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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Betrayal (02/16/04)

TITLE: The Letter
By Christine Rhee
02/22/04

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Clancy Calman was burning rage as well as fat as he made tracks on the prison treadmill. He felt as if he might explode.

Okay, so his cellmate, Joshua, had come to terms with having to serve time for a crime he did not commit. Good for him!

But HE had the love and support of his family. HIS parents had stood up for and defended him. HIS family called, visited, sent care packages¡¦

Clancy¡¯s family did none of that.

Clancy had helped Joshua to eat some soft, chewy, homemade chocolate chip cookies from a care package just that morning. He hadn¡¯t had any so good since the weekend before his parents had put him away in the boys¡¯ home¡¦

***

Clancy¡¯s Guardian Angel, Melvin, and Melvin¡¯s mates, Gabby and Turk, are lying bellies down on a cloud, watching Clancy.

¡°I don¡¯t blame him for being so angry,¡± Melvin comments. ¡°That boy got a bad deal.¡±

¡°You¡¯re not kidding!¡± responds Gabby. ¡°He was always getting the rotten end of the stick when he was home!¡±

Melvin casts a sideways glance at Turk that says, ¡°Oh, brother!¡± Here we go again!¡±

¡°And I do mean THE BAD end of the stick!¡± Gabby continues. ¡°Always misunderstood, always blamed, always punished! And then carted off to that orphanage-¡°

¡°Okay! Okay! We get the idea, Gabby!¡± Turk breaks in. ¡°The question is, how¡¯s he going to get himself out of this mess?¡±

¡°I don¡¯t know, Turk,¡± Melvin sighs. ¡°I¡¯m just thankful he¡¯s renewed his relationship with the Lord.¡±

***

Clancy was pumping out sit-ups, sweating the tears he dared not shed in this tough prison environment. Crying here would be like signing a guy¡¯s own execution order.

The cookies had reminded him of his mother, and the pain was so severe he could hardly breathe. His insides felt like an aluminum can being twisted and crushed under someone¡¯s heel.

Not once had his parents visited, called, or even written to him once he¡¯d been transferred to the State prison. Only his little sister, Ellie¡¦but he couldn¡¯t think of Ellie now, or he¡¯d cry for sure¡¦

¡°Why didn¡¯t they love me God?!¡± his anguished soul cried out.

The response came in a still, small voice, whispering the verse he¡¯d been memorizing. 1 John 4:10: ¡°Not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.¡±

The truth of it permeated Clancy¡¯s battered soul. Yes, his parents had betrayed him. They had turned their backs on Clancy just as surely as the run rose in the east and set in the west.

Just like he had once turned his back on God.

But God had still reached out to Clancy in love.

So now whom was Clancy going to act like? His parents or his Heavenly Father?

Clancy¡¯s parents had not reached out in love toward him. But he was God¡¯s child now, and he could reach out in love toward them.

Clancy noticed himself relaxing, the pace of his sit-ups slowing. He sat up one last time, sucking in air to regulate his breathing.

He took a long, slow swig of water.

He had a letter to write tonight.

***

Melvin, Gabby, and Turk notice the Almighty standing behind them, leaning over to watch Clancy. He¡¯s beaming from ear to ear.

¡°That is my beloved son,¡± He glows. ¡°In him I am well-pleased.¡±

The three angels stand, amazed. They are once again witnessing the magnificent power of the Gospel.

Reverently, they bow before Him in adoration, and their voices join together in praise:

Thou are worthy,
Thou art worthy,
Thou art worthy, O Lord¡¦.

***

Clancy lay on his bunk, physically and emotionally exhausted, but glowing inside.

His letter had been short and to the point. He¡¯d just said hello, he was well and hoped they were, too, and he loved and missed them.

Writing that letter helped him to understand the Father¡¯s deep love for him, for all of them. While Clancy was still hostile toward God, God had sent His Only Son to seek and to save Clancy! And now He called Clancy His very own child!

In his heart rung a chorus they¡¯d sung at a recent chapel service. And as his spirit made melody, it was almost as if he heard all of heaven joining him,

Thou art worthy
Thou art worthy
Thou art worthy, O Lord¡¦

And saw the face of his Heavenly Father shining upon him.


Member Comments
Member Date
Donna Anderson02/23/04
Ah, The love of the Father reaches through time, prison bars, rejection and betrayal to touch and heal our hearts! I love the way you involved the angels and the Father in Clancy's life, reminding us that we are NEVER alone! Well done, Christine! :)
Dave Wagner02/24/04
Seriously? Well, I guess that might explain the problems with the punctuation (the quotes and apostrophes) and all the extra characters. Probably resulted from copying and pasting from an email into the submission form.

As for the content, kind of a simpletons' approach, theologically speaking. Might work well with the early-teen crowd.
L.M. Lee02/26/04
It is always refreshing to our spirits when the father's face shines on us.
Christine Rhee03/03/04
I most certainly am "the author of this story."

I usually enjoy looking at the feedback which the articles thatI post in the Challenge receive during the week they're first posted. But I have been overseas for the last month and could only view the internet at an internet cafe. I couldn't go much last week because our baby was sick.

So I got home from Korea Tuesday morning and looked at my article and saw that for almost a whole week a couple of people seemed to be implying that I'd posted something to the contest that I hadn't really written. And that their implications have been there for all to see, without an opportunity for me to answer the speculations. Your (Kim's) reply to my question about what you meant by what you said (eg. "if you are the author of the story") still seems to imply the possibility that I entered someone else's work as my own.

Dave Wagner's follow-on from your first comment certainly does. In his follow-on, he indicates stray marks, like apostrophes and commas, are evidence that I copied the story from an email and then pasted it in the submission entry form. When I looked at the article from my desktop in Sydney on Monday, I did not see any stray marks.

However, sometimes when I use a computer that has a Korean font on it to post something on the internet, it comes out with such marks. It doesn't matter how many times I edit it, it still happens. I posted the article in question from a computer in a Korean internet cafe. I also cut and pasted it from a floppy disk I used on my son's laptop, which has Microsoft Word, to the Korean internet cafe computer, which had a different word processing program. So I am not surprised that some computers read it with strange marks.

One thing for sure, as writers, we write from our hearts. So when someone suggests that that writing may not be our own, it feels very violating. I am disappointed that in a Christian writing community we would not be more cautious about questioning eachother's integrity, especially in a public forum.

Plagerism is a critically serious matter for writers, and it seems it would be more appropriate, if someone were truly concerned that plagerism might be being commited, that the issue would be addressed with the site manager rather than the matter in which some people's concerns have been addressed in this case.
Christine Rhee03/03/04
PS: Kim, I am still interested in seeing a copy of that email you mentioned. And are you sure it wasn't "Clancy's Choice" (Directions) rather than "The Letter" (Betrayal).
Thanks.
Dave Wagner03/06/04
My apologies for contributing to a misunderstanding. I would be upset as well if someone considered my work a copy of someone else's, so I understand you hurt.
Christine Rhee03/09/04
Thank you, Dave, for the apology. I'm glad things are cleared up. I hope you will continue to enjoy the site as I know you have been a blessing to many.
Regards, Christine