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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Promises (02/09/04)

TITLE: The Dusty Brown Paper Bag
By Jacqueline Odom-Bullock


Jackson sat on the edge of his bed with his face buried in his hands. Three days had passed since he lost his job. The bed covers were thrown to one side of the bed almost reaching the floor. The room was dark although the blinds were wide open. There were grayish clouds floating in the sky that morning with a threat of snow. Jackson rose up and headed for the bathroom. He looked at his unshaven face in the mirror. “What am I going to do?” Nobody knows my pain,” he thought as he held his eyelids down looking from side to side in the mirror. He groaned and turned on the showers.

Jackson worked as an Executive Accountant for a law firm for ten years. He had a private office and a secretary. Jackson’s employment enabled him to live a lavish life style. He drove a fine German made car and lived in a two-level condominium. He had heard the rumors of the firm down sizing but somehow thought that he was excluded. When he received the news he was shocked, devastated and hurt. After all he has done for this firm and after all the respect he has gained. Why him?

After three days of having a pity party he decided he would go and look for work. He had enough money to live off of for the rest of the year however, he became wise after seeing how quick he could lose something that he thought would be forever. He sat at his round glass kitchen table with the morning newspaper’s classified section spread in front of him. As he sipped coffee through his personalized coffee mug he once kept at his desk in his office, he slowly turned the pages until he was out of the employment section. He sighed seeing nothing pertaining to him. His eyes began to slowly scan over the rest of the paper not really looking for anything. He came across the horoscopes. He never believed in them nor did he believe in physics. His thoughts instantly went on his mother. He remembered her famous saying, “Just call on the Lord and tell him what you want!” He smirked and decided to himself, “I’m going to ask this Lord three things and see if he is for real.”

“Lord if you are real, help me to find a job at the first place I go,” Jackson stated first. Jackson drove up into a parking lot of a large office building. He knew of a few law firms in the building that he could go to. Before going into the building he stopped in the lobby coffee shop to grab a donut to calm his growling stomach. In the window a sign read “Help Wanted.” “Hey Nico pick up!” the cook called out to one of the waiters behind the counter. “Eyeyeye! I would hire the next person who I even thought was looking for work!” Nico exclaimed as he served Jackson a donut.

The next thing Jackson asked was, “Lord if you are real, show me a sign that everything will be alright.” “Nice car. What series is that?” a young man asked Jackson as he pulled into his condo’s parking garage. Thanks. It is the seven thirty-five. I hope I can keep it. “Why do you say that?” asked the young man. “Sigh,” don’t pay me any attention, I just lost my job. “Hey don’t worry. You’ll be okay. Just keep your head up do the right thing,” said the young man. Jackson looked at the young man with a raised eyebrow. “Who was he to say I will be okay?” Jackson thought.

Jackson cleaned out his closet as he mumbled something to the effective of “having too much time on my hands.” He was angry as he ripped items from the shelf of the closet and tossed them behind him on the floor. “This Lord did not answer so far. I am going to ask this one more thing! I feel lost and desperate. I am scared and I don’t know if I will be able to make it. My job was my security blanket. Now I have nothing. Can you promise to help me?” Just then a dusty brown paper bag fell to his feet from the closet shelf. As he bent down to pick up the bag he grinned to him self. He remembered being a camp counselor years ago. A little girl that admired him brought him this brown paper bag on the last day of camp saying, “Jackson, I want you to have this.” Inside the dusty brown paper bag was a pocket size bible. Jackson removed the bible from the bag and held it close to his chest as he sat down on the edge of his bed.

Member Comments
Member Date
L.M. Lee02/16/04
Good story of learning to hear God. He's always talking, we just need to learn to listen.
Mary Elder-Criss02/17/04
Kinda like "Here's your sign.." huh? Nicely written story.
Donna Anderson02/22/04
This is great! Kind of reminded me of someone looking for his hat when all the while it sat on his head! :) God is so close and so faithful. We just look for the answeres in all the wrong places or don't believe them when they stare us in the face!