Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: "Splash" 4-11-13 Deadline (04/04/13)
TITLE: The T Word
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
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Tommy snorted as he stared Jonah down. “Or else what? Gonna be a killer like your old man?”
Tommy glanced about as the others encircled him. Whirling around, Jonah raced off in the opposite direction. He stopped abruptly, trembling violently as he shouted, “And my father is not a killer. It was an accident!” With one last glance, Jonah rushed off and disappeared beyond the horizon.
Slowing down, Jonah began to rein in his emotions. He loved Daddy. Every day he watched him, carefully noting every detail so that when he grew older, Jonah would be strong and tough just like Daddy. But now, Jonah wasn't sure that he wanted to be like him.
No one could stop talking about the devastation. Deep down, Jonah knew Daddy would never intentionally hurt anyone, but the words of the others echoed in his mind. “It doesn't matter if it was intentional or not; people were swallowed up by the ocean.”
Collapsing on the bed, Jonah tried to make sense out of this nonsense. He whispered, “Why God, why did this happen? I don’t understand it. I don’t want to be big and powerful if it means I might hurt people too.”
Daddy poked his head in. “Is it okay if I join you?”
Jonah nodded and moved over. Daddy swept Jonah up and cuddled him. “I heard that you had a pretty rough day. I figured some kids might not understand what happened.” Daddy held Jonah closer. “I guess you might be having a tough time yourself, eh? I didn't mean to hurt anyone.”
Jonah swallowed back his salty tears. “They’re still hurt, whether you meant it or not.”
Daddy dipped his head. “That’s true, son; very true indeed. There are many things in this world that we just can’t understand, but God has a plan and a purpose.”
Jutting out his chin, Jonah wiggled loose from Daddy’s grip. “Well, if that’s true, then I don’t think He’s a very nice God at all. I think he is mean and horrible. Daddy you killed babies! Little kids who never did anything wrong.”
Jonah felt the anger building up once more, so he grabbed a rock and smashed it against the floor. “I’ve decided I’m not going to be like you when I grow up. Instead I’m going to be gentle and quiet like Mommy.”
Looking up at Daddy, Jonah trembled all over. The anger building up in him seemed to be changing him somehow. Just for a second, he thought he saw a glimmer of pain shadow Daddy’s face. He turned his back and mumbled, “The worst part was when they called you the T word. I don’t ever want anyone to call me that.”
Daddy looked at his son. “Tsunami isn't a bad word. It’s just describes what happens when we waves get rattled by the earth’s movements. I was just trying to shift the sand so that the fish could find food, when suddenly I felt the rumbling of an earthquake. We waves are an important part of the ecological circle, but sometimes the timing is just right and we turn into a tidal wave. It’s awful when people get hurt. But Jonah, if we don’t do our jobs because we are afraid an earthquake might come along and push us over the edge, then we aren't being what God intended us to be.
“Maybe you’re right, though, I suppose you could be a tidepool. The world needs them too. Sea life would still be able to live in you. I suppose little people would enjoy jumping in the middle of your back and splashing you all about.”
Jonah looked up at Daddy. “Well, Mom’s the best tidepool in the world, but I've always felt God calling me out to the sea, and I dream about surfers catching a ride on me. Maybe I shouldn't let fear stop me, but I can't help it.”
Swooping underneath Jonah, Daddy lifted him on his back. “It’s okay to be afraid. Trust in God and he’ll help you. Besides, son, look at the beauty you've been missing out on while you were sulking.”
Jonah jumped off Daddy’s shoulders. “You’re right, this is an amazing world. I’m gonna be just what God made me to be. Betcha I can beat you back to the beach!”
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