Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DAYDREAM (12/08/16)
- TITLE: A New Heart
By LeslieJean Anderson
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“Please don’t yell, Martin. She wants us to take her to church. And she says that if we don’t, she’ll ask the neighbors.”
The large man frowned. “Where is she getting these religious fantasies, Wanda? Maybe it’s from your mother and the Bible stories she used to read to her. It’s beginning to worry me. We need to prepare her for the real world!”
“Martin, she is only eleven. Reality will hit her soon enough. Let’s humor her for a while. Let her go with the neighbors. She’ll probably grow out of it.”
But Samantha did not grow out of it. The following year she wanted to be baptized, and pestered her parents for permission. Martin refused, and was rude to the pastor when he called them about it.
“Absolutely not, Reverend. I don’t want to encourage my daughter in these religious myths. She does enough daydreaming. Religion is dangerous. She needs to face this harsh world as it really is, not as she would like it to be.”
But late one night Martin heard her talking to somebody in her room. He stood at the door and listened.
“Father, please forgive my Daddy. He just does not understand that You love him a million times more than even I do. I will keep trying to show him Your love by being patient like You are. Maybe he will change his mind and take me to church soon. I want to go to Heaven someday and I want him there too with me and Mommy. Please bless him in every way, Father. I love him and Mommy too. Amen.”
Quietly Martin removed his glasses and pressed a huge hand to his eyes. “Damn,” he muttered under his breath, and silently tiptoed away.
The next Sunday Samantha’s parents told her to get dressed in something pretty, because they had a surprise for her. When they entered the church parking lot, Samantha squealed.
“Daddy, are you really taking us to church? Yippee!”
Samantha pulled her reluctant parents into the church building, where Martin sat with his big arms folded through most of the service. But they came back the following Sunday and every week after that.
Finally, Samantha’s parents gave their permission for her to be baptized, and they stood up with her in front of the church as she received the ordinance.
“I don’t understand why this makes her so happy,” said Martin to his wife later. “It’s like she sees something we don’t.”
“My mother was the same way,” said Wanda. “She seemed to see beyond this earthly plane. Almost like she had some kind of spiritual sight that we don’t have. Even on her deathbed, she was reassuring us that she was going someplace wonderful.”
The following week, Martin had a massive heart attack. He survived, but was not expected to live long without a heart transplant.
Samantha and her mother prayed by his bedside every day. Even though he could not move, Martin could hear them. Silently, he added his prayers to theirs. Deep in his mind, he confessed his unbelief to his Creator, and promised that he would live a life of faith and service if a new heart was found for him.
The days ticked by without a donor, and finally Martin asked for the hospital chaplain. As the man of God leaned over the patient, Martin croaked, “God… Confession...”
The chaplain quickly called his wife and daughter, and Martin was given the last rites. He appeared to be unconscious, but Wanda noticed a change in his expression as the ordinance concluded. He squeezed her hand and seemed to relax.
Late that night a donor was found and Martin received the heart of a student who’d been killed on a motorcycle.
When he finally regained consciousness, the first thing Martin said was, “Thanks be to God!”
He made a rapid recovery, and soon he was studying the Bible with Samantha and Wanda, memorizing scripture, and volunteering at church.
One day, he said to his wife and daughter, “I want to share a secret with you.”
When he had their full attention, he said, “During my surgery, I was spiritually awake. I saw the student and people I recognized smiling at me from a staircase that was filled with a Holy light coming from Heaven. And I know at last what reality is! Reality is the Eternal God Who created all things, including us. And Heaven is our real home!”
749 words This is a work of fiction.
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