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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: End (02/13/06)

TITLE: Tommy's Prayer
By James Clem


“And they all lived happily ever after. The End.” Lauren smiled warmly and held the last page open for an extra moment, gazing lovingly at her only child. He was growing up so fast, she thought; soon he would be reading this book on his own.

Her smile quickly vanished as she noticed his forehead was slightly furrowed. She gently caressed his head to casually check for a fever -- no apparent temperature.

Tommy bit his lip before asking what was on his mind, “Mommy, do all stories end happily ever after?” His eyes pleaded for simple assurance that his world was safe and secure.

Lauren waited a moment before answering. She didn’t want to ever outright lie to Tommy. She chose her words carefully, “This one does Tommy -- why do you ask?” Clearly there was another question lurking behind that one.

Tommy squirmed. Lauren held her breath as he gathered his thoughts. “I heard you and Daddy yelling last night. I got scared.”

Lauren sucked in her breath. She had hoped Tommy had slept through that whole thing. She and Jim sometimes argued over the most stupid things. It generally happened when they were both tired and neither was willing to give any ground.

Lauren leaned over and kissed the top of his head, “I’m sorry, honey. We didn’t mean to wake you. Everything is fine; you don’t have to be scared. Don’t worry about it at all, okay?”

Tommy frowned slightly. Lauren blinked back tears of frustration and determination. He was too young to be having these kinds of questions. She and Jim had to figure out how to end these fights. In one sense, they were just a way to release pent up stress, but they had to find another solution. It was not right for Tommy. It wasn’t even right for them.

She grabbed Tommy’s hands in both of hers. “Your Daddy and I love each other. And sometimes we do yell at each other, but it doesn’t mean we don’t love each other. Do you understand, sweetheart?” Tommy shook his head, of course that didn’t make any sense.

Lauren sighed heavily sending a silent prayer to the Comforter. “Lord, what do I tell him? Please give me your words of comfort.”

“Honey, the Bible tells us to trust God in everything – even if we don’t understand. The only thing I know to do is to pray about it. You know that God hears us when we pray, don’t you Tommy?” He nodded his head fervently.

“Will you pray for Mommy and Daddy to stop fighting?” Again he nodded his head enthusiastically.

He closed his eyes tightly and was quiet for a long moment, and then said with the simple words of a five-year old, “God, please help Mommy and Daddy love each other again. Amen.”

Lauren could no longer control her tears. She hugged him tight. “Thank you, Tommy. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to tell Daddy about your praying for us like this. And I’m sure that God will help me and Daddy find a way to not yell and fight so much. I love you!”

“I love you too, Mommy.”

She fluffed his pillow around him and pulled his covers up tight. “Good night, Little One.”

She turned off the light and went into the living room to wait for Jim. He wouldn’t be home for another hour or so. In her mind she thought about what a fine man he was. He worked hard. She prayed for Jim, putting their marriage securely in God’s hands.

With God’s help, they would end their quarreling and remember what they first saw in each other. They were so very different in some ways and very much alike in others. Their marriage was blessed by God; they were truly better together than apart.

If they would just once again put God in the center of their marriage, they would be able to withstand anything the world could throw at them.

They could have the storybook ending there everybody wanted -- they could live happily ever after. The End.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Melanie Kerr 02/20/06
i loved the way that you provided a setting to explore the relationship between the husband and wife in such a postive way. I like happy endings and it looks like they will have one!
Phyllis Inniss02/21/06
I think the mother handled the situation with much wisdom. God gives wisdom to those who fear Him and turn to Him for help. Tommy has a very good start in life.
Kevin Kindrick02/22/06
This brought tears to my eyes. I love hearing the prayers of children, and someday I hope to see God's face when a child prays. Thanks for sharing.

God bless,

Anita Neuman02/23/06
You wrote this so realistically! The mom did indeed handle the situation well, and Tommy's questions and reactions were very age-appropriate. Good job!
Jan Ackerson 02/23/06
I love the way you handled the dialog. Very sweet story.
Julianne Jones02/24/06
Very realistic. Unfortunately children - even very young children - do pick up on the tensions in a household and are often quite distressed when parents fight. I like the way you had the mum handle this. A good little lesson here.
Jeff Ford02/24/06
I read the end first (bad habit) and thought it would be cheesy and unoriginal. Much to my surprise, its "unoriginal" ending was actually quite purposeful. Because of the nature of Tommy's age and understanding, the ending concluded simply for children and had greater meaning for adults.
Crista Darr02/25/06
Your message is great - a God-centered marriage is the way to a happily-ever-after marriage. My only suggestion is to try italics for silent prayers (like mom's) and thoughts. This works well to separate them from the dialogue. Well done!
Shari Armstrong 02/25/06
A well told story -a real fear that a lot of kids unfortunately deal with (my sister told me she and her husband are one of three sets of parents in my nephew's class that are still married to the other parent!) Nicely done.
Helen Murray03/02/06
You tell a very real story. I like it.