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E - Everyone

The Greatest Testimony

by rosette


 Gordan rapped his knuckles against the faded red door in front of him, before taking a step back and sliding his hand into the pockets of his jeans. He breathed in the morning air, studying the landscape about him, the blooming lavenders, the thin spruce tree popping out of a freshly mowed lawn. Beside him, Chris released a heavy sigh, shifting to get a better look at his pastor. "You ready for this?"

Gordan chuckled, and shook his head thoughtfully, eyeing the young man. "There's a reason I brought you here with me, Brother Beltran." He could not trust himself to do this alone. Chris bobbed his blond head rapidly, face constricting solemnly.

A whoosh of cold air sprang their way as the door opened and Daniel gazed out at them. "Pastor Jones, Chris," he nodded his head at each of the men. "Come on in." Gordan caught the flat tone in his voice, that depression weighing down his words. It'd been there consistently for weeks. At every church service, every biblestudy, and each and every single time anybody interacted with the man, Daniel sulked. Gordan was thoroughly exasperated with his attitude, and could only agree with the Lord that it was time to put Daniel Parker back in his place.

The men stepped through the doorway, and Daniel motioned for them to sit in the seats a few steps from the front door, seating himself in a plush reclincer on the other side of the coffee table. He looked at Gordan, expectantly, but Chris spoke before he could open his mouth. "How are you doing, Daniel? You seem to be fairing pretty well." He smiled encouragingly.

Daniel lifted one eyebrow with a shrug. "It has only been a few weeks since I found out." There was that pessimism again. Gordan studied the man across from him, noting the sunken cheeks and dark rings beneath his eyes. He had lost some weight, but that was nothing major. Nothing that, if Gordan had spotted him strolling down the street, he would instantly suspect this individual had lung cancer.

"Best keep up your golf while you can," noted Gordan, in an attempt to lighten the mood, nodding at the stand bag behind the door. Daniel latched onto those words, and the men exchanged small talk on sports, the weather, last week's bible study, the visitor who found their teachings fascinating, and so on. After about half an hour had passed, Chris caught his pastor's eye with the slightet twich of his brow. Gordan cleared his throat. It was time.

"Daniel... I came here for a reason, as you know... There's something the Lord impressed upon my heart to tell you." He ran a hand over the top of his head, felt the stiffly geled hairs and widening bald spot. Help me, Lord. Daniel waited, an almost eager expression highlighting his features. The realization came to Gordan then, that Daniel was most likely expecting a prophesy.

There had been many of them, from various churches and prophets; red-faced preachers storming through town, declaring healing, freedom and victory in Jesus' name. They had wept and wailed and made intercession to God. Oh, they were so confident Daniel would be healed. "Don't you say so, Pastor?!" they'd ask Gordan. " Why don't you just say it! Declare it! In the name of Jesus! In the name of Jesus!" Gordan would not say it, neither would he declare it. He had kept silent during all the commotion, preferring to watch from the sidelines.

"Why haven't I been healed yet?" Daniel had asked Gordan once. "Why don't you just agree, and prophesy with them? If you only would, I'm sure there'd be healing." But Gordan would not, rather, he could not. Unless, he told Daniel, the Lord directed him to do so. There were too many false prophets in the world, and for now, they could only put their trust in God.

But God had not brought him here today to prophesy words of healing over Daniel's body. Not at all. Gordan experienced a twinge of pain when he looked at that hope radiating across the table from him. Oh, Lord... He decided it would be best to simply state it right out front.

"You're going to die."

Daniel's face grew still at the words. He did not panic, as some would have suspected, only kept his keen blue gaze upon Gordan's face. "That is what you have come to tell me," he said quietly. He did not ask it as one would ask a question, yet his words seemed to convey a deeper meaning.

Gordan clasped his thick hands together and leaned forward with a heavy sigh. He remembered what the Lord had spoken to him, the full impact of that experience, of those words, coursing through his spirit and body. Only with your help, Lord.

"These past few weeks," he began, keeping his voice steady and concise, "you have been showing up at the church, whining and moping and complaining that you're dying, and you don't want to, and this was not the way things were supposed to go, and why haven't you been healed yet?"

His voice strengthened as he continued, and awoke with a firey passion. "That is not the way a Christian is to leave this world - selfishly clinging to what they want. What they think is best for them. Do you not think that He knows what is best for you? That He had this plan for you from the very beginning? You are going to be with your Savior and you - you want to remain on this earth?!"

Gordan's face was alive with heat and his hands trembled, from anger or shock, he knew not.

"You ought to lift up your hands and praise Him - you ought to give Him thanks for putting that disease in your body, for giving you this chance to live with Him, to see Him so soon and worship Him in spirit and in truth."

Daniel's eyes brimmed with tears and his face crumpled just the slightest. He lay his face in his hands. "You have been given this opportunity," whispered Gordan, hoarsely," to live with Him for eternity, and you ought to show this world just what it looks like... for a Christian to finally go home."

---

In the months following, friends, family and co-workers wondered what exactly had happened with Daniel Parker. They would speak about his upcoming death with great sorrow etched into their voices, but he no longer responded negatively, as they expected. He actually seemed to rejoice about it. He actually seemed happy. For the life of them, they simply could not understand.

When Daniel finally went to be with the Lord months later, he made sure his church family was surrounding him, singing and worshipping. He died peacefully, and that funeral was the greatest funeral Gordan had ever conducted. One would think there'd be much mourning and weeping, and while there certainly was, no one could deny the atmosphere of thankfulness. Daniel was gone, but he was faring much better than any of them. His cancer was gone, the disease wrecking his body to be heard of no more; he was in the presence of the Almighty God, forever singing His praises.

Oh, he wanted people to know that, too. And, how it made them wonder. Gordan could only shake his head at the remarkability of the whole event. It was the greatest testimony, he thought, that a dying person could give.

---

For Show Your Shorts month. Word count: 1,234.


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Sat May 06, 2017 5:59 pm
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alliyah wrote a review...



Hi there pkidchick! :) Just stopping by to review your lovely story (by the way it's awesome that you're getting involved in Show Your Shorts month! Best of luck completing that!)

I'm kind of going to go through and point out stuff as I see it, and then come back to overall impressions at the end. So without further ado,

In the opening paragraph you have a good balance of character introduction, and scenery. Sometimes writers get bogged down when they take a paragraph describing the setting and it feels unnatural or unneeded. Here I thought you had a good balance of description without going too far. One way you did this was by linking the description to the actions that were happening (ie. you described the door because our character was interacting with it, you described the immediate surroundings in relation to the characters etc). One confusion I had in the opening paragraph was in this sentence: "Beside him, Chris released a heavy sigh, shifting to get a better look at his pastor. " it's not immediately clear who the subject is, in other words I wasn't sure if "his pastor" referred to Chris, Gordan, or a third person. So clarifying that sentence would be good. I actually came across this issue a few times where I was unsure who was speaking/being spoken to/who was who.

Third paragraph: I love this description here;

"Gordan caught the flat tone in his voice, that depression weighing down his words. It'd been there consistently for weeks. At every church service, every biblestudy, and each and every single time anybody interacted with the man, Daniel sulked. "
(side note: I think Bible Study is actually two words, generally with Bible capitalized) This subtle introduction of conflict is elegantly done, and I can just kind of picture this character's tone from the way you describe it.

In the 4th paragraph, I realized I had no idea where the characters were (in a church, in a house, in a meeting room of some kind) I think along with the descriptive elements you already have just clearing up the location would be good to keep the readers from wondering.

I think it's a bit odd that you describe eyebrow movements twice within two paragraphs (5 & 6) - that might just be me though.

I'd like a bit more interiority into why exactly Gordan doesn't declare healing in the name of Jesus, I'd like to have more insight into his thought process and maybe background.
The dialogue in this paragraph seems really judgemental without some of that background knowledge:
""These past few weeks," he began, keeping his voice steady and concise, "you have been showing up at the church, whining and moping and complaining that you're dying, and you don't want to, and this was not the way things were supposed to go, and why haven't you been healed yet?""
knowing some of the motivation behind the words would help Gordan be a more sympathetic character unless that's not what you're going for.

I like the last portion, I wonder if you could add some biblical reference to those who go through suffering in the Bible as that might make the claim about it being a great testimony even stronger.

I also think before the last two paragraphs it'd be nice to hear a bit about Daniel's thought process, maybe by incorporating a bit of dialogue from him. What type of man was he? Why was he moved by the Pastor's words? etc.

Overall thoughts
Overall, I think it's an interesting story over a topic that doesn't get covered all that much. I liked that you boldly decided to write a story with Christian themes - very cool! I think a little bit more character development and understanding the character's thought processes would add a lot to the story. I enjoyed reading it though! Please reach out if you have any questions or comments about my review.

Best,
alliyah




rosette says...


Thanks for the review, alliyah! why are y'all so good at this tho You've certainly given me some stuff to work on here. :D
Spoiler! :
I think it's a bit odd that you describe eyebrow movements twice within two paragraphs (5 & 6) - that might just be me though.

Ack. I'm super eyebrow-crazy; I refer to them in literally all of my stories. XD sorry about that!



alliyah says...


The more eyebrows the merrier! :D



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Sat May 06, 2017 3:41 pm
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Lumi wrote a review...



Hi, pckldchick!

Diving right in, the weakest part of the entire piece shows to be the epilogue that you've set up, which really came across as just buffer to get more words in. I would much rather have read more about Daniel himself--preferred against Gordon because I find him pretentious--and see the last scenes and days of his life without summary. I think there's a huge missed opportunity there for some major character development to give the reader some emotional impact right at the end.

Regarding the story as a whole, it read as very slow and painful at times--mostly when Gordon was posturing as a pastor postures--until the end of the scene between Gordon and Daniel. I have an issue with the entire piece in that there's no reason for the third character to be there, and I forgot his name for this reason (and didn't care to go back to find his name.)

The narrator comes across as very judgmental in the first half, and it will turn off a lot of readers. Cancer gives people a right to be cynical and angry unlike anything a religion can posture away with Psalms or verses. My favorite part was Gordon's scathing regards for the holiness churches.

I hope this helps,
Lumi




rosette says...


I like a lot of the points you've presented here (guess I'll have to work on that epilogue); but as your last paragraph states, I really was worried about turning off readers, seeing as this is an... odd story.
But thanks so much for the fab review!
:)




“I don't talk things, sir. I talk the meaning of things.”
— Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451