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MAY 2005 ISSUE HOMEPAGE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Breath of Fresh Air
A Merry Heart
A Woman's World
A Word in Season
Acting Up
As I Imitate Christ
Cyber Walk
Faith Seekers
Golden Apples
Heaven Bound
Just Between Men
Take it to Heart
Teen Truth
The Joy of Family
The Parents'
Survival Guide

The Rhythm of Life
The Treehouse
Through Their Eyes
'Tis the Season
We Are the Church
Well Read


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My Place
By Violet Nesdoly

Haley sat in bed staring into space, her sketchbook open beside her. Trying to draw the bird had brought it all back. Now the pictures in her head were ones she'd rather forget. Her face felt hot just thinking about it.

It had been gym class. Mr. Forbes had said they'd choose teams and play baseball.

"Denise," Clayton had called when she and Denise were the only ones not chosen.

Haley looked down. She was going to be the last one picked again.

"Who's left?" Larson asked.

Clayton's voice was teasing. "Haley!"

A few minutes later Haley stood out in right field. That's when she saw the bird flying toward the cloud castle. How she wished she were that bird and could fly far away from her Grade 6 baseball game.

But the crack of a bat brought her back to earth. Oh horrors, the ball was bouncing toward her, past her.

"Haley!" Larson yelled. "Stop dreaming and get in the game. Dozy!"

And things didn't get any better. When it was her turn to bat, the kids laughed at the way she swung and she started to cry. Finally Mr. Forbes let her sit out the rest of the game.

Now she saw Mom in the doorway and she flipped her sketchbook closed.

"Why so quiet tonight?" Mom asked, sitting on her bed.

Haley looked down, squeezing her eyes shut to hold in the tears.

"School?" Mom asked.

"Baseball," Haley muttered. Then the dam burst. "I'm useless at it too," she sobbed. "Why can't I be good at just one sport so the kids will want me on their team?"

Mom handed her a tissue. "Being chosen for a sports team isn't all there is. Look at how well you draw."

"But I want to be on a team," Haley sniffed. "That's all that matters at my school."

"You forget, Haley, there's someone who has picked you for a team and whose opinion is even more important than the kids at school."

"I'm not on a team."

"When you gave your heart to Jesus, you became a part of His team. He made you and He knows just what your special talents are and where they're needed. You'll find your place. Why don't we make that our little prayer project?"

Haley slowly climbed out of bed and knelt beside Mom to pray.

A few Sundays later, Mrs. Cunningham announced a children's musical with singing and a play.

"You could join the kids' chorus," Mom urged Haley. "I sang in a chorus when I was your age.

Maybe this was the answer to her prayer. After church Haley signed up. She even put her name on the list to audition for a solo.

Practice and solo auditions were Tuesday night. Haley liked the songs. She sang out like Mrs. Cunningham asked them to. So when the girls beside her started laughing, she was puzzled.

"What's funny?" she asked.

"It's you," one of them said.

"Me?"

"You sing funny. It's one low note." The girls giggled again.

After practice, Haley couldn't get to the car fast enough. She slammed the car door.

"How did auditions go?" asked Mom.

"I didn't stay for them," she said grimly. "They laughed at the way I sing. I'm not going back! Jesus doesn't have a special place for me. I'm never going to try out for anything again. Ever!"

Haley answered the phone the next day when Mrs. Cunningham called. "I heard about last night, Haley," she said. "I'm sorry! Please give us another chance."

"Thanks," said Haley, "but no."

"It's not to sing," said Mrs. Cunningham. "I hear you like to draw. Mr. Shaw needs help painting backdrops for the play. Do you think you could come on Tuesday?"

"No, I don't think so," Haley replied.

But even though she'd said no, Haley couldn't get Mrs. Cunningham's request out of her mind. She loved painting. They'd probably paint big murals. And Mr. Shaw was a good artist. She could learn new things from him.

But what if she went and the kids laughed at her there too? Several times that week she flicked through her sketchbook. Her drawings looked okay to her, but were they really any good? She couldn't make up her mind.

"What should I do?" she asked Mom at bedtime Monday night.

"I'm not telling you what to do this time," Mom said. "But there is a story in the Bible that has helped me make some hard decisions."

Mom opened Haley's Bible to Matthew 25. She pointed to verse 14 and together they read the story Jesus told, about the Master and the three servants. Each of the servants was given a different amount of money before the Master went away. Two of the servants worked with their money and earned more. The third servant hid his money in the ground. When the Master returned, the first two servants were praised but the third was banished from the kingdom.

"Why do you think the Master was so hard on the third servant?" Mom asked.

Haley scanned the story again. "It says he was lazy ..."

"And?"

"He was afraid to do something with the money he was given."

Mom nodded. "You think about that," she said, giving Haley a goodnight kiss.

That night it took Haley a long time to get to sleep.

* * *


On Tuesday evening Haley peeked shyly through the doorway of the workroom. Four kids were painting a village street-front mural. Mr. Shaw saw her and came over.

"Hi. You must be Haley," he said. "Mrs. Cunningham told me about you."

He put Haley to work painting a candy store window beside Trudy who was working on a tree. The time flew as they painted.

"That is so cool!" Trudy said, looking at Haley's work. "Can you help me with this trunk?"

Haley dabbed on a few spots of paint. Under her brush the tree trunk began to look rough and round.

"You're good!" Trudy said.

Mr. Shaw was watching from the other side of the room. He came over shaking his head as if he couldn't believe what he saw. "Great job girls! he said. "What a team!"

Trudy turned to Haley. The girls dropped their brushes and slapped hands in a high five. Haley's smile went from ear to ear. But inside, her smile was even bigger. Thank you, Jesus, she prayed silently. Thank you for helping me find my place on your team.

Violet Nesdoly writes from her home in British Columbia, Canada. She too was one of the last ones picked for baseball. But she was better at drawing, playing piano, and writing stories. You can write to Violet by sending her a message through the Letters page here in the magazine.
Violet Nesdoly writes from her home in British Columbia, Canada. She too was one of the last ones picked for baseball. But she was better at drawing, playing piano, and writing stories. You can write to Violet by sending her a message through the Letters page here in the magazine.


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