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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)

TITLE: Helen's Gift of Joy


Helen spent the last 20 years searching for joy but for many long years, she felt that joy was something elusive—something others enjoyed. Retired as a schoolteacher just two years ago, Helen thought that after retiring she would be able to experience the joy that comes from being able to do “what one wants, when one wants…”

Well, no joy came to her; in fact, she felt more down than ever! “Why was this happening,” she thought. Why can’t she be flooded with joy? After all, she had a lovely home, daughter who was doing well as a lawyer and a beautiful collie that she adored.

She didn’t go to church; for she thought that church was for those who didn’t have anything else to do and after all, every time she went, she was snubbed by many of the parishioners…She always thought that her clothes weren’t “high-fa-luting” enough…Well, that was just an excuse.

So, when an opportunity came along for a slice of happiness, she went for it like a little girl, who finds fulfilment with a new puppy dog.

That’s how she felt when she met Sean. They met at a church function and it was love at first sight. They dated for several months and then both decided that marriage would complete their happiness.

Helen was ecstatic because Sean was everything in a man she had been looking for. Everything went great that first year but something began changing with Sean during the second year. Helen sensed a change in his attitude and it worried and distressed her. She knew that she would have to have a “heart-to-heart” talk with him because it seemed almost daily they were growing apart. He seemed worried and distracted and that was not like Sean.

So, on a beautiful autumn day, a day they had planned for a picnic, Helen knew what she would say to him. Yes, today would be the day.

They arrived at William’s Park and found a lovely and quiet spot. After eating lunch, Helen decided to speak.

“Sean, I love you so much but darling, I sense that there’s been something wrong. Can you tell me dear, what’s changed? Have I done something?”

Sean looked at her and in just two sentences, he told her something shocking…

“Helen, I’ve been meaning to tell you but have been afraid. I didn’t want to upset you. You see, I have a tumor on the brain and the Dr. doesn’t know yet if it’s operable. I'll know tomorrow. I’m so worried….”

“I wish that you would have told me this sooner but, don’t worry. We’ll go tomorrow together and check it out. You won't be alone on this."

Immediately, Sean's face softened. Knowing his wife would be there with him, why that made all the difference in the world!

The appointment was made and Helen and Sean found out that the tumor was operable and made an appointment for that week for the operation.

In the days before the operation, Helen and Sean’s love for each other grew by leaps and bounds. There was nothing they couldn’t handle, even a brain tumor.

The day of the operation, Sean was nervous but knowing that Helen would be waiting for him, calmed him down.

After the operation, Sean was brought back to his room. He was still sedated, so Helen quietly pulled up a comfortable chair and stayed with him.

She fell asleep until the doctor came in. She rose up to meet him and asked, “How did it go? Will Sean be alright? Did you get all of the cancer?”

The Dr. looked weary and tired and his face revealed anxiety. He looked at her bright and loving eyes and said, “Yes, Sean will be alright but it was close. If he would have waited two months longer, he wouldn’t be here. But he is!"

Joy flooded her heart, mind and soul! "So, this is what joy feels like! Praise God!!"

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Member Comments
Member Date
Stefanie Noonan05/26/06
If we all found joy in those we love and not in material things we'd all be better off like Helen. I was a little confused however that, "Helen did not go to church." and then she met Sean at a church function. I assumed you meant, Helen seldom went...