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

TITLE: The End of the Day (ii)
By Al Boyce


It's Sunday night. I find myself wondering, "When did life get so, well, real?"

Many years ago, in a stressful job as a newspaper reporter, I worked with a guy who was so Type A I sometimes thought he ironed his shoelaces. Stuck to his computer monitor, where he would see it every day, was this note:


He'd be there some nights at 9 or 10, when I would be coming to work the graveyard shift. He'd point at the note and smile, as if he found great solace in it. I'd laugh at him and shake my head.

Tonight my head is nodding, not shaking. My eyes are trying to close, but I feel like there is something I need to wrestle with a bit.

Today was like one of those days my friend John dreaded, I think. Yet it wasn't.

Right now, at 9:00, I'm banished from our sunroom and the dubious solace of the television because that's where Myra is sleeping. She's a homeless woman who's been with us a few days now, while her husband awaits heart surgery across town. I take her to the hospital on the way to work -- at least on the week days. Today being Sunday, I took her to church first, then to the hospital, then picked her up.

Otherwise, it was a pretty typical Sunday (except that my wife is recovering from minor surgery and had to stay in bed most of the day). Cindy still typed up her personal notes to 20 or 30 homeless people so I could staple them to the bags we'd be putting food in shortly.

Me and a couple other volunteers visited three grocery stores in 20 degree weather, gathering the food they were going to throw away and putting a sandwich, bread and a dessert in each bag. We delivered the bags to the camps, picked up the 11 people who wanted to join us for church and got to the second service with 1 minute to spare.

It's God's timing always. He will stop the sun if He needs to for us to accomplish His tasks.

I found myself grinning in the back of the church service as the homeless mingled with friends at church. One got a line on a job. Another received prayer. The sermon -- about believing God when He tells us we are loved -- is perfect for one young woman we brought. She very much needs to know God's love and value it above the opinion of others. But then, don't we all need to know that?

Then it's back to our house for lunch -- an affair made a bit more chaotic because Cindy is under the weather. Then everyone heads back to their camps, while Myra and I head for the hospital and Cindy is left to tend as best she can with our 11-year-old autistic son who is showing signs of a fever.

There's time, so much time. Time to clean up the dishes, take out the trash, fix my wife something to eat and bring her ice for her healing surgical wounds. There's even time to watch part of a basketball game with my son, which seems to perk him up some.

There's time to get back to the hospital, get dinner, tuck my son in bed with some ibupropen. There's time to visit with the other homeless couple living here about their plans for work tomorrow.

A long, long day. It seemed it would never end; that I would never pull together a couple of minutes to write down these thoughts and just rest.

Now clicking clocks vie with the humming refrigerator for domination of the night air. Lights are turning off.

There's gentle snoring coming from the sunroom, where Myra has no worries about this day -- and maybe the next.

Yes, this long, long day is at an end.

And part of me is already missing it.

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This article has been read 1157 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brandi Roberts02/20/06
A very interesting take on the subject! You held my attention right to the end! Well done!
Sandra Petersen 02/23/06
Knowing from the message boards the trial you and your wife are going through, this article impacts me even more. Your statement, 'I find myself wondering, "When did life get so, well, real?"' hit me first. Loved this line: "I worked with a guy who was so Type A I sometimes thought he ironed his shoelaces." I can actually picture that type of personality.
You know, I got to the end of this article, and there were so many wonderfully worded sentences and phrases,(like "It's God's timing always. He will stop the sun if He needs to for us to accomplish His tasks." and "Now clicking clocks vie with the humming refrigerator for domination of the night air.") that I felt I couldn't copy them all! And, of course, the last two sentences clinch the whole thing! There was only one part that I was puzzled about. Was John your Type A friend, and what about your day would he have dreaded?
Thank you so much for sharing one day in your life with us, your readers. Thank you and Cindy for working in the Lord's harvest field.

Al Boyce02/23/06
I guess the cat's out of the bag as to who wrote this so I'll reply and add a little context.

Sandra, John (my reporter friend) dreaded the length and busy-ness of the day. Always one more detail to attend to, one more story to rewrite. He wanted predictability by created his own chaos.

Context I didn't have room for: My wife, Cindy, actually prayed as she was awaiting surgery for possible cancer, "Lord, let me be so preoccupied this week with helping others that I can't think about myself."

More background: Someone donated $200 to the minstry before Ron went to the hospital. It ended up paying bus far for he and Myra to go home to West Virginia where they are homeless no more! Praise God.
Anita Neuman02/23/06
Wow, Al! I had to guess as I was reading this that it was true - 'cause no one could make all that up! I'm blessed by your willingness to share all of this, and proud of you for putting it so simply and eloquently. Great job!
Jan Ackerson 02/23/06
I loved this--what an easy-going, pleasant read. So I cringed just a bit at the paragraph that begins "Me and..." Other than that, this is great, and you have a wonderful servant's heart.
Linda Watson Owen02/24/06
Thank you, Al, for being such a faithful beacon in an often dark world. You have so personally and eloquently shared not only your day but also your heart here in this beautiful piece. Wonderfully written!
Cassie Memmer02/25/06
Well written. Thank you for all you do. May God bless all your endeavors for His hurting ones. Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece.
Shari Armstrong 02/26/06
Thank you for sharing that testimony with us.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/26/06
After reading YOUR "day"...it makes me want to go hide under a rock, as I am not doing anything near what you do for your fellow man. I have all the excuses: "don't have a car, don't have the means, don't have a family, too shy to mingle..."ah,me, the list goes on and on. But Bless You for all YOU do! I know...I read it in the story!