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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Help (02/20/06)

TITLE: ‘The Lord helps those who help themselves’ – Hezekiah 3:16
By Suzanne R


“Zee do it,” was his first sentence. The ever-patient mother often lamented their choice of name. “A great king, our boy was named after. ‘Zeke’ for short – fun and unusual. But Hezekiah became proud in his old age. Seems our Zeke is living up to his name already.”

Stubborn and independent, Zeke meandered his way through the maze of education, employment, marriage, mortgage and a child.

In the wee hours of March 16th, Zeke woke to Lydia’s urgent prodding. “It’s time. Quick – he’s coming fast!”

Rubbing his bleary eyes, Zeke scooped up their sleeping three-year-old. Lydia was already in the car.

At 7:30am, Zeke called his mother and told her of Matthew’s birth. “But Zeke,” his mother remonstrated, “why didn’t you call me to collect Emiline last night?”

“Didn’t want to bother you, Ma. I’ve got to go to the office for a few hours. I’ll see you at the hospital later. Emiline can come with me. You enjoy the baby, okay?”

Having successfully dressed his daughter and safely strapped her in, Zeke steered the car into the drive-through. “One hash brown and a large strong coffee please.”

Zeke put Emiline in a corner of his office with playdough and dolls. He sat at the desk with an exhausted grin, stirring three sugars into the coffee as he tried to concentrate on the task at hand. The secretary poked her head around the door. “Congratulations, sir. And should I watch your little girl for you?”

“No. I can do it. Thank you.”

Emiline picked at her hashbrown, scattering pieces of potato over the polished wooden floor. Zeke’s coffee sat forgotten on the large mahogany desk. Focused now, he busily reviewed the paperwork for his meeting with Jack Adams, the company’s most important client.

The sweet little voice piped up.

“Drink, Daddy. Drink for Emi?” Drink. Drat. No time. For a fleeting second, he thought of his secretary. But no, Emiline was his child. He could do it.

“Try Daddy’s coffee, love. It’s very sweet. You’ll like it.”

Indeed, Emiline did like it.

The angel voice piped up again. “Potty, Daddy. Quick.”

Blast. Men’s or women’s? She was a girl, he a boy. Not a boy. A man. Surely he could handle something so simple as a child’s personal needs.

The secretary’s offer of help was again refused.

Zeke held her over the toilet. Emiline squeezed her eyes and pushed. Zeke rolled his eyes. How could he hold her and clean her? She was awfully squirmy.

A brown smear on his white cuff, Zeke slipped on his jacket to hide the evidence of his ineptitude. Meanwhile, Emiline decided that she no longer wanted to play quietly. In fact, sitting still seemed downright impossible. Bouncing around the office with the wastepaper basket over her head, she pulled papers out of files, throwing them in the air, all the time singing loudly.

“Sir, Mr Adams is here. Can I help with your little girl?” The secretary poked her head around the door.

“I CAN DO IT. Sorry. Didn’t mean to yell.”

Mr Adams walked through the door, his polished shoe stepping on Emiline’s favourite doll. The child erupted into an ear-splitting wail. “You killed my dolly! I hate you.”

“Emi! Settle. Say sorry.”

The wail only increased in pitch and volume. Jack Adams looked at the paper-strewn office. “I’m sorry. Sorry that I ever set foot in this place.” The door slammed.

There was a knock. Zeke groaned. Hair on end, eyes wild, tie knotted near his right clavicle, jacket sleeves hitched up revealing the stained cuff, hashbrown smeared down his trousers and play-dough on his shoes, Zeke muttered through gritted teeth, “I can do it.”

“Nanna!” Emiline threw herself around the stockinged legs of Zeke’s mother.

“Oh my. Look at you both. Matthew is gorgeous. And such a good Biblical name. Remember what it says in the New Testament book of Matthew? That the meek are blessed. You, my stubborn son, could not be less meek. Repeat after me. ‘Ma, please help us.’”

“Ma, I can do it.”

“Foolish boy. Look at yourself. Look at your daughter.”

Emiline had found a whiteboard marker and was now decorating the walls as she bounced off them.

“Ma, please … h-h-h-h-help?”

Zeke’s life was a mirror reflection of the great king after whom he was named. March 16th ended Zeke’s era of ‘The Lord helps those who helps themselves.’

Zeke grasped a greater truth that day. It is the meek who are truly blessed.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Pat Guy 02/27/06
Wow! This was great! What a grasp on this whole situation. 'Brown stain?' It figures! :) Everything about this story worked perfect.
Val Clark02/28/06
Gotta love the way you handle the escalating dramatic disasters in Zeke's life. Very visual piece, loved the description of him at the end of the day. Also, like the way you understate things like the brown stain. (Would like to have known what the stakes were for Zeke when Jack Adams leaves the office. Stakes rise for Zeke if we know he is a very important client.)
Grace Sempa02/28/06
"Hezekhiah 3:16"!
Welldone, Thumbs up for you.
david grant03/01/06
Good story! A winner at the top of my list!
Lynda Schultz 03/01/06
Lovely. As one who gives, but doesn't ask well, I can empathize. Great reminder well written.
Maxx .03/05/06
lol... this is really good. I can relate to some of that! Won't say which, though! ;-)
Crista Darr03/07/06
Hooray. You had me giggling all the way through. Needed a laugh today, Suz. Thanks.
Beth Muehlhausen03/10/06
Independence at its best!!! Poor guy...he really did need a helper. :-)

Hafta tell my own story...my hubby was watching our first-born son when he was about a year old. I came home to find Daddy snoring on the couch, all the toxic cleaning supplies out of the cabinet on the floor, and a very sorry looking little boy with a loaded diaper hanging the ground toddling forlornly around the house. I figured he was just "too much" for his poor old Daddy.... LOL

Enjoyed the way you managed the progression of this story...and how you framed it!!

B Brenton04/13/06
Very ironic the way you've made the title to be like a quote from a book of the Bible to make your point.
Ironic in a awesome way. Even after all this time writing, you're still finding a way to maintain fresh and original!
I don't understand whether Hezekiah is a made up dude or if you're contrasting some other story.
Surely I've heard of no Hezekiah (shows what I know).
Excellent moral.