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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Walk (07/20/06)

TITLE: Out of the Troubled Waters
By Rita Garcia


The sun glowed through the stained glass windows. I sat on the front row, inhaling the fragrance from the lovely spring bouquets on the altar. Music drifted through the sound system, and as I listened I was lifted to a new level of praise and worship.

I beamed, with love, as my brother took his place to deliver the morning sermon. He began with the story of Peter from the book of Matthew. “The sea was gray and black and the moods of those aboard matched the colors.” My mind drifted back to when I was fifteen, and my brother Charlie was two years younger. There were only the two of us, no other brothers or sisters. Not that it would’ve made any difference, Charlie was special. The somber events of that year, 1952, remained fresh in my memory.

Mom thought Charlie had a case of influenza. When he complained of stiffness in his neck, and difficulty breathing, Doctor Jameson delivered the shocking diagnosis. “Charlie has paralytic polio, a virus that can affect the nerves governing the muscles in the limbs, as well as the muscles necessary for breathing.” The prognosis was grave, and time became his enemy. The longer the fever and pain raged within his body, the greater the fear that polio would claim his very life.

I remember going with Mom to the small hospital chapel. I listened as she sobbed in prayer beside me. “Please don’t let him die, it’s too soon.” I felt like my heart was being ripped right out of my chest, as I heard the anguish in her voice. I put my arms around my Mom and clung to her.

After the first few days, when polio can be contagious, I sat vigil along side my parents. Charlie’s sandy-colored hair needed to be cut, and his blue eyes were glazed over with pain. With words weakened by his condition he whispered, “I love you.” My father wiped the tears that streamed down his face.

Doctor Jameson rubbed his hand across his tired face. “Charlie is going to make it, and it seems the disease has not affected his arms.” His legs were so twisted and deformed he was not even a candidate for braces. This new prognosis sentenced him to life in a wheelchair. I wept into my pillow at night, not wanting my Mom to hear.

Mom hovered over Charlie for the first few months after he came home. She seldom left the house unless my father was home, and even then she hurried to get her errands done. She watched his every move, and seemed even more worried if he slept too much.

Charlie’s home tutor not only helped him catch up with his studies, but we ended up graduating the same year. Which was no surprise, he always was the smart one. Charlie made an unexpected announcement at the family celebration. “I believe God has placed a calling on my life to be a minister. Before you say anything, I realize it won’t be easy.” Few of us would quickly forget what happened next. I was sitting with Charlie when Grandpa Charles, on our father’s side, came over and made an announcement of his own.

“Son if you’re real sure about this calling, I will pay for your schooling.” The reason we were amazed is Grandpa never went to church, and I’m not even sure he believed. Once Charlie started preaching, Grandpa could be found sitting in the front row with his walking stick leaning against the end of the pew. He went forward and accepted Christ after one of Charlie’s messages. Charlie officiated at his funeral, and you can be sure there was not a dry eye in the chapel that day.

I pushed the silver strands back from my face, as my attention returned to the words Charlie was preaching. “Walking on the water Peter felt the raging wind whip around him, as his wet robe clung to his form. He took his eyes off Jesus. When he felt himself being pulled under the waves he cried out. Jesus never took His eyes off Peter, He heard his cry, and He helped him back into the boat.”

Thank you, Jesus. You never took Your eyes off my brother, even when he doubted his calling, You picked him up out of the troubled waters, and placed him back on the path you destined for him to walk.

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This article has been read 1195 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sue Dent07/27/06
OMG! Winner! This was great and clearly a personal recount! It has to be and if it isn't, then you're better than good, you're a MASTER! This was . . . well, MASTERFUL! I loved it!! Wow!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz07/27/06
WOW! WOW! WOW! I mean WOW! What a beautiful story of a sister's love and a mother's faith. Beautiful job. Oh, did I say, WOW!?
Jan Ross07/27/06
I'm sitting here in tears! A more beautiful story of love and devotion and miracles can hardly be found. Congratulations on capturing the essence of love!
Brenda Craig07/28/06
Wow, doesn't do this justice. Stupendous, marvelous, masterful in every way. I was touched by a mothers faithfulness and overcome by her sacrifical love. There are so many aspects of this story to touch on there is not enough time. Endurance, salvation, brokeness, faith, hope, and on and on. Truly "Master" quality. Hope to see you there next week.
Astounding! I loved it very much. Brenda C.
Lisa Vest07/29/06
Oh, this is sooo good. I was totally captivated by the writing, both the content and the ease of which it flowed. Excellent, Excellent! I think I smell a winner!!
George Parler 07/29/06
Wonderful story of life out of almost certain death. My heart broke for you and your parents as this story hit close to home. Twice I agonized over one of our daughters whose life was in the reach of death. But then it came to pass . . .

Good writing; I enjoyed it very much, even with the tears.
Phyllis Inniss07/31/06
This is such a beautiful and touching story of faith, love, devotion and commitment. Grandpa Charles deserves some mention; even though an unbeliever, he paid for the brother's tuition to become a minister and then turned to Jesus. Just splendid writing.
terri tiffany08/01/06
Boo hoo! This brought tears to my eyes! Very good story telling! I loved how you ended it.
Kimberly Mitchell08/01/06
This is heart stirring. Very emotional. Thank you for sharing. Now to go find a kleenex.
Joanne Sher 08/01/06
Oh SO wonderful!! I could feel the raw emotions of everyone in this story. Your closing is just right.
Ann FitzHenry08/01/06
I think everyone else said it best. WOW! :-)
Jen Davis08/02/06
A beautifully written and touching story. Your sensory language in the first paragraph brought us into the church and the prayer at the end...perfect.
Edy T Johnson 08/03/06
Dear Rita, if this is a true story from your family history, I hope you are writing the whole book! You have introduced us to several lovely characters we want to know more about! Thank you!
Edy T Johnson 08/03/06
p.s. Forgot to mention, the brother's sermon text is one of my most favorite: Peter walking on the water, as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus (such a good lesson for us all). And, alongside Enoch walking with God, this text is the New Testament selection just perfect for this "walk" challenge. Great job!
Helen Murray08/07/06
What a story of incredible courage,and so sensitively related. Thank you. This pulled myheart strings.
Dawn Dale08/07/06
such deep emotions remind me of home...thanks.