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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bark is Worse than His/Her Bite (10/17/13)

TITLE: The Greatest Note Ever
By C D Swanson


Initially, he wasn’t a sociable fellow, and was sorely lacking in the “friend department.” Still, there was something about him that was truly likeable. He was akin to a coconut, tough and hairy on the outside, yet something sweet deep inside the exterior.

His name was Fred Langley. He was short on words, possessed a sharp mind, and had an avid interest in sports. His days were mainly spent reading newspapers, magazines, and watching sports. He had no family, never married, and barely acknowledged anyone who came to visit him. In fact, he could be downright nasty, most of the time.

Everyone complained about him, doctors, nurses and volunteers. There was hardly anyone who wanted to be around Fred. Yet, Bea loved visiting him, and did so every single day. She never missed the opportunity to sit and chat with Fred.

“Fred, can I come in?”

Fred jumped up and greeted Bea as he waved her in with a smile. “Hi, I was wondering if you’d show up today…you’re a little late ain’t ya?”

“Well, I had a couple of emergency admissions, and family members to attend to.” She smiled wide as she handed him what he’d requested at their last visit.

He stared at it for a moment and then ran his gnarly hands over the leather bound Bible.

“Your request is my command.” She laughed, while she sat in the red leather chair by his bedside. “Everything is in there, just like we’ve discussed for the past two years.”

“Thank-you,” he said, as he continued to rub the cover.

“How are you today Fred? I heard you didn’t have a restful night. Something going on that you’d like to discuss?” Bea’s head tilted to one side. “It’s okay Fred…”

“I was thinking about all our talks, and how you’re just about the only one who visits me. The nurses and doctors don’t count ‘cuz they have ta come in. You’re my social worker… you kinda have ta visit, but you enjoy talking with me.”

“Yes Fred, very much so.”

“Well, anyhow, I was thinking about Jesus, and how he visited everyone. As a social worker you’re kind of in the same business as Jesus, ain’t ya?”

“Well, you could say that. I try to walk with the mind of Jesus, and be an example of what he represents. So, yes…kind of the same business.”

“Can you show me how to read this Bible?” He stood and opened it. “Can you show me the parts where Jesus is in it?”

“Of course Fred, it’d be an honor and my pleasure to do so.”

“I wanna see where He walks on the water, and I wanna read where He helped the blind man. But, I most wanna see where He says He forgives us…all of us.” His eyes were filled with unshed tears, “please…”

Bea touched his worn-out hands, and in a quivering voice said, “Yes, I’ll show you Fred.”

The next several years were spent speaking about Jesus. Fred was baptized, and accepted Jesus as his savior, and truly began to learn the word. The Bible became worn from its constant use. He truly was a new creation, and transformed into a completely different man.

“Bea, I don’t know how you did it! He really is a new man. No one wanted to go and see him, and now it’s a pleasure…what’d you do?” Peggy the head nurse asked as she scrunched her brows.

“It wasn’t me Peggy. It’s Him.” She pointed up and continued, “He can do all things, and, he came to the Lord. You’ve seen it for yourself. Has your opinion changed about God?”

She laughed, “One step at a time sister…I’m starting to think about it, I’ll give you that much.”

“That’s good enough for me.”

“You were right after all huh?”

“About what?”

“Fred. You’ve always said that his bark was bigger than his bite. You tried to encourage all of us in this nursing home to accept him, and be kind to him. It was so difficult, he tried our patience…I’m ashamed as a nurse to admit that. I guess you were right; he was a lonely mixed up man. But, still…it’s hard to be around someone that was so miserable.”

“I know. It’s okay Peggy, you’re a compassionate nurse, don’t even go there.”


When Fred passed away he left a note for Bea: Thanks for bringing me to Jesus. I’m putting in a good word for you right now. Love, Fred

*Based on a true story~

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This article has been read 363 times
Member Comments
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lynn gipson 10/24/13
This is brilliant. What a great way to show that Jesus can take the bark out of anyone. Your writing is easy, sweet, and such a joy to read. This is one of your best, I think. Thanks for giving me a lift I needed today with this heartwarming story. HE LIVES!
PamFord Davis 10/24/13
I could easily imagine your main characters and rejoiced in the change Jesus made. There are many grouches that have been hardened by difficulties. You shared a lesson I will remember.

Wing His Words
Dannie Hawley 10/24/13
I just love a happy ending, and this one ended eternally happy. Wonderful that it's true! Thanks for sharing this touching story.
Danielle King 10/27/13
This is so realistically written that I knew it had to be a true account. Such a heart-warming and encouraging story. Loved it!
Linda Goergen10/27/13
Oh yes—I loved, loved, loved this! I have often heard it said that “the unlovable are the ones that need loving the most.” You brought that saying to life in this heartwarming story! The story flows so well and encompasses so much detail, imagery, emotion and meaning in such a little space! This is just a reminder for us all to have more patience with those who seem to try it the most! And to remember God is still in the "changing people" business and it is never too late to witness! Just a terrific job on this! I wish it could hit every nursing home nurse’s deck for them to read and be encouraged and moved by it! This is a winner in my book!
Noel Mitaxa 10/31/13
Very touching story that has that authoritative ring of truth.
I'm surprised it didn't rate higher.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/02/13
Oh I love this. I used to be an RN before I became too sick and I really struggled with the way some nurses treat patients. I also know what it's like to be on the other side of the bed and I think all medical personnel should experience that. You did a brilliant job with this piece. Congratulations on ranking 19 overall! Happy Dance!