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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Dead End (02/06/14)

TITLE: A Million DIfferent Reasons
By Judy Sauer
02/07/14


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A Million Different Reasons

For a million different reasons, I miss my old life. The life I had before
making an impulsive, not thought out, decision one Fourth of July.

I miss my freedom to come and go as I please regardless of time of day.
Losing my ability to drive from dusk to dawn or for more than 30 minutes
are the most heart-wrenching changes. The creative aspects of working are
sorely missed. I ultimately had to retire for medical reasons.

Where is the old me; the vibrant, sure of myself person that previously
inhabited this body? I miss not seeing clearly or walking straight.
Entertaining the thought of occasional use of a cane was not in the forefront
of my mind.

How did I get to these memories of old?

He was a thriving, active boy - not quite a teenager yet. In his youthful
exuberance he jumped off the front of the pontoon boat onto a white
cement step. Upon landing, he ran up the steep hill to be with the others at
the gathering.

I am not impetuous, especially at my middle-aged AARP status. Have you
ever done something without regard or reservation that left a lasting imprint
on your life?

That afternoon, I was more interested in meeting the people at the top of
the hill than to consider the potential risks or rewards for doing something
that would change the course of my life.

My journey off the pontoon boat was not as spritely or graceful as the young
lad’s. Quite the opposite happened. In my efforts to replicate the boy’s
flawless jump to the cement step, I had a very different outcome. My future
was never the same as before the impulsive choice I made that Fourth of
July.

My swan moment began when I jumped off the boat. Clearly, finding a
safer, saner, exit should have been my primary thought but it was not.
Lesson learned.

Rather than landing on the white cement step like the boy, I stepped on a
ghost version. My natural instincts to catch myself from falling kicked in as I
grabbed the railing of the boat.

Everything went in slow motion from that moment until I stopped moving. I
did a 180 degree left turn while holding onto the railing and began my
intimate encounter with the side of the boat. Grasping the top of the railing,
my hand moved as I dropped out of sight from the gathering so far up the
hill.

I had no anchor to keep me from further harm. In slow motion, I side
swiped the boat and could hear my teeth scraping the hard metal boat then
the crunching sound of my front tooth breaking. I made a huge splash when
falling into the cold waters of the lake.

My perfect smile is gone; I looked like Snaggletooth. I was more concerned
that my cell phone was ruined along with my expensive pedometer – both
were in my right pocket – and it was the right side of me that breached the
water.

Things happen for a reason. The Bible clearly explains this in the book of
Ecclesiastes 3 NIV. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every
activity under the heavens.”

For me this meant I had to …

* Kill my “poor me” attitude and do what’s in my power to feel better.
* Tear down my sense of entitlement for answers and build collaborative
relationship with my care providers.
* It is okay to cry about my situation and losses yet look for the funny
moments too.
* Grieve for what is now gone yet hope in the Lord for healing.
* There is only so much medical research one can do so stop scary myself.
* Keep my sense of humor and throw away my anger at the medical
community.
* Tear apart the old me and create a new me.
* Be still and listen for God’s soft voice, and prepare questions for doctor
appointments.

Despite seeing 17 specialists, the medical community cannot answer the
basic question: What is my diagnosis? We have hit a conclusive dead end. As
the years pass by, I am slowly resigning to the reality that we may never
know for sure the cause(s) of my medical symptoms. Only God knows, and
He has a reason for everything that happens. With God, there is no dead
end, only Heaven.


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This article has been read 251 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Larry Whittington02/13/14
Graphic story all should read and head.

Nice opening that leads to the cause of "the rest of the story".

Pain could be felt during the fall but with hopeful results that did not materialize.

Good lesson for us if we would only apply it to our own actions.
CD Swanson 02/14/14
Wow - so powerful and moving! Thank you for sharing your wisdom of life that was learned through the Lord and His poweful Word!

May God continue to bless you~
Toni Hammer 02/14/14
May you continue to find peace in the one who knows. This is a somber but encouraging piece of writing.
Marilyn Reicks02/14/14
Very well written...one can feel with him his pain, anxiety about his condition...and his resolution to go on and trust God.
Lillian Rhoades 02/15/14
You have touched a common chord with this story. I'm sure many readers, including myself, can relate. I noted that you changed a pronoun in the middle of the story from "I" to "He." To avoid confusing the reader, it's best to be consistent throughout the story.

Did you mean "scaring" rather than "scary?" I love the lessons you learned when you came to your dead end. Beautiful truths here. Great job with the topic!
Amelia Brown 02/15/14
Definitely heart braking but yet, hopeful. Thank you for sharing.
Wendy B McLain 02/15/14
I liked how the MC said, "Only God knows, and He has a reason for everything that happens." Great encouragement for those facing life's trials.

"My perfect smile is gone; I looked like Snaggletooth." Should this read, "My perfect smile was gone; I looked like Snaggletooth." Or, maybe, "My perfect smile is gone; I look like Snaggletooth."

I enjoyed your story and liked your ending sentence, "With God, there is no dead end, only Heaven." Amen!

God bless~
Lillian Rhoades 02/15/14
I rescind the following comment: "I noted that you changed a pronoun in the middle of the story from "I" to "He." To avoid confusing the reader, it's best to be consistent throughout the story."

Within the context of the story "He" was appropriately used.

Perhaps some sort of transitional sentence to introduce the memories part of the story might work well here for people like me.:-)

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/16/14
Oh it's hard to grow old sometimes. I could totally relate with the MC. In my head I'm still the same me, if only my body agreed.

You were able to create a floating sensation for me. I'm not quite sure why, perhaps it was the description of the boat or the memories wafting through the air. Though some of the transitions felt a bit sudden to me, overall it did work in a way I wasn't expecting.

The main red ink I would offer would be to write out numbers under a hundred, though even that the experts don't agree as some say to a hundred and others only to ten. I mention it more because the numerals stood out in my mind slightly distracting me from the superb storyline. I guess I'm older now too. I could almost feel myself age as I read and wondered where the girl of my past disappeared to.

You did a fine job of pacing this story and developing a calm sense of atmosphere.I also think you managed to capture the topic while staying true to your story. Nicely done.

Brenda Rice 02/17/14
This is well written and true to life as we age.

Thanks for sharing.
Bea Edwards 02/18/14
Ouch is all I can say as I relate and recuperate with the MC!
I fell not once but three times with equal lack of grace last Thursday in the water which had become a sandbar at low tide.
And the prospect of walking with a cane is eminent in my future if I keep trying to act like a youngster too.
Thanks for the timely reminder with your well written piece.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/20/14
Congratulations on ranking 7 in your level and 31 overall! The highest rankings can be found on the message boards.