for a very brief moment, nonetheless they did.

My husband came out as I was wiping tears away. Alarmed, he had asked what was wrong, so I explained what had transpired while he was shopping.

He was sickened by what he'd heard and said, "isn't it a shame that a rude gesture is the "norm," and something he's come to expect. Yet, an genuine act of kindness is outside of what he expects."

After my husband’s comment, I realized how sad, yet profound his statement was concerning the "norm" these days. Ostensibly, on the other side of the "norm" being Christians, we firmly believe that there are others carrying out Jesus' work of kindness and love. That somehow that homeless man will encounter a kind act again, and come to expect kind behavior over the "norm."

I looked at my husband and said, "At the very least, he heard that Jesus loves him..."


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This article has been read 295 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dannie Hawley 07/18/13
Wow, this one tells it like it is, pulling no punches. Isn't it sad that this impolite behavior has become the norm? As a society we have become so used to the plight of the homeless, that our compassion for them is gone. Equally, our intense interest in all things tech-on-the-go has stolen our manners, as well as our attention. This article gives us pause to check our own behavior. Are we acting in a way that puts a smile on the face of Jesus, or are we too busy to notice? Your MC did the right thing in checking on the guy and letting him know that Jesus cares about him, whatever society's failings. Nice job.
Noel Mitaxa 07/18/13
So true to life in its setting and dialogue.
I agree that rudeness is sadly becoming more prevalent, but on the plus side it allows basic Christian courtesy to stand out more clearly. Which enables us to have more influence in casual interaction - without having to know all the answers. How about that?
Virgil Youngblood 07/18/13
I heard a preacher say, "They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Your story clearly demonstrates that truth. Well done.
Pam Ford Davis 07/19/13
This reads like a winner!
Sad story that reveals the current sad state of the homeless and detachment of society. We had a close friend who walked into town with few personal possessions, and slept in the towns amphitheater. Along with his small satchel he carried Old Glory everywhere he walked. A Christian & recovering alcoholic-he regained his dignity, found employment, a used automobile and then an apartment!

Wing His Words
Tracy Nunes 07/19/13
Great example of "where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly" Great job!
Colin Swann07/24/13
This certainly is on topic. An interesting tale of lost hope finding a smidgeon of tender care in a callous world of self. Very challenging Challenge entry. Thanks!
Linda Goergen07/25/13
I really enjoyed this read! What a sad and true reflection indeed, of a society that more and more seems to becoming too busy and self-centered. But, part of the reason too, is people have become callused from all the scam artists out there, pretending to have needs. What is sad is that people have become so fearful of “being used” that true needs are also neglected! But the rudeness of bumping into someone and not even acknowledging it, has no excuse. Like the MC in this, I too, many times, wait in the car for my hubby and observe the people. And Praise God, I still observe good, along with the bad. Or maybe as Noel said, the good just stands out more. One thing for sure, we cannot change anyone else, but we, like the MC in this story can make sure we do the right thing and maybe we will stand out enough that someone else will see the light! Great job on this!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/27/13
This is a lovely devotion. You develop the MC immediately by showing her concern and eye for detail. That pulled me in and made me want to keep reading. I suspect it is based on one of your true experiences because, like the MC, you have a caring heart.

I did notice you missed quite a few commas, like ones that are an introductory phrase:After the sermon,
Also this line was confusing, but a comma and a tense change would make it clearer: I walked to him and asked if he were okay. He nodded silently, and began to walk away, but before he could, I touched his arm and said, "Jesus loves you, and that's all that matters." (You could just end it at arm, too)

I think little things like that and the POV shift are probably the reason your story didn't rate higher. (when your husband was sickened--you can't see inside his head, although many wives probably come close to it, but that statement would call for knowing his thoughts and feelings, instead you could describe his face: He crinkled his nose as he rolled his eyes.)

You definitely tell a great message. The world is turning into a selfish place these days and people want instant gratification so, like you demonstrated, are more attentive to electronics than people. I'm sure everyone who reads this will take away something important. You did a wonderful job! Congratulations on ranking 6th in level 3!