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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Learning for Life (08/23/04)

TITLE: The Institute of Learning for Life
By Joanne Malley


“Good Morning, you’ve reached the Institute of Learning for Life.”

“Press 1 to hear our introductory message.”

“Darn, these automated systems! They’re more bother than they’re worth,” I mumbled under my breath.

I reluctantly pressed 1 and was greeted by an electronic voice. I didn’t realize Darth Vader had a mother! She definitely needs some throat lozenges! Could they have picked a more unfriendly voice?

“Hello, and thank you for calling. Life can be a wonderful journey. It is our pleasure to help you prepare for whatever comes your way. We are life experts; the absolute best in the universe. No one knows your life as well as we do. Our prestigious reputation can assure you of success without failure, victory without pain and rewards everlasting.”

How long is this chick gonna talk, I wondered. I just want some information!

…“The Institute of Learning for Life is a renowned Institute offering single classes or complete course curriculums for learning what you don’t even know you need to learn. The rich, the famous, and the lost have all been found through our completely accredited programs.”

“To hear more about the wonderful programs we offer, press 2.”

“Oh, here we go again! This is ridiculous!”

I screamed into the phone like an idiot! I soon came to a major realization—no one was listening!

“Where are the “real” people?” I knew my rhetorical question would get no answer.

Angered beyond belief, I pressed 2 and continued with the annoying finger callisthenics.

“Hello, again, if at any time during this message you would like to select from new prompts, please press the star key. After a five second lapse, I will gladly continue with details about the wonderful programs we offer.”

“Aww, c’mon now,” I stammered.

I was really getting riled! Do I stay here or move on, I pondered, as my blood pressure was rising. Only a few seconds left…

I decided to opt for a new path on my automated joy ride, so I pressed the star key.

“For directions to the Institute, press 4.”

“For a list of classes offered, press 5.”

Five it is.

“Hello, again. For classes on dealing with trials and tribulations, press 6.”

“For classes on recognizing your gifts and talents, press 7.”

“For classes on finding your purpose, press 8.”

“Uuuugh, enough already!” I couldn’t believe what I was going through!

“What in the world….what kind of ridiculous place is this? I just want to take a writing course,” I screamed into the receiver.

Thoroughly frustrated, I slammed the phone down.

What has this world come to, I thought to myself. Are people really depending on strangers to direct their lives?

How sad for those who enroll in that Institute offering empty promises. It’s a pity. So many people—looking in the wrong places…looking for guidance…looking for answers…looking to learn about life. And, what do they mean nobody knows more about my life than they do?

Thanks, but no thanks!

What is success without failure? What’s victory without pain? Doesn’t everybody know there’s no real victory without pain? Just look at the cross! And, they promise rewards everlasting? Gimme a break! Can people really be that lost and get sucked into their garbage?

I walked down the hall to my favorite room. It’s my own place of comfort with my favorite things; a cozy chaise lounge, mementos, pictures of the kids, my favorite scented candles and my bookshelf full of inspirational materials.

Before I sat on my cozy chair, I reached for my bible. I looked at it convinced. I haven’t had a problem so far—God wouldn’t steer me wrong. Besides, with this book, I’ve had no other choice but to learn.

That place has no idea about trials and tribulations—it’s all in these pages right here; right in the oldest book. Gifts and talents…I’m slowly figuring that out by God’s gentle way of leading me. Finding my purpose…well, that I already know; God showed me.

So much for the Institute of Learning for Life!

I will definitely call them again with a little suggestion, though. They desperately need a new recording! Mrs. Vader’s gotta go!

Member Comments
Member Date
Al Boyce08/30/04
Thanks Joanne. Good analogy for all those "seekers" who become mired down in other lovers than Jesus, the lover of our souls.
Hi Jo,

I had to read it again. I enjoyed it more this time being able to focus better. Very nicely done and creative take on the topic as well.
Lynda Lee Schab 08/30/04
LOL - I laughed out loud when I got to the "Darth Vader's mother - need throat lozenges" thing! Ha!
Great job - wonderful take on this week's topic!
Blessings, Lynda
Phyllis Inniss08/30/04
Very creative. After all the frustrations you found your peace in your bible in your own comfort zone. Blessings.
John Hunt08/30/04
Very well written and clever dialogue (monologue?) with Mrs. Darth Vader. I think we can all relate to the neverending automated voice!
Great job!
Lucian Thompson08/30/04
I’m so glad I’m not the only who talks to a recording. I am convinced that there are no real people left on the other end of the phone. They are all plastic people with bad hair do’s!
Kenny Paul Clarkson08/30/04
Hey, Jo!
Very creative was to frame a powerful lesson. You oughta be a teacher!!!
L.M. Lee08/30/04
LOL!!!!! ;-D what a hoot! Too good!
Kevin Kindrick09/03/04
Wow, your take on each of these challenges is certainly unique, and your approach to covering them even more so. God has certainly blessed you with wonderful gifts for approaching such subjects, and for presenting the truth in an easily-understood manner. I truly enjoyed reading this.

God bless,