Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sunday School (10/25/07)
TITLE: Decision Time
By Deborah Engle
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Sitting down on a log by the water’s edge, Warren took in the view and allowed his spirit to rest in the tranquility of his surroundings. A small fishing boat bobbing along out towards a tiny island was about the only activity he saw aside from a few swimmers on a remote beach. Even on a holiday weekend in the middle of summer, this private lake allowed no high-powered motor boats or noisy jet skis. What an unexpected treasure he had come upon, and oh, how welcome it would be.
His recent promotion had come with greater responsibility but the financial compensation made up for that. Still, he realized he needed a place to get away. Could he make it work? The comfortable and inviting cabin was only a couple of years old, increasing the appeal of the property, but also adding to the price. Lost in thought, he missed the luminescent colors and the gentle humming of the dragonfly that hovered for a moment above the water before resuming its stop and go, zigzag journey. Only the distant sound of a church bell brought him back to reality. As the initial tolling of the bell gave way to the melody of long forgotten hymns, Warren listened, in awe of the unexpected offering. By the time he had heard What A Friend, Sweet By and By, and Whisper a Prayer, he was completely enchanted. Standing to search out the source of his pleasure, he spotted a small white church, complete with bell tower and steeple, on the far shore of the lake.
How long had it been since he had heard those songs? His earliest memories included attending Sunday school faithfully. His little boy innocence had embraced the love of the teachers and the excitement of the different activities. He had been a willing participant during the song service and remembered Mrs. Daniels, his first grade Sunday school teacher, smiling at his unabashed enthusiasm.
Finally the music came to an end, but Warren’s mind was still in the past. He could see a Sunday school program from long ago, to be presented before the whole church. Angela had the important part – and why not? She was pretty and smart and well behaved. Warren was chosen as a back up, but he didn’t give it much thought, sure that Angela already knew the part. To his dismay, she got stage fright and refused to come to church that day. After 10 minutes of cramming, he hesitantly took his place on the platform and stumbled through the chapter. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He leadeth me beside the still waters....He restoreth my soul: ...He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake...” What came next? “Um... I will fear no evil: for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff they comfort me... He restoreth my soul...Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.” He knew it wasn’t right, but everyone was smiling, and Mom had told him he did fine.
Absent-mindedly he wandered back over to the log and sat down again. Other memories clamored for his attention and many of his favorite teachers began to reintroduce themselves to him. Mr. Smalley in the junior department - once you were in his class you were fair game for his practical jokes. Beginning junior high, Mr. Sanchez and Mr. Smith had challenged him to study the scriptures. In the high school department, Mr. and Mrs. Russell had taught him the value of prayer. All good memories, and Warren wondered why he had allowed himself to wander away from something that had been so good to him.
The chill of the evening began to set in and he roused himself. As the setting sun cast its reflection across the water, Warren made two decisions. He would make an offer on this property first thing Monday morning but before that, he promised himself, he would be at that little white church for Sunday School in the morning.
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