Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Bouncebackability (06/05/14)

By Pauline Carruthers



There was something different about Joe. I would watch from our front window as he loped across the dusty path in the middle of the green that separated two rows of houses. His beloved dog, Brownie, jogging by his side. Something about him tugged at my fourteen year old heart. A mingling of compassion and happiness. Joe’s clothes never differentiated between winter or summer. Brown cord trousers at half mast, hovering above skinny black clad ankles. A baggy sweater hung out from beneath an oversized checked jacket that draped over coat hanger shoulders. His loose, well worn trainers weathered all seasons; dull white in the summer sun, soggy grey in winter rain and snow.

The day Joe walked that path without his faithful little dog by his side brought an unforgettable sorrow into my life. After school that day, standing by the path chatting with friends, I was suddenly aware of him sitting quietly on the grass.

“Mum says Brownie has gone to Heaven.”

I sat a little distance from him, as per my mother’s instruction. Joe was several years older than me, yet his gentle childlike manner touched my soul; and I saw no threat in him as his clear blue eyes searched mine. The devastating loss emanated from every pore of his skinny body and I longed to hug the pain away. Instead I simply smiled and his bland face illuminated with that Joe smile that felt like the sun had just emerged from behind a storm cloud. Joe rarely spoke, yet his sparse conversation insinuated his acceptance of his loss and his amazing ability to rise above his circumstances. I watched him walk away, straight backed and determined.

Through the window of the old school bus I spotted Joe trudging his usual path along the bus route into town, his mother’s big canvas shopping bag swinging from one lanky arm. I knew his mother insisted he shopped at the market rather than the more expensive local shops. In one of his rare moments of verbal communication Joe had mentioned this and the fact that his dad was very sick and his mum couldn’t leave him alone.

One beautiful summer day I sat on the steps of our front path, reading a book, inhaling the heady perfume of cream roses, whilst watching for Joe to return from the market. Snatches of overheard conversation between my mother and our neighbour revealed that Joe’s dad was no longer with us. It had taken me a while to figure out the relevance of those words, but when realisation dawned I had rushed up to my room and cried for Joe. When he finally appeared, steps slowed by the heat, sweat was running down his face, disappearing in rivulets into the collar of his loose jacket.

“Mum says dad is in Heaven with Brownie.”

Though his words were filled with sadness it was the look in his piercing blue eyes that spoke to my heart. The candour of his unwavering gaze told me of his acceptance and understanding of another devastating loss and of his ability to grieve without anger or question. His childlike faith filtered into the silence between us, as he waited expectantly for the comforting hug. I knew Joe felt the pain of loss, yet his acceptance of life as it was gave him the ability to overcome and meet each new day with determination and a simple joy in his heart.

Joe walked that path regularly, until one day when snow covered the ground like a fluffy white blanket and coated the trees in an icy shimmer, he disappeared. For several weeks I looked out for him. But never saw him again. Until the day the snow melted and I saw his familiar checked jacket and watched his soggy white trainers creating furrows in the brown slush on the path.

“Mum is in Heaven with Dad and Brownie.”

Pulling a crumpled photograph from his pocket Joe thrust it in front of my face, letting me know he was being cared for. Throwing clumsy arms around me he gently placed a kiss on the top of my head. The light in his beautiful childlike eyes telling me that though tragedy had flattened him, he had risen from the ashes of adversity once again.

Later, I watched Joe walk along that path and out of my life, turning once to flash me that unforgettable smile that melted my heart and lit up the sky like fireworks.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.

This article has been read 178 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Tracy Nunes 06/14/14
I love stories that make me wish I knew the MC. The kind where, by the end, you feel like you have a relationship with them. That's how I felt with this. Beautiful!
Charla Diehl 06/14/14
This tender tale of friendship tugged at my heart and I wanted there to be more when it ended. I imagined Joe to have the kindest of faces and the description of his smile was beautiful.
Just a teensy red ink: I think the title could have been more interesting--something to whet the readers appetite for a good read. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this entry.
Kon Michailidis06/16/14
I so loved this! I loved your MC and read racing to the end to see what would happen to him. Some of your expressions are golden.I loved 'the candour of his unwavering gaze told me of his acceptance'. You are a talented writer. Well done!
C D Swanson 06/16/14
Poignant and hauntingly beautiful.

God bless~
Joe Moreland06/16/14
This was such a patient story. The events unfolding at a pace that was simply perfect. Not so slow that it bogged down, but not in a race to the finish, leaving you out of breath, either. Just a steady, deliberate pace, sort of like I imagine Joe's loping stride, that carried us along, past impactful event, after impactful event.

Great work here. A truly masterful job.

Thanks for sharing.
Noel Mitaxa 06/18/14
You've combined description and reflection so well that I also felt like I'd like to know your MC. Great work.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/20/14
Congratulations on ranking 19th overall! Happy Dance!
Beth LaBuff 06/21/14
It's a comfort to know that despite all the heart-ache here on earth, Joe has a brilliant future awaiting him. You've done a magnificent job telling Joe's story.