Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Writing (01/11/07)
- TITLE: Writing For a Purpose
By SHANEIL HARADA
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The damage her spinal cord had received from the impact was irreparable. She was paralyzed from the waist down and would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. In one horrible moment, Sandra had gone from an outgoing woman, active in the children’s ministry at her church; to a homebound shadow of her former self, wallowing in depression.
The depression had grown over the last six months as she began to realize all of the things that she had taken for granted that she would never be able to do again. She couldn’t play tennis with her friends or coach her daughter’s soccer team in the summer. Riding horses was out, but worst of all she was no longer able to teach the four and five year olds class on Wednesday nights at her church.
Sandra’s Wednesday night classes had long been a source of joy and purpose for her. But the wheelchair just made it too difficult to maneuver in the cramped classroom. This Wednesday night it struck her even worse than before because it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and she always dressed up as a pilgrim and helped the children make Indian headbands. Then she would tell them the story of the first Thanksgiving.
She sat alone in the house that night, as she had sent her husband and daughters to church without her. For a while, she just sat and stared at a wall, fighting the tears that threatened. Finally, in anger and frustration she cried out to God. “Why have you taken this from me? Everything else I can live without, but how can I serve you from this chair?” Tears fell onto her tightly clenched hands, “I’m not asking for healing Lord, all I want is a purpose.” Exhausted by her grief, she started to doze.
She dreamed she was twelve years old again and she had just fallen off of her horse, Midnight, and broken her leg. She had lain in her room devastated that she wouldn’t be able to go to soccer camp like she had planned. Feeling sorry for her, her mother had brought her a present. It was a beautiful leather journal. “You can write your feelings and thoughts, or little stories or poems in it.” Her mother had explained. With nothing better to do, she had done just that. That was the summer that she had discovered the gift she had for writing.
She woke with a start. Suddenly excited, she realized that the dream had been the answer to her prayer. She had wanted to know what she could do while confined to a wheelchair, and writing was the answer. She quickly set to work rearranging the computer desk so that she would be able to reach everything she needed without having to stretch too far. And then she set to work.
Since she hadn’t been able to tell her class the story of the first Thanksgiving, she decided to type it up, exactly as she had told it every year. Online she found websites that displayed her work for others to read. Many people responded to her post with requests to use it in their own classes. Sandra was ecstatic; she knew that God had answered her prayer, giving her a way to serve him despite her limitations.
Grinning she prayed, “With you God, I can do anything. Thank you for giving me a purpose again.” Then she set to work writing a story around the lesson she would have been teaching next, knowing that it would be used to further God’s kingdom, which was exactly what she wanted to be doing at that moment.
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