Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)
- TITLE: Grace
By Shannon Jackson
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The man sat bewildered. “Why does everyone I care about always pass away? It happens to me every time,” he screamed as he slammed his fist into the wall and ran his hands through his long, gray hair.
It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered anymore. Nothing but a drink. And he had plenty of that. After all, he had a corner fixed for himself right outside the back door of the liquor store. It wasn’t much, but it was familiar. At least it was his own place, and she knew where to find him. But now it didn’t matter. She was gone.
“She was all I had. The meals she brought were like your mother’s. And the way she spoke was just so comforting. And the stories she told were so amazing.”
“There are other people like her, Dad. They work at the Shepherd’s Shelter down the street.”
“No! No! There aren’t other people like her. Everyone I’ve ever known has pointed out my faults and counted me a has-been. They bring up my drinking and tell me I lost it all. Don’t they think I know that? But, Grace was different. And now she’s gone.”
“Do you remember her inviting you to visit the Shepherd’s Shelter?”
“A couple of times. I wasn’t interested, so she didn’t mention it a lot. And she spent more time listening than talking when she came to see me. Except when she read to me.”
“What did she read you?”
“She said it was a Bible. It talked a lot about Jesus. The stories are great. He did all kinds of things, and you know what? Grace was a lot like Him. He cared about those people. The ones no one else cared about. Like me. I bet He would’ve sat here with me like Grace did. You would’ve loved having her read to you. I just know you would’ve.”
“So, she was preachy?”
“No! She wasn’t. She was the friendliest person I’ve ever met. At least she over looked my faults and tried to find something good in me.”
“Well, can we talk more about it out of the rain? We’re soaked and it’s freezing. Let me buy you some coffee, Dad. Or maybe you’d like to join me for lunch?”
“I don’t feel like eating.”
“Well, maybe you wouldn’t mind going with me to see where my new job is?”
“You got a new job, huh? What are you now? A doctor? A lawyer?”
“No. But the building that I work at is just down the road if you’d like to see it. And then you would be able to come see me more often because you’d know where to find me.”
“I guess. If it’s not too far?”
“Nope. Just down the road. Hop in the car.”
And he did just that. She helped him get comfortable and turned the heater on. She gave him a towel to wipe his face, and they watched the rain pour onto the windshield as the wipers swept it away. It was amazing that she could see where she was going as hard as the rain poured. But she kept going, until she came to the large gray building.
“Here it is!”
“The Shepherd’s Shelter? What kinda trick is this? I don’t need to be treated like dirt any more! Forget it,” he hollered as he opened the car door and took off walking down the street.
“Stop!” she hollered back. “I didn’t bring you here for you. I brought you here for me. This is where I work. How do you think I knew Grace moved?”
Instantly he turned. “Moved? She’s not dead?”
“No! She moved. Across town. There’s another shelter opening there, and they needed help. But she’ll be back. And you can come see her. And me, too.”
Just as she finished, he began to weep, and then he smiled. And when he did, she asked him to join her for lunch inside the shelter.
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