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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Soul (07/13/06)

TITLE: Soul Survey
By Jan Ross


“Excuse me, may I bother you with a quick question? I’m doing a survey. Can you tell me what a soul is?”

As a student at the local university, Marie’s psychology professor gave the class an assignment to ask five people for their understanding of “soul”. The class was to write a summary article on the human soul based on their findings.

She had no religious background although she had occasionally attended church with friends when she was younger. When she asked her parents about God, however, they had few answers.

“I guess everyone has a soul, at least that’s what I’ve always heard. I really don’t know any more than that, you’ll have to ask someone else.”

A little annoyed, Marie thanked her and wrote down her response. A young mother pushing a stroller seemed to be a good subject for her study.

“Excuse me, may I ask you a question …”

The conversation went no better as Marie began to wonder if she would collect anything worthwhile.

“Sir, please stop for a moment. I need your help with a survey I’m taking for my class. What does the word “soul” mean to you?

“Sure! Like in rhythm and blues? In fact, I’m listening to Isaac Hayes right here on my IPOD. Here …”

She took a moment and listened to the music, thanked him and walked on.

The bank wasn’t busy so she approached the next available teller only to hear all about ghosts and spirits.

One more interview was all she needed. Marie saw a man who caught her attention. Even if he didn’t contribute much to the survey, at least she would be done.

“Sir, if you don’t mind, I’m conducting an interview for my class. Would you tell me your understanding of the soul.”

Marie wasn’t very bold; approaching strangers was difficult for her but she forced herself because needed the grade.

“Soul? Like the human soul? As opposed to the sole of my shoe? Ok, sorry, I couldn’t resist! Simply put, the soul is the immortal or eternal part of man, the very essence of who we are.”

As she was writing, Marie remembered hearing something like that in church. She began to ask a few more questions.

“Are you saying you think man is immortal? What makes you believe that there is life after death? Do you believe in God?”

There was something about this guy. She found herself wanting to hear what he had to say while listening with increasing curiosity.

“Absolutely! Immortality is not just some new age philosophy. God is immortal. He is eternal. He made us in His image with an immortal or eternal soul.”

“Wait a minute! How do you know God is real? You seem so sure … how can anyone know that for sure?”

Marie was captivated. As odd as it sounded, it was beginning to make sense to her. She felt desperate to know more.

“I mean, Sir, you sound so convinced. How do you know? What makes you so sure about God and about immortality of the soul?”

“Listen, I’m already late, but here’s my card. If you’re truly interested, I’d love to share more but I’ve got to go. I mean it, please find me. There’s so much more I want to tell you!”

Marie reached out to take his card. His warm touch seemed to impart an imposing assurance which literally pierced her innermost being. Trying to ignore the tears welling up in her eyes, she smiled.

“Thank you for taking your time. I won’t keep you, but I promise you that I’ll find you.”

She read the card he placed in her hand:

“Now devote your heart and soul
to seeking the LORD your God.”

(1 Chronicles 22:19)

He quickly disappeared in the crowd.

Heading back to the university she stopped at the Old Stone Church on the square, feeling drawn beyond its massive wooden doors. Entering quietly, she found a seat near the back. There he was, the same man she just met. Opening the Bible he began to read:

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near…”

Her soul was suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of holiness she never before experienced.

“Lord, I feel You near and I’m calling on You. Lord, I believe. I give my life to You.”

Marie found the proof she was seeking … it didn’t matter what the class concluded, she had her answer.

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This article has been read 1150 times
Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany07/20/06
Very creative and great ending. I was wondering if you could tie it up well and you did.
Brenda Bates07/20/06
Nicely written and so true. Everyone has an opinion of what a soul is but no two people describe it the same way.
Jan Ackerson 07/21/06
I like this--sadly, I think it's very accurate as far as the understanding that a lot of people have...

I was mildly distracted by the italicized dialog...not necessary in conjunction with quotation marks.

Good ending...nice story.
david grant07/21/06
Nice idea and I think you had an opportunity to go deeper with this. Tho your writing was good, unfortunately you settled for the obvious ending. You're a good writer, be a better thinker too.
Venice Kichura07/24/06
good read & held my attention.
Brenda Craig07/24/06
Great twist on soul using the interview. Wonderful dialog and writing. I loved this.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz07/25/06
I liked your approach, the writing, and the way you tied it all together. Good job.
william price07/25/06
As far as content goes, I loved the way you not only told us WHAT the soul is, but WHY its important. Very good! You minister your point clearly and creatively, and thats what its all about.
God Bless!!
Joanne Sher 07/25/06
Interesting approach! I enjoyed this.
Suzanne R07/25/06
What a good way of introducing the truth of 'what is a soul'. To be honest, I looked it up in a dictionary before starting this challenge ... it is a kind of vague concept, huh. But you've brought it to life. Well done.
Jen Davis07/25/06
Your write very well and have shared a great message to "seek and you will find." Although I loved the last line, I thought the ending was too tidy. Difficult to do in a story like this in 750 words. Perhaps end with her sitting at the back of the church with a stirring in her soul.
Trina Courtenay07/25/06
Soul searching survey! Your responses were so true.

I did find you missed she in the following sentence: Marie wasn’t very bold; approaching strangers was difficult for her but she forced herself because she needed the grade. I only pointed it out because I noticed it.
Teri Wilson07/25/06
Very nice job Jan. Thoughtful writing.
Shari Armstrong 07/26/06
Very cool! I liked the format -unique.
Rita Garcia07/26/06
Masterful writing! You blessed me with this story of how her search led her to Christ.
Debbie Sickler07/27/06
Hehe. I could totally relate to Marie's feelings, having to approach strangers with her survey. Nice ending too.
Tracey Jackson07/27/06
Good story. Whilst searching for answers to simply complete an assignment she found the real truth. Awesome.