Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: JOIE DE VIVRE (delight in being alive) (08/18/16)
TITLE: The Cross and the Blood
By Raymond Bouchoc
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Kristen opened the door, and saw Warren beaming with excitement. He dropped to a knee and held out a ring. “Marry me.”
Too excited to keep kneeling, he jumped up and hugged her. Warren shared how his dad found old stock certificates in the attic that belonged to his grandfather. His family now had loads of money.
Over the next five months, as they excitedly prepared for their wedding and for their life together, they bought a house, cars, and every other thing they desired. Then they married without a hitch.
Neither of them worked, and they enjoyed each other and all their things. Not much time passed, however, before boredom engulfed them. Eating out and playing games and watching movies lost its appeal.
“Hey, Warren?” Kristen asked one night as they sat on the couch together.
“Did you ever want to see the world, with all the beauty of nature?”
Warren looked at her, “That’s a fantastic idea!” He jumped up, “Let’s travel the world!”
They went to Europe first, visiting all the grand cities and historical sites. They were happy. Not that they hadn’t been happy before, but now they had something new to look forward to.
They traveled to Eastern Europe and the far east. After a while, though, the trees looked almost the same, and the food tasted about the same. Warren felt like he fell into a rut for the first time.
One night Kristen handed Warren a little box. Warren opened it, revealing a pair of baby booties. Warren and Kristen beamed at the idea of starting a family.
Warren got a job at a large corporation, not because he had to, but because he needed something to do. He did quite well at work and received promotions several times.
The years passed and Kristen gave birth several more times. Warren and Kristen had four beautiful, smart, and healthy children. They had it all, but Warren wasn’t happy.
He complained regularly to Kristen, but she didn’t quite get it. Warren couldn’t figure it out, either. He felt like he traveled in circles. He felt like he wasn’t getting anywhere.
Warren received another promotion at work. He did well at everything he put his hands to. People respected him, and he knew how to deal with them. He felt satisfied and accomplished, for a while. Soon, however, he fell back into the rut.
One afternoon at his lunch break, he decided to take a walk. He had no clients to eat with and thought he would try to enjoy the beautiful day.
Suddenly, snagging the toe of his shoe on the edge of the uneven sidewalk, he plunged straight down to the ground. Pain shot through his head, and he lay there dazed for a moment.
Opening his eyes, Warren found himself looking directly at a cross. It covered the whole side of the church in front of which he had fallen.
He rose to his knees. Blood fell from his head and onto his open hand. He looked up at the cross again. Something pierced his heart. Was it a memory, a thought, a presence? Whatever it was, it hit him hard, and he couldn’t hold it in any longer. Though he never cried before, he sobbed for a long time.
After a few long minutes, Warren walked into the church. The pastor happened to come in from the back as he entered the front.
The pastor paused, “Are you ok?”
Warren had blood everywhere. His clothes had torn. He had holes on his elbow and knee. He looked at himself, then back up at the pastor, “No. I am not ok. On the inside I feel like I look on the outside.”
The pastor shared the gospel with Warren, and he received it without hesitation. A flood of joy washed away his sorrow and despair. Again he cried, “This is what I have been looking for all my life.”
Kristen, too, received the gospel when Warren shared it with her. They began a new life together with the joy that comes only from Him who supersedes the delights of the world.
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