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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Laughter (10/18/04)

TITLE: A Harmful Dose of Medicine
By Joanne Malley


The halls of Morrison High buzzed with morning activity. Tammy Anderson grabbed some books from her locker, slammed the door shut and sauntered in her usual, confident way toward the office.

Each day, her voice carried through the airways when she delivered the morning announcements. This was her first small step toward her dream as a journalist, where she would parade in front of the camera, holding a microphone on the scene of some big news story.

Down the row of lockers, Mindy Cooper stood alone. She was an obese young lady who kept to herself, but she always hoped to fit in and be valued for who she is on the inside. I saw her eyes follow Tammy as she walked toward the office. Mindy wore that obvious look of adoration, and I knew in her heart she wished she could be more like her classmate. It wasnít that Tammy was pretty or even nice, but her thin shape, confidence and popularity were traits Mindy wanted.

I am a people-watcher and I had a soft spot for Mindy whenever I looked in her direction. I felt her pain and could relate to not being accepted. I knew from the sadness in her eyes that she was deep in the pit of despair. Tears often emerged when she thought she was alone. I always saw those tears as well as the lonely heart she seemed to wear on her sleeve. Very few ever tried to help her, nor did many care. The unworthiness she felt, must have deepened her wound of loneliness. I tried to reach out to her, but she turned her back on me every time.

Mindyís obesity prevented her from fitting in with the crowd as well as fitting into the newest fashions. Long ago, she came to the realization that she would always be judged by her excessive weight. It seemed society had placed her into a category where the unloved and unnoticed coexist. Unfortunately, she didnít realize I cared.

As a group of boys approached her locker, their looks of disgust pierced through the pain in her eyes. They proceeded to tell her how pretty she was with the sharp blade of their mean-spirited sarcasm. As they sliced another chunk from her self-esteem, her pitiful sobs did little to soften the hearts of her despicable classmates. Each boy took a stab at shredding her self-confidence and self-worth. Her downcast eyes remained focused on the floor as tears moistened her chubby feet. The mockery and gales of laughter would have to suffice as the only attention sheíd get from the boys at school. The display of malicious behavior saddened me as I witnessed the cruelty of the human heart.

Iíve tried to reach out to her often, but the pain always clouded her vision and prevented her from seeing Me. Iíll never give up on her, for I know exactly how she feels. I know what itís like to not be accepted and I know the feeling of despair. The mockery and laughter that Mindy heard were familiar sounds that rang through my own ears while I hung from the cross on that hill. My human traits knew her loneliness too, especially when I thought My Father had forsaken Me. The sharp tongues of Mindyís classmates sliced through her spirit just like the cold Roman spear pierced my side.

Mindy has had her share of laughter in her life, but itís the kind that can kill a spirit, not nurture it. Hers is a circumstance where laughter is not the best medicine. As far as Mindy is concerned, she has been receiving a harmful dose. The only medicine she needs is the kind I can provide through My never-ending spiritual cure.

As I embrace my precious, injured child, Iíll remain patient as I wait for her to realize Iím there. And, when she does, there will be no more hurtful laughteróonly tears of acceptance and love.

Member Comments
Member Date
Kevin Kindrick10/23/04
Touching, truly touching. Your insight into the human heart, the human condition is amazing. I know God uses it to bless myriads of readers.
On a literary note, your surprise towards the end, that the speaker is Christ is well brought out. Well done.

God bless,

darlene hight10/25/04
This is a very thought provoking piece. I've been surprised at how many of the entrys address the negative side of laughter.It never even occured to me but it is a very sad and real problem especially for school children.
Lucian Thompson10/25/04
This article leaves me speechless. It is so emotional that I had to take a few moments to compose myself to write this comment. Joanne, without a doubt, this article should be read by all and appreciated for the great piece of journalism it is. Thank you for this beautifully written moment that will stay with me always.
Rita Garcia10/25/04
Joanne, a touching heartfelt story. I like the way you brought us right back to the heart of Jesus. Blessings, Rita
Corinne Smelker 10/25/04
Joanne - WOW. This was wonderful - I didn't realise until about halfway through that the narrator was Jesus. What a wonderful piece of writing - you should try and get this published.
Joyce Poet10/25/04
I cannot say that I personally know what it feels like to be condemned over weight problems. But I do know how it feels to be different and feel alone in the world. However, I do come from a family in which almost every member has problems with severe obesity, so I have seen and felt their pain. What a wonderful job you've done with ministering about/to them. With your permission, I would like to share your article with some of my friends/family, including my baby daughter who has also suffered much the same as your "Mindy." Fantastic article!! Well written and quite thought provoking. Treava
John Hunt10/26/04
Very well written, Joanne! Like a well hidden surprise, I only got a hint that this from the perspective of God near the end of the story. Very nicely done! :^)
Teresa Lee Rainey10/26/04
Wow Joanne, I too am speechless. I love the way you let Christ be the voice here. The story is sad, but you are so smooth in your delivery and message of hope. Great writing :^)
Melanie Kerr 10/26/04
Excellent work. Once I realised it was christ talking - the line about being a people watcher struck a chord. It is good to be reminded that Christ notices what many choose to ignore. I would like to have a sequel - did she ever dind Christ?
Glenn A. Hascall10/26/04

One minute I'm reading about a fish named "Dash" and the next I'm reliving scenes I saw repetedly in High School. The line "Each boy took a stab at shredding her self-confidence and self-worth." is so easy to see in life - one will veture out and slice quickly and retreat waiting to see what fallout might happen. When there is no retaliation the depth of the wounds go deeper until they either lose interest or someone steps in and intervenes. Most of us have been on one side or the other when it comes to such infliction of pain. In the end it was no fun for either party.

Well done - perhaps this was a real life example of the pain Dash inflicted on Hunky.

Write On,

Great story Jo. Terrific twist too. I don't think I can add anything that hasn't already been said.
Lynda Lee Schab 10/27/04
I also am speechless. This piece is excellent. When I realized it was Jesus narrating, I got chills. Wonderful grasp on human emotions. Brought back some memories of girls I knew in high school who were similar to Mindy.
Nothing is sadder than when laughter is used to demean and put down another. Great title - it says it all.
Wonderful writing!
Love, Lynda
Mitzi Busby10/27/04
Wow, if we could ever see ourselves through His eyes.
Karri Compton10/28/04
Wow. That was so touching. I didn't realize who the narrator was at first - great story! God bless, Karri
L.M. Lee10/28/04
very powerful look at the opposite side of laughter.

i think it is interesting for everything that God created, after the fall, satan has worked to prevert it.
Debbie OConnor10/29/04
This is so beautiful and so very true. Wonderful!
Lisa Beaman10/29/04
Joanne! That was awesome! I loved your perspective. Very well written. Much that has been said, I fully agree with.

I too knew girls like Mindy in school. A good friend was even nominated to run for homecomming queen.... it was 1/2 a day before she realized it was a cruel joke. I was there when she bawled her eyes out. I had never been so angry in all my life!

Thanks again for the great story.
Deborah Porter 11/07/04
Joanne, my personal opinion is that this is probably one of the best (if not the very best) you have written to date. Sensitively and beautifully presented from start to finish. Very, very well done. With love, Deb