Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Extra (08/29/13)
TITLE: Feeling Like a Comma
By Bonnie Rose Hudson
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She pushed her chair away from her desk, turned out the bedroom light, and crawled under the covers. Nothing was simple anymore. Last year, life was like math homework—everything had an answer and a right way to find it. Ever since her fifteenth birthday, though, life had turned into grammar class—rules with one endless set of exceptions after another. She never knew if she was getting the answer “right” or not because of the many subjective elements of grammar and writing. Tonight her battle had been with commas—when to use them and when to leave them out. Commas marched like sentries across her mind as she drifted into a fitful sleep.
She opened her eyes when she heard the whispering.
“What are we doing here? Punctuation marks aren’t supposed to leave the page. We’re going to get caught.”
Rachel blinked. There on her desk were a dozen commas. One was perched on her paper clip holder; another balanced on a pen. One was curled up against her cell phone, and another was hanging apostrophe-style from the spiraled edge of a notebook.
The lead comma, at least two font sizes larger than the others, called them all to attention from his position atop her desk lamp.
“The meeting of the Commas for a Cause support group will come to order.”
Rachel held her breath and listened.
“We’ve called this meeting,” the lead comma continued, “to give us all a safe place to voice our feelings. It is a confusing time to be a comma, and we need each other now more than ever. Who wants to start?”
The comma perched on her paper clip holder was the first to speak. “It’s all this texting and chirping or whatever it’s called. Who’s going to waste a valuable character on a little old comma?”
“I knew our days were numbered when they started eliminating serial commas,” replied the comma balancing on her pen.
“Now they don’t even want us in between adjectives in a sentence,” said the comma curled up against her cell phone.
“They treat us like extra punctuation.” The comma hanging from the spiral notebook swayed back and forth as it spoke. “No one is sure where we fit. They don’t know when to use us and when to leave us out.”
Rachel could hold her breath no longer. A loud sigh escaped her lips. She blinked and focused her attention on her desk once more. But the commas were gone. All was still and quiet.
Had she been dreaming? What else could it have been?
Fictional or real, however, the commas had a point, and Rachel knew how they felt. No longer was she sure where she fit in or when she was needed. She never knew from one moment to the next if her friends would treat her as one of the team or an extra piece of punctuation, deleted and tossed aside.
She pulled herself from bed and returned to her desk. She needed her tablet—where had she left it? She scanned the top of her desk and spotted it reaching out from the pages of her Bible, the spot she had slid it when she’d finished her quiet time earlier this evening.
She opened the Bible to the page her tablet marked. Her eyes fell on Matthew 5. “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house … Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
Rachel paused. Could it really be as simple as that? God had created her to shine his light in whatever room he placed her. No matter what changed about the rooms she found herself in, her job was to shine.
God promised to pay attention to the details of his plan. She may not be a jot or tittle in his Word, but she knew she was part of his plan. While her words were certainly not divinely chosen, her place in his story was. She would rest tonight knowing that God would place her wherever he knew best. Period.
Scripture from Matthew 5:15-18 KJV
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