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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Endurance (03/22/04)

TITLE: Bayberry's Gift Shoppe
By Lynne Cox


Bayberry’s Gift Shoppe

Why I was standing in front of the mirror putting on makeup on such a lousy day was a mystery to me. I felt ugly and angry. Wes had already left, in the hopes that he could help the auctioneer, so I was driving to our store by myself. The pain of our loss made me not want to go. I felt like digging in my heels and staying home and crying.

But I took a deep breath and girded my loins and drove down the road. Our little gift shop, once so elegant, now full of cardboard boxes holding our inventory, was about to be auctioned off. We had tried hard for over three years, but what with the ever-rising rent and cost of the beauties we bought, we couldn’t make it work. My heart was broken.

“Twenty seven glass shelves in perfect condition!” the auctioneer called out. I remembered the sunny day I drove across the county line and bought those shelves. There was such joy and hope in my heart that day!

“Nineteen pieces of Fenton glassware!” Gorgeous vases with scalloped edges, delicate lamps – we had been sure they would sell but we sold very few of them. I held back tears as the lot went for about a quarter of its value.

“Fifteen dolls, all signed and numbered!” Lots of people wanted them, so the auctioneer broke up the bundle and sold them one by one. It was horrible to see beautiful Betsy, who had a music box inside her tummy that played “You Are my Sunshine”, go to a little girl who would get her dirty. And Hyacinth, the fairy doll with lavender wings, went to a man who looked like a farmer. Who knew where she would wind up. I could hardly breathe.

Snapshots of the good times flitted behind my eyes. The thrill of Mother’s Day, when so many came to our store for their cards and gifts. Christmas! A thousand dollars in a day! And the days I spent rearranging the card racks, with the sun from the big window on my back, thanking the Lord for this beautiful place!

Anger at God choked me. I had taken all I could. I had to leave. I got into the car and started to scream hysterically – “Oh God why why why?”

And He said to me in a voice that sounded like Daddy’s voice when I was a bad little girl and he meant business,

“Stop it! Get ahold of yourself!”

I was so shocked that I did stop it. And got ahold of myself. I couldn’t blame it on the Lord. He wasn’t going to come down from Heaven and make the landlord stop raising our rent, nor was He going to make the vendors we ordered from give us a better deal. What happened, happened.

I grew in the wisdom of the Lord.

Member Comments
Member Date
David Dawson03/30/04
You conveyed your emotion very well. I probably would not have stopped my fit quite as easily if it were me. lol. I wish you would have explained your emotion more after you heard God speak. Still, a good piece. Thanks.
How often we all try to do that--blame God for our problems. Been there, done that, still do it. Ah-maybe someday.

Thanks, good job.
Dori Knight03/30/04
how wonderful that God loves us enough to tell us to get a hold of ourselves! a good story, well written, and full of rich imagery. thanks!
Dave Wagner03/31/04
It's a strong, vivid piece through about 85% of it. The end comes too quickly - it could use a bit more elaboration, it just kinda hangs there. It's kind of an awkward conclusion, theologically. Did this happen to you, personally, or is it fictional? If it really happened, was it very recently?

What happened happened? God can't interfere in the rent price? Get a hold of yourself? O_o

The style I love. Your word choices are very good, and the emotion is rich. You write very well...it's just the conclusion of the matter that seems incomplete/off to me, like hitting a sour note on the piano at the very end of a masterful performance or something...
Jenny Smith03/31/04
I was completly caught in it and but was surprised at the quick ending...still a nice read though!
Corinne Smelker 03/31/04
My heart went out to the person. This was a compelling read with strong emotions attached.
Christine Rhee03/31/04
The gift shoppe sounds beautiful!! Wish I could have seen it...I remember the time I realized that while God could do any miracle He wanted, He didn't owe us one...and when I accepted that it was a relief. But later on He also showed me that He is so good and gracious and loving, in the light of eternity, He will never leave us in the red; He'll make sure each of us is in the black. It make take awhile, but He'll do it! Not 'cause He has to, but just 'cause He loves us.
Donna Anderson04/01/04
Shame on me, but I giggled a little when God told you to "get a hold of yourself". He tells me that a lot! :)
Can you imagine the joy that the little girl will expirience recieving a beautiful doll that her mom could never otherwise afford? Your story evoked lots of thought. I also would have liked to read more. :)
Antje Hill04/03/04
Wonderful article. We all ask why at one time or another. This is too good to end so abruptly!
Lynne Cox04/03/04
Thanks for all the nice comments, everybody. I tried to do better with my ending for the next one, but now after re-reading it I think I did worse!
Kenny Paul Clarkson04/04/04
It's interesting that the rebuke of the Lord reminded you of your father.

You are a gifted writer.