Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sad (07/26/07)
TITLE: What happened here?
By Misti Chancellor
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“Where is it that we’re going? And what was it you wanted me to see?” I queried, as we walked. The dead leaves on the path made a whispering, crunching sound as they slid away from our feet.
“We’ll be there shortly, and you’ll see. It’s pretty hard to explain without seeing it,” she replied.
We walked on in silence, up a hill, around a bend, and into a clearing. The clearing was surrounded by trees and bordered by a babbling stream. The leaves on the trees were gorgeous yellows and reds that contrasted beautifully with the pines, cedars, and evergreens that grew nearby. It was as picturesque a setting as one might hope to find. Doubtless it had been painted by gifted artists in times past.
In the middle of the clearing, like a giant blemish on a beautiful face, was a large pile of stones, wood and broken glass that fanned outward from its center.
Turning to my friend, I asked the obvious question, “What happened?” She stood for a few moments, gazing at the pile as if lost in an old and painful memory; as she turned to answer me, I noticed that tears were sliding down her cheeks.
“This used to be a church. It was full of loving, caring, wonderful people. They were upheld as the model church in the area, the example of everything a church ought to be. But, something happened. At first, it seemed to be just a little thing. There was an occasion that should have been a happy one, where two individuals got cross-ways with each other. Each of them aired their grievance to others of their friends, and it just snowballed from there. People forgot about loving and helping each other, and began picking at each other’s faults.
“One Sunday, as they met together, one person said something derogatory to someone else. What you see in front of you is the result. You see how the rubble spreads out from the center? They destroyed themselves from within.”
We stood there for a while, silently viewing the pile of rubble and pondering the sad lesson it gave. I noticed a marker next to the rubble, and walked over to read it. It said:
“Here lie the remains of the little church that once stood in this clearing. They are a testament to the truth of this verse: ‘But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.’ (Galatians 5:15, KJV). Learn from their experience, and avoid their fate.”
We walked away from the clearing with the vivid illustration of that truth etched forever in our memories.
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