Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: ZEST (10/01/15)
TITLE: The Need to be Lively
By Ken Grant
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"Please find your seats everyone."
"Now, Jimmy. Is that the kind of attitude Jesus would have?"
Her affected smile and gleaming teeth had the desired effect. Jimmy nodded, smiled slightly, and quickly moved to his seat.
"Thank you, Jimmy. Now we can get started. Who wants to recite the memory verse?"
An eager young girl raised her hand.
"Yes, Rebecca. Go ahead."
Rebecca stood to her feet. She was clearly a little anxious, but also excited at the same time.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians four thirteen."
"Wonderful, Rebecca. You can sit down."
Monica allowed as many who wanted to try to take their turn. Her mind spun as she thought about the words that they were saying. They were true and mostly recited properly. Could these young children possibly understand what they were saying? Could she? Could anyone?
"That was wonderful everyone. Never be afraid to try. Now let's get into our reading groups."
The room became a whirl of motion. Young boys and girls finding their places, opening their bibles, and reading in turn. Monica was so proud of how far they had come. She had molded them into a true unit. They could find their places in their bibles, they could read in turn, and most could recite the memory verse each week. She could not be prouder of her achievements.
Monica was jolted out of her thoughts. She looked down into the large, brown eyes of Jose; her favorite student.
"Yes, Jose," She said as she knelt down and gave him a large, bright smile.
"I love you, Mrs. Raymond."
"I love you, Jose. Is there anything else?"
"No," Jose smiled and rushed back to his seat.
Monica loved the energy all around her. It filled her up. It gave her life. Finally it was time for them to go back to their parents. She smiled as they filed out. Jose at the end gave her a big wave and then the room was silent. Monica sat down in a chair and began to cry.
"I don't know how long I can keep doing this."
"Did you say something?"
Monica turned around in the chair. It was Lisa who taught the fifth and sixth graders. They were much tougher to handle, but Lisa loved it. Monica was ashamed of her weakness and more ashamed of having been found out. She was supposed to be upbeat and lively. Zest was her mode of being. It was what drove her.
"I'm sorry, Lisa. Just having a moment."
Lisa grabbed a chair and sat down next to Monica. She took Monica's hand and said, "You are allowed to have a moment. You don't have to be upbeat all the time."
"Don't I?" Monica's voice rose more than she intended, but she had started and she had to continue. "You hear him. All the pastor preaches about is that we should always have victory. If we just have faith then everything is all good. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. No losing."
Lisa squeezed Monica's hand and asked, "How bad are things at home?"
"Dave and I hardly speak. The kids are into so much stuff I've stopped trying. It is all out of control. But I have to keep up appearances. I have to keep my zest."
Monica tried to smile, but it wouldn't come.
"You have to take care of your family."
"I don't know how."
"Then let's see what we can do together."
Lisa helped Monica to her feet as she said, "You will help these children much more by being real that by being fake. Real lessons last forever."
The two walked out together. Monica felt a little true zest and she was hoping for more in the future. Not fake, but real and that was something she could pass along to her kids that would truly matter.
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