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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Selfishness (02/14/05)

TITLE: Talk on, Elisa
By Mary Alice Bowles


I met her that Monday morning at our monthly managers meeting. Our district manager said, “Amber, please meet the newest kid on the block, “Elisa”. I looked into her eyes and said, “How nice to meet you, Elisa, I heard we had a new manager on board”. Her eyes twinkled with the excitement of youth; she was very young to be an assistant store manager. Maybe it was just me, because the older I get the younger everyone looks.

Over the next couple of weeks, we became friends, and at times, I was surprised at her continuous chatter. Even in the face of mountains of customers, she still rambled on and to be perfectly honest, it seemed that her main subject was Jesus. It got to the point where customers complained, even going to the office and describing Elisa.
I knew if all the complaining kept up that I would have to take her in the office and have a talk with her. In our business, customers come first; our policy is to always please the customer and the customer is always right.

It finally came to a head and we were seated in my office,
I watched her across the desk from me as I made all the entries in her folder. She still wanted to talk and I had plenty of time that day, so why not listen?
She said, “I guess I’m finally going to have to tell you about the real me”!

I was a very unlucky baby;
I was born into a family of devil worshipers. My mother was evil and so were all her husbands, of which I couldn’t keep count. I can remember as a toddler about three years old, I crawled around the darkened room at the feet of many different people during séances. The blue smoke of their special cigarettes would twirl around my nose and I would awake from a nights sleep in corners, any corner, in the bathroom, in the bedroom and sometimes even in the closet. It is by Gods grace that I’m even alive to tell this story.

My mother was a very selfish woman. All the malicious acts of sin that she taught me were caused by selfishness. Her one and only thought was self.
I smoked cigarettes at a very young age. My grandmother went to the grocery and bought them for us and told us we could smoke. Her only request was, “please don’t light one up in the bedrooms”.

When I was about 13, my best friend and I robbed a grocery store with water pistols and got away with four hundred and thirty eight dollars. There is not one drug on the market or on the street that hasn’t gone down my body. I’m telling you Amber, I was a very selfish girl. I had been taught a self attitude and I was the most evil girl I knew.

Then one day I got arrested for something that I’m sure you don’t want to hear about. I was taken to juvenile hall and I was not allowed to go back to my mothers place. While in Juvenile, I was visited by a youth pastor from one of the local churches and he introduced me to this man named Jesus. That was the most exciting thing that ever happened to me in my whole 15 years of life. I could not believe there was someone who cared about me who would forgive me. He not only would forgive me but throw my sins into a sea of forgetfulness. Now that is what I call “Grace”!

That youth pastor and his wife adopted me along with three other juveniles and we shared the same home and the love of a real Mom and Dad. I felt like I was in heaven.

Now, Amber, I have to tell you this, “I will never close my mouth about Jesus and I will share his love, no matter the cost, no matter what comes my way, I will proclaim his mercy”. His love has set me free from a life of selfish torture.

I sat there thinking all the things over in my head and as I slowly closed the pages of her folder, I said, “Elisa, talk on”! We will let God handle this one.

God handled it very well! Elisa is now one of our district managers down in Alabama.
I finally realized the twinkle in Elisa’s eyes that Monday morning wasn’t the twinkle of youth but the sparkle of Jesus.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Suzanne Shepard02/21/05
I love your story...it's a classic example of "those who have been forgiven much, love much." Thanks for sharing.
donna robinson02/23/05
This is so well written that you can't tell if it is a real story or one from the writer's mind! Either way, what a stand to take for both of the characters!