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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Life (06/15/06)

TITLE: The Prodigal Turtle
By Teri Wilson
06/21/06


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Maisey didn’t know how long it had been since she last set foot on Topsail Island. When she left all those years ago, she had no intention of returning.

In the end, all it took was one simple phone call to bring her back.

“Is this the granddaughter of Jean Anderson, of Topsail Beach, North Carolina?”

The monotone voice didn’t need to say another word. Maisey already knew the call meant Grammy was dead. As much as she dreaded it, she knew she would be at the funeral. She was a true “Southern daughter,” and they always showed up for their grandmothers’ funerals. Especially if those grandmothers had raised them.

The funeral was pure torture. It stirred up feelings Maisey thought were buried far deeper than her southern roots. When Maisey left home at the tender age of seventeen, she had been running away from herself more than Grammy or Topsail. Her whole life she had been the girl whose drug-addicted parents had dumped her on the steps of her grandmother’s beach cottage never to be seen again. She had wanted a new identity far from her painful past. But, the sad truth was she abandoned Granny just as her own parents abandoned her.

The service was filled with God-talk. When Maisey walked out on Grammy, she walked out on God, too. Why would she be interested in eternal life, anyway? Life was filled with pain. Why would she want that to go on eternally?

Now, she sought solace in the only place she could ever find peace on the island: the sea. Maisey stood alone in the quiet night and looked out over the ocean. She remembered coming here as a child to pray. She didn’t bother calling out to God now. She knew no one was there.

In the beginning, the Sprit of God hovered over the waters. I am still here, my child.

The rolling tide moved in and out. Its steady rhythm seemed to call out to her, like an invitation.

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters. Give ear and come to me, that your soul may live.

Maisey waded into the surf. The salty water swirled around her ankles. She began to feel a strange sensation, a cleansing of sorts.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.

Maisey was afraid. She was beginning to feel things again. It was unsettling, especially after all the years of voluntary numbness. She quickly moved back onto the sand. After an emotional day like today, she probably needed her feet firmly planted on the earth.

In my hands are the depths of the earth. The sea is mine, for I made it, and my hands formed the dry land.

Maisey walked up toward the dunes and sat. She picked up a fistful of sand and let it sift through her slender fingers. As she watched it fall, the ground beneath her began to swell and shiver. Maisey stared hard at the ground, looking for answers.

The earth will be filled with the knowledge of my glory, just as the waters cover the sea.

She gasped as she saw something push up through the sand. It was the tip of a flipper. Then another, and another. Hundreds of sea turtle hatchlings plowed their way up and out of their sandy nest. Maisey couldn’t believe it. She had heard stories about nests maturing for her entire childhood. But she had never been lucky enough to see one for herself. Until now.

Maisey watched in amazement as more and more turtles scampered toward the waiting water. Life was bubbling up all around her on her lonely stretch of beach.

This day I set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life.

As Maisey watched the tiny turtles disappear into the sea, she couldn’t help but think about their mother. As a native islander, she knew the story. The mother turtle hatched on this very same beach, a lifetime ago. Years later, she had returned to her home and buried her treasure in the sand. Her babies would one day return to this special place and bury treasures of their own.

In the midst of all the life swirling around her, Maisey realized she, too, had finally come home. She was the prodigal turtle.

For this daughter of mine was dead and is alive again; she was lost and now is found.


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This article has been read 869 times
Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany06/22/06
Good story and very creative. I liked how you added the turtles in there and also your word choices.
Edy T Johnson 06/22/06
This is pure splendor. I love how you wove the Word into the story, as if we are inside Maisey's mind, hearing that still small Voice.
Jan Ackerson 06/22/06
This gave me chills--really, really beautifully written. Love God's whisper.
George Parler 06/26/06
Good title. The flow from story to scripture was very smooth. Beautiful message. Good job!
Sherry Wendling06/26/06
Glorious encounter, beautifully crafted! I could feel her heart melting already, but the miracle of the baby turtles is just over the top! A phrase stood out to me: "years of voluntary numbness." I can identify; you packed a lifetime of emptiness into a single, well-crafted phrase. Great stuff!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz06/26/06
What a wonderful illustration of life. Good job.
Pat Guy 06/26/06
This was beautiful. I loved reading this story - so believable and God's whispers were right on. Good stuff here!
Virginia Gorg06/27/06
Love the title and was not disappointed. Well done. :)
Trina Courtenay06/27/06
WOW! Teri, another wonderful job. Hope it places! It's a winner in my books! My favorite for sure.

Blessings & I look forward to reading your entries next quarter.
Trina<><
Kimberly Mitchell06/27/06
In my opinion,this was fantastic! Deserves a ribbon.
:)
Jen Davis06/27/06
A very interesting and creative article. I love the simple but effective way that you wove God's word in with your story. Great ending. Very well written.
david grant06/27/06
A soft shelled DAVEY for you.
Trina Courtenay06/29/06
Way to go Teri! Congrats on placing.

Trina<><
Sherry Wendling06/29/06
Congratulations, Teri! This recognition is so well-deserved! I'm looking forward to reading more of your beautiful pieces.
Jan Ross06/29/06
A well-deserved CONGRATULATIONS! :)
Brenda Craig06/30/06

"The rolling tide moved in and out. Its steady rhythm seemed to call out to her, like an invitation." This line so illustrates how I felt when I read your story, flowing in and out of one truth into another. Simply lovely. Congratulations:)