Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Bon Voyage (09/05/05)
TITLE: The Ship
By Rachel Burkum
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I stared at my best friend as she headed father away from the dock. Why was she wishing me a safe trip? She was the one who was leaving. Finally, I lost sight of her altogether as the ship crested the horizon. I stuffed my hands in my pockets and trudged up the weather-beaten dock.
There were many other people there. Some crying, some screaming and some who hid their agony. No one spoke, but we all knew why we were there. We all had experienced a loss. Some had lost their spouses, their children or parents. There were some, like me, who had lost lifelong friends.
This whole thing just wasn’t fair! My friend and I had done everything together, and now it was all over. The pain of losing her, and the loneliness had already set in.
I hung my head as I walked the long road home. What was I supposed to do now? I couldn’t cry to my parents - they’d told me all along what would happen. “That ship comes and goes more often than we like,” they’d said, “and your friend is heading for it.” Why did they have to be right? I’d never admit it aloud, but for once, I wished I would have listened to them.
By the time I reached home, it was dark. As I turned on the light in my bedroom, I noticed a package on my nightstand. After closer inspection, I realized it was from my best friend. Part of me didn’t even want to open it, but I gave in and tore into the paper. I rolled my eyes as I withdrew a Bible. She had to be kidding me. Did she really think I’d want to be a loser like her? Realizing there was a note, I flopped down on my bed to read. “I miss you already,” it started out.
“Then why did you leave?” I grumbled.
“I know you don’t understand right now, but I can’t believe it took me this long to realize where I needed to go.” I grimaced. Yeah, it hadn’t been until that preacher had got a hold on her that she’d started getting weird. “All I want is for you to join me and see what I see.” Uh-huh, sure. That didn’t sound too fair to me. “This is a gift for you,” the note concluded. “May your journey of discovery be safe and may you find salvation.” Salvation? That’s what she’d always called it. It had obviously sounded good to her, but now I was alone, stranded to keep on by myself. Why should I want to go with her? My family and any other friends I had left were here.
Something deep down finally asked, “What was so important that she’d leave everything to get it?” So maybe I was a little curious. Sighing, I grabbed the Bible and let it fall open. What would it hurt to read just a little?
I glanced down at my watch and couldn’t believe it was two in the morning. How on earth had the Scriptures captivated me so? But something felt different. Where had my anger gone? I suddenly knew the impact these verses had had on my friend. No wonder she’d left. She’d wanted eternal life. She’d left her world behind to follow Christ because He’d died for her. I began to understand salvation. She hadn’t thrown away everything she’d had. She’d gained so much more. How could I have been so blind?
I stood on the ship and stared down at my parents. They stood on the dock where I’d been standing just the day before. Now it was their turn to feel the emptiness. But I’d left them a package too. A tear ran down my face as the longing in my heart intensified. I wanted them to be on this ship with me. I finally understood. My best friend came and put her arm around my shoulder. “It’ll be okay,” she whispered. “Come let me introduce you to our Captain.”
I gave one last wave to the crowd and whispered, “Bon voyage.”
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