Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Inner Strength (04/20/06)
- TITLE: "Thanks For Being Here"
By Marilyn Schnepp
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I wish I could tell you that my window overlooks a beautiful lake where water lilies grow and baby ducks swim; or that I watch a robin build her nest in the big oak tree and smell cookies baking in the Keebler Elves hideaway...but I cannot lie.
My window on the world, I'm sorry to say, looks out on wall to wall concrete, lined on both sides with bars, disco's and pool halls, with an occasional Sports Bar and tattoo parlor thrown in for good measure.
So as you can see, I'm a bit sparse on baby ducks and robins, but up to my armpits in pigeons and boom boxes. Like I said, it's "location, location, location".
This ultra lively area where I live is called "Five Points South" and is known as the Hub of the city - not Uptown or Downtown, but THE HUB! Five main thoroughfares intersect at this juncture, giving it the name; and if you're looking for fun and excitement - This is the place!
However, one neighbor, which is right across the street from me, seems to be out of place amongst its noisy neighbors with their late night crowds, neon lights and blaring music,.. it's a Church.
Now this beautiful church with it's tall, stately bell tower and stained glass window might appear to be out of it's element, but nobody can hold a candle to the amazing love, tolerance and total dedication that emits from within those hallowed walls.
Every morning I watch the homeless line up at the side door of the Church for breakfast. Twice a month they pick up Senior Citizens and take them grocery shopping, They constantly give out clothes and blankets to the needy, and if that isn't enough...check this out!
Guys with purple spiked hair and girls in gothic black, sit, sprawl, and lounge on the front steps of the church, scattering trash and debris as they go. People unleash their dogs and let them run free while they take a snooze on the front lawn.
At first I was shocked at this irreverant behavior - but did the Church put up fences or signs saying "DO NOT WALK ON THE GRASS" or "STAY OUT"? Did they remove the trespassers, or hire a Security Guard?
Unbelievable!.., but the answer is - Negative! No! Nada! Never! Instead, a Church janitor, or volunteer cleans up after them, picking up the bottles and cans, hour after hour, day after day, and month after month.
I've been watching them for many months now, and I'm convinced these believers practice what they preach - or to use another expression, "They're putting their money where their mouth is", or in THIS case -"putting their faith where their heart is".
The members of this church, from the minister on down to the newest convert, are a "shining example" of Inner Strength to the neighborhood, "a pillar of Hope" to the lost and downtrodden, and a "Touch of Class" to an otherwise chaotic and frenzied Five Points South!
By day, you can hear the Church bells chime off the Hour, reminding us of time; and at night, you can see the majestic bell tower silhouetted silently against the midnight sky ...symbolizing stability and giving us a sense of serenity and peace.
From my window I admire my neighbor's patience, tolerance and most of all their Inner Strength - and I'm so grateful for their presence in my little corner of the world.
Perhaps one day I'll get up enough courage to walk across the street, knock on their door, and tell them in person...but until then, I think I'll send them a fan letter just saying "Thanks for being there", and sign it ..."Your #1 Fan".
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"Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everylasting Strength". Isa 26:4 KJV
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