Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ZENITH (04/21/16)
TITLE: Reaching Out
By Cynthia G. Peoples
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“We are here today to say our final goodbyes to Jarrod Jenkins. We can see from the attendance here.... he was a man well known to this community and loved by all. But we can rest assured he is now in the arms of his Savior. God tells us in his word that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord and Jarrod was a believer. So, He's resting now and his work on earth is done. He'll be missed...... especially by his wife....Marilyn.....his father.......Carl, and his young son, Kyle.”
Tears filled Kyle's eyes but he was trying so hard to be strong and not sob out loud. But when the grave attendants began lowering the pine casket down into the deep hole..... he couldn't help it. He cried out in anguish and turned to his mother. She wrapped him in her arms and wept right along with him.
After the service, the three returned together to the Jenkins home to accept condolences from all the well wishers. But Kyle didn't want to talk to anybody. He ran up the stairs, straight to his bedroom. He rushed through the door......threw himself down on the bed...... and cried himself to sleep.
Carl was a widower and understood what they were going through. He wanted to help them through the grieving process but also knew it was going to be a long, hard road to healing......but with God's help.....he'd find a way.
Several months went by and then an idea came to him. He knew this was the answer to his prayers and would help Kyle deal with his grief. So Carl drove to his late son's home and knocked on the door.
“Good morning, Marilyn. Is Kyle up yet?”
“No, he's still up in his room and rarely comes out. I'm really worried about him.”
“I know,” he said. “But we'll get through this together.....and..... I have an idea.”
About that time, Kyle walked into the kitchen.
“Morning, Kyle,” grandfather said. “How about we go out back and work on that tree house today?”
Kyle shook his head. “I don't think so grandpa. Dad was supposed to help me with it and now he's gone.”
“Yes.......he's gone, son,” Marilyn said sadly. “But your grandpa can help you finish it. Why don't you let him help you?”
“Do I have to?”
“No, but I wish you would.”
Kyle finally agreed to join his grandfather outside. They left the house hand and hand and walked outside to the old oak tree standing in the middle of the back yard. They stood at the base of the tree looking upward. No words were spoken or needed.
The tree stood tall and reached up into the clear blue sky surrounded by soft, billowy clouds. The platform of the unfinished tree house stretched between two large limbs....from east to west. The siding was constructed from old barn lumber and one-half of the roof was covered with old, rusty, tin.
Kyle stood with his arm raised and pointed upward. “Dad's up there ain't he grandpa?”
“Yes, son,” he replied. “He is. Your dad is up there in heaven with the Lord. He's looking down at us, and praying that God will help us accept the fact that he's no longer here with us in body. But his spirit will always be with us and that's why I thought it might be a good idea to finish the tree house.”
He knelt down on the ground beside Kyle and continued. “When you get to feeling too bad and need to be near him and talk to him, you can come here. It's a fine tree house and reaches up to heaven about as close as you can get while still here on earth. And then when it's our turn to die, God will reach out and take us home with him. Then we'll get to see your dad again, in heaven.”
Kyle thought for a moment.....contemplating his grandpa's words. “You know grandpa,” he said. “I think your right. Let's finish it. I want to be able to look up as far as I can see.....and know that God and dad are reaching out to me.”
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