Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: DULL (05/12/17)
TITLE: A Storm Is Brewing
By Phillip Cimei
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Tornadoes were a given in Oklahoma. But a different kind of storm hit Jeremiah’s town, his school. and sadly enough, him. This one was catastrophic.
Oologah Public Schools was the pride of this community. Though small in size, it was an A+ school and only one of seven schools statewide chosen for this prestigious honor. The school was resilient. It overcame the twister that destroyed its buildings in 1991. But the damage this new storm would impose, now twenty years down the road, couldn’t be repaired with bricks, mortar, hammers, and nails. The school would birth a monster storm that would devour seven innocent little children, and Jeremiah would find himself one of those in its devastating path.
The air was filled with chatter intermingled with playful laughter. It was recess time at Oologah Elementary. The playground buzzed with active children doing what they knew best. But an ominous black cloud would interrupt their jovial mood and would send the children, the parents, and this community into a panic. Some of those children would say good-by to not only their childhood, but to some of their classmates.
In less than twenty-four hours, two students would be dead and five other children would come in contact with a storm called meningitis. Viral meningitis was manageable, but this was bacterial meningitis. And Jeremiah would soon find out how life changing it would be. He had a fever.
His mother frantically petitioned God for healing as she stood in the ER listening to the doctor’s diagnosis, “His fever, vomiting, and rash appear to be Roseola, but considering I lost one child today to meningitis, I don’t want to take a chance.” Her short-lived hope faded as fast as Jeremiah’s childhood dreams. It was meningitis, and it had entered his blood releasing septic toxins.
Jeremiah lay there in a medically induced coma. His body was thrown into the piranha infested waters of this ravenous monster. Amputation could only stop this feast. All that remained of arms and legs were nubs. His face also devoured: his lips deformed and void of that once impish smile; his eyelids removed and unable to fan away his tears; his facial features, once poster child handsome, now a patchwork of skin grafts. A little boy shouldn’t have to wake to a nightmare of this proportion.
He couldn’t verbalize his fears as he awoke to his new world. The hole in his throat would only allow him to speak with God. His family and church pleaded on his behalf, but HE must ask God, “Why? Why won’t I be able to whistle at a bird, run as swift as a deer, or climb a tree like a playful squirrel on a fall morning? Will I ever be able to catch a fish again, hold a roasted marshmallow, throw a winning touchdown or hit the game winning homerun?” And what did God whisper back?
God might have said, “Be brave my little soldier; in due time, you will again have your childhood. Be patient for I need you to give hope to the downtrodden, vision to the complainers, and be a light to those smitten with a dark cloud of tragedy like yours. But you will have to work hard and prepare.” Jeremiah’s emotional challenges would outweigh the physical ones.
Through tearful eyes he watched others run, skip, and try to balance on skateboards while he attempted to balance on stubby artificial feet. Day after day, hour after hour, one step then another, one new task, one more obstacle. No complaints, or moaning about his dull regimental life. Ahead, more repetitive, wearisome tasks.
Once he conquered walking he still had to learn to operate prosthetic arms and hands. While other children were picking up crayons, he was struggling to pick up a spoon, a cup, or even a comforting stuffed animal. He would not succumb to what others thought was a dull and boring childhood.
If you had a less than exciting childhood and ran into Jeremiah, you would have probably left with this thought, “I complained I had no childhood, until I had met a boy who had no…”
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