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

TITLE: Whistling Will
By Anita Neuman


Will thought himself an ordinary guy. Some thought he was a hero, some thought he was nuts. And maybe he was. Nuts, that is. A hero? Naw, he was just an ordinary guy. An obedient guy, he’d give you that. But rather plain and simple by most folks’ standards.

Will was a janitor. And he loved his job. Not every aspect of his job, mind you. There were some parts of the job that really turned his stomach. Those were the days he really concentrated on his favourite Bible verse. Then he’d start whistling and get the job done. That’s why the other staff thought he was nuts. Of course they never said so out loud. That wouldn’t be very politically correct. But he heard them talking. Anyway, he really did love working there.

He used to work in a big, fancy church. It was honest work. He enjoyed helping God’s people, even when they were ungrateful, or worse, oblivious. He loved being in God’s house every day, making sure everything was just as clean and pretty as could be every time a group of worshippers was due to show up. He didn’t even mind staying late to clean up after Saturday night events, even though he would’ve preferred to be home with his family. But after a couple of years, Will started to feel like he wasn’t really serving God like he should. That verse about doing things “unto the least of these” stuck in his head and wouldn’t let go. The church people he knew weren’t “the least of these”. Sure, they needed a custodian, and he was a good one. But Will used the building just as much as they did. He couldn’t help but feel that in serving this church, he was really serving himself. The day he gave his notice was the happiest and scariest day of his life – next to getting married, of course.

These last few years Will spent his days cleaning things viler than what most folks would care to imagine. He was the one who cleaned up the vomit when one of the residents didn’t make it to the bathroom. He was the one who scrubbed the urine stains out of the ten-year-old carpet. He even had the pleasure of cleaning up every time the newest resident decided to paint his room brown. But he didn’t mind. Not so much. He’d just strike up his favourite tune and get the job done.

These folks were “the least of these”. Not because they weren’t as valuable as folks who had all their mental faculties. But just because most people in the world wouldn’t give two hoots if Denny didn’t get clean bedsheets every time he dirtied himself, or if Marta ate off a dusty floor. The staff there gave two hoots, and Will respected them for it. But they sure didn’t whistle when they had messes to clean up.

One thing Will had learned was that when he served “the least of these”, he really started to love them. Love like he never thought possible when the folks could never really love him back. A real Jesus sort of love. He never figured on having such a deep love for Denny and Marta and all the rest of them.

He also never figured on having to whistle quite so much. Not that he didn’t like whistling. He enjoyed it, truth be told. But if he’d known how tough the job would be ahead of time, he might not’ve had the guts to show up that first day. Once he was there, though, he was going to see it through. When that first mess happened and the mop just wasn’t cutting it, he had to get his brain focused hard on why he was there. The best way was to start whistling. He picked up that scrub brush and thought up the best song he could think up. And that was it. He whistled that song every day since then. And he didn’t plan on stopping. Ever.

There is joy in serving Jesus,
As I journey on my way
Joy that fills the heart with praises,
Every hour and every day.

There is joy, joy, joy in serving Jesus,
Joy that throbs within my heart;
Every moment, every hour,
As I draw upon His power,
There is joy, joy, joy that never shall depart.

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This article has been read 1076 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/25/06
Wow. This is a really great entry! Well written, entertaining, and good point. I loved the "it would't be very politically correct" line, hehe.
Debbie OConnor05/27/06
This is BEAUTIFUL! I love Will. What a wonderful message, we grow to love those we serve. Will is a hero, a hero of the best kind.
Jan Ackerson 05/28/06
This is great, with a narrative style that just flows--it's difficult to make narratives engaging, but you're a true storyteller--I wanted to pull up a chair and hear more about Willie. Woo hoo!
Suzanne R05/28/06
I love the title. Will is an example to us all. Well done!
Joanne Malley05/28/06
This one has such a valuable lesson. Will has instructed us well in being more like Jesus and finding the joy in helping and loving others. A wonderful reminder that life certainly isn't about ourselves. Good job!
Teri Wilson05/28/06
Anita, Very moving. I loved it.
Melanie Kerr 05/28/06
I have got to learn how to whistle! Then I will be able to deal with the unpleasant tasks that I have to do!
T. F. Chezum05/28/06
Very good story with a nice flow and good message.
Rita Garcia05/28/06
Love it! I feel like I was personally introduced to Will, then came to know and love him.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/29/06
This was great. Sometimes serving God is like that, isn't it. We do have to whistle while we work. Loved it.
Debbie Sickler05/29/06
Your narrator's voice is so sweet spirited it made Will come alive. You made me laugh when you said the residents 'paint their room brown.' Ah memories of Jon as a baby...I'll have to try whistling as I continue potty training Matty and Jacob. Lots of messes to look forward to, but with Will's attitude of love in mind, they should be a lot easier to face. Great story Anita. :)
Jessica Schmit05/30/06
This is excellent. Such a wonderful read. The message was dead on and the narrator was such a wonderful break from the usual. I really enjoyed this and expect to see it do extremely well in the challenge.
Linda Watson Owen05/31/06
You are an artist extraordinaire, Anita! What a wonderful portrait you've created with this beautiful narrative! Will is a character we will not soon forget!
Celeste Duckworth03/21/08
I absolutely loved your story about Will. You so showed the true heart Will had in serving those that are sometimes hard to serve. You also illustrated a tool he used to remember why he was doing it. I enjoyed seeingWill's heart.I am in a service industry and get weary in well-doing...only I can't whistle, but I sure can sing! Thanks, Celeste