Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS (Don't write about the song) (04/16/15)
TITLE: The Greatest Blessing
By Milly Born
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“My friends, please lend your ear to what I want to share:
The journey of my life, which started out so fair.
But now my lady Fortune withdrew her gen'rous hand;
Alone, I'm trudging on this road towards a cruel end.
“May Father Time show mercy and stall his hasty stride,
For in his wake walks Death, his grimace dark and snide.
Beneath the weight of age that’s pressing on my soul,
I wince. I will succumb, no longer in control.
“And yet in years of yonder, I stood so tall and strong.
My journey was a wonder; success was all along
The road. I toiled, but property and power
Sustained me on my way in ev'ry single hour.
“One ranch, two farms, three barns, a million acres land,
A thousand cattle, twenty cowboys, seven helpful hands.
Fifteen thoroughbred and muscled quarter horses,
Three wives and seven concubines (oh yes—and two divorces).
“Three trucks and seven tractors, four cars, two limousines,
Prestige, respect, and jealous looks from fellow citizens.
Well-dressed, well-fed—because when wine and food abound...
Almost a million dollars in a bank account.
“Alas! My status and my riches can't alleviate
My misery—or deviate the heartless course of fate.
I ask myself, as ailment my old body devastates,
‘Why, oh why is there no exit from my dire straits?’”
As soon as Brad finished speaking, Phil, in the next bed, answered,
“Woe to you! Although you never traveled in God’s way,
You now are asking—puzzled—what has gone astray.
I tell you, your affliction’s on your own and foolish head;
By the seven deathly sins, you’re hopelessly misled.
“But look at me—wasting away, although I went to church.
I loath this suff’ring; pain and sickness form a nasty smirch
On my unblemished name as zealous, pious man.
I can’t imagine that this end was written in God’s plan.
“Ev’ry Sunday, all my life, I sat on pew eleven.
It even had my name engraved—a stepping stone to heaven.
Perfect offspring—seven children—with my only wed.
(Although my eyes indulged sometimes, defiled is not our bed.)
“The Ten Commandments—calligraphic letters framed in gold—
Adorned each room, on ev'ry wall, for all eyes to behold.
Ev’ry evening, prayed ‘Our Father;’ read the Holy Bible.
Paid my tithe; the name of God—I never used it idle.
“Always working to ensure my share of God's affection
His provisions and His blessings, His divine protection.
I still fell ill. Perplexed, I struggle—where did I go wrong?
Or wasn't God consid'ring me and absent all along?”
In the third bed, Arthur, the oldest and sickest of the three men, shook his head and said,
“Both of you, you spoke your thoughts in no uncertain terms.
Though not a scholar of God's Word, my mouth cannot affirm
Your desp'rate, bitter words. My suffering despite,
Jesus has never left me; He's right here by my side.
“I’m grateful for God’s countless blessings on my earthly ways,
but only one will cleave to me, gains my eternal praise.
The greatest gift, which gold can’t buy, nor virtue ever glean,
Will bless me in eternity: my sinfulness redeemed.
“So while I am infirm like you, and I will surely die,
I look at Him who died for me and cannot help but cry,
‘Oh Lord, my God, I thank you so for blessings from above,
But most of all, I thank You for Your grace—my hope—Your love.’”
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