Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Endless (01/09/14)
- TITLE: The "ENDLESS" Lesson
By Dusty Fontaine
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Frank and my daughters had grown close over the last year, ever since he brought them to his ranch and introduced them to their own horses. They spent the summer with him learning to be accomplished equestrians. His death would be hard on them.
My oldest daughter, Jenny, seemed especially affected. In the days before the funeral she would hardly come out of her room. Her younger sister, Janet, was holding up fairly well, and tried her best to comfort Jenny.
After the funeral, Jenny started venturing out of her room; joining us for meals and watching television. But she still couldn’t bring herself to join us when we went to church. She would say she wasn’t in the mood. We didn’t push her.
About four weeks after the accident, my wife announced she thought it was time we had our weekly family-game-night again. I told her I thought it was too soon, and didn’t think Jenny would be up for it. She disagreed, insisting it would do her good to get her mind on something other than Uncle Frank’s passing. We’ve had game night every week since.
We played Monopoly one week, Yahtzee the next, and then Pictionary. Each week, Jenny came out of her shell a little bit more. My wife was right; getting the family back to its normal routine was good for her. She was able to control the sorrow that overwhelmed her just a few weeks earlier -- until last night.
We played a game called Fill-in-the-Blank. A player picks a card and flips it face up on the table. The card contains only one word and a blank space. Each player takes a minute to write a word or phrase that best fills in the blank. The player that turned up the card then judges which player has given the best answer.
The game was going beautifully, with the whole family laughing as one or more of us tried desperately to argue the case for our answer to be chosen by the judge. But the fun ended when Janet threw a card into the middle of the table that contained the word DEAD followed by a blank. Jenny leapt from her chair and bolted to her room in tears. The sound of hurting permeated through her bedroom door.
“Are you okay, Jen?” I pulled her close, allowing the flood of sorrow on her face to soak into my shirt.
“I’ll be alright, Dad, she answered through sniffles. “But, I do have one question… why are the rest of you not affected by Uncle Frank’s death the way I am?”
“Oh, honey, we are affected. It’s just that we are filtering his death through spiritual eyes. The sting of death is missing. A bee, without a stinger is just a pest. That’s what death is for the Christian – just a pest.”
“Well, why don’t I have spiritual eyes?”
“You have to feed the Spirit, honey. You’ve been starving Him ever since the accident. You won’t go to church; you won’t open your bible. That’s where you’ll find the strength to get through this… Do you remember earlier tonight when Mom played the card with the word, ENDLESS on it?
“Do you remember how Janet answered?”
“That’s right. And your answer was ENDLESS pancakes at IHOP. Do you see how two people can look at the same thing through different filters? Your answer was filtered through IHOP, which feeds the belly. Her answer was filtered through the bible, which feeds the Spirit. This concept works the same with every aspect of our life, including our views on death. Understand?”
“Amazingly, I do. But, I would like to remind you that Mom picked my answer as the winner.”
“Yeah… I have no response to that.” We both laughed.
“I want to go to church with you guys this weekend.”
“That’s great, baby girl. We’d love to have you with us.”
“But Dad – is it okay if we go for pancakes tomorrow?”
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