Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Olivia's Goodbye

Olivia reached up and took Sam's face into her small, delicate hands. Her green eyes firmly fixed on his, she moved her face slowly towards his and gently kissed his mouth. She wasn't sure if that was something she should do. She wasn't sure how he would respond. But, she knew that if she did not take this chance, her one and only chance, she would regret it for the rest of her life.
As he responded to their first kiss, he pulled her closer and held her tight. Holding on to that one last moment together, they heard the train approaching the station. The noise of the engine reminding them that their moment in time was over.
He let go of her and said, "Don't go. Not now. Not since we've found each other again."
But, she explained, that she couldn't stay. She had responsibilities, commitments, small children and a husband. She had to return to her life.
Someone called out "All aboard" and they held each other's hands. She stepped back towards the train, her arms stretching further from him, their fingers holding on until, one by one, each finger let go of a hand. With their eyes never leaving each other's gaze, she boarded the train. She blew him a kiss.
As she sat in a seat near the window, she looked out and saw him standing there. He looked so sad and all alone. She wanted to go to him, to be with him forever, for he was her one true lost love from many years ago.
She felt the train jerk and like a flash of lightening, it was gone and she no longer saw Sam. A sorrowful tear slowly fell down her cheek. She opened her small bag to look for her handkerchief and there she saw the picture of her baby that she carried with her everywhere. She smiled slightly. And she remembered, once again, of responsibilities, commitments, children and a husband who were waiting for her return.
She would never see Sam again, but she would always love him. Always.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Interview Slip

It had probably been the most horrible year of my life, at that point in time. My marriage of four years was ending to a man I had grown up with in church. He had become incredibly abusive and ended up leaving me for another woman. (Bless her heart.) In doing so, he had taken all monies, turned off all utilities and essentially left me penniless with my two daughters. He cut us off from every available resource we had shared together. I had been a stay at home mom, so there was no income.
Daily my girls and I would pray for God's provisions and weekly I would seek any kind of employment that would be available to me. I was willing to take anything to be able to put food on the table for my girls in order to make sure they had proper provisions.
For six months, every week, I diligently searched for work submitting application after application, mailing resume' after resume' - hoping and praying that God would provide me work to support my precious little daughters. I kept getting one rejection letter after another, eventually creating a one-inch thick file of rejection letters. I knew God's hand was in this because it was too unusual for me to not find work in my field - especially while looking so very hard and using every resource I could find. There were too many positions for which I had applied where I was definitely qualified. I could see God was right there with me the whole time, but I just did not understand why the work didn't come. For some unknown reason, He was closing all the doors. He continued to supply our needs for the entire six months. He paid the utility bills, provided us with more than enough food and even provided me gas for job interviews. He was there with us the whole time and never left us alone.
It was through all of this that I learned how to allow God to be my husband. I am so grateful to this day for that lesson, for there is no better husband than God.
One day I saw an ad in the paper for a position at a boy's boarding school in a county about two hours away from where we lived. I qualified for the position but knew that if I got it, we would have to move out of town. I didn't like the idea of moving the girls even though the position sounded secure and the pay was good. But, I sent off another resume' with another prayer that if the Lord wanted me to have this position, this was one I really wanted. I asked for His blessing.
A few weeks later, a phone call came and I was called in for an interview. I was to meet with the Dean of Admissions and the two Assistant Deans for the interview. I was elated - and very nervous. Six months of job searching and this was my first interview. I prayed I would say all the right things and give all the right answers.
The day of the interview came on a cold, winter day and I chose to wear my finest navy wool suit hoping to look impressive. Through all that I had been that year, the suit fit rather loosely because I had lost considerable weight. Not only that, but my under things were loose as well. However, I didn't worry about it much. I seemed to look okay considering all the weight loss and loose fitting clothes. Soon I'd have a good job, a new place to live and our lives could get back to normal.
I wanted everything to be perfect so I had practiced interviewing techniques, I prayed over every move I made - I did absolutely everything I could do to gear myself up for this big event. I drove the two hours to the interview, praying the whole time that God would help me through this and seek His will. I finally arrived to my destination, pulled my clunker car into the parking lot along with the BMW's, Mercedes' and high dollar sports cars, parked my God provided vehicle, turned it off and prayed one more time before going in. I had never in my life been so nervous for an interview.
I took deep breaths, calmed myself down as best as I could and walked up the sidewalk, knowing God was walking beside me. I entered a foyer which led to the reception office. I was greeted by the receptionist and gave her my name. After a short wait, one of the Assistant Dean's came out to greet me and escort me through the reception area, through the secretarial pool and back to his office where we would hold the interview. He closed the door behind him and informed me that the other two Deans were unavailable for our discussion and it would be just him and myself.
"Whew!", I thought. At least I wouldn't have to face a small committee - one man was enough. I was just that nervous.
He offered me a seat. I sat down directly across from him, remembering that eye contact was crucial. The interviewing process began. As we were talking, I could feel that my skirt was quite uncomfortable near my knees. While looking straight into his eyes, answering his questions, I tried to discreetly adjust my skirt so that I could be more comfortable and concentrate better.

The interview continued. Again, distracting my attention, I felt the discomfort of my skirt around my knees. And, again, I tried, with extra caution this time, to discreetly adjust my skirt while looking straight into the face of this strange man's face - the one who held my fate in his hands.

Finally, the interview was over and we stood up and shook hands. He opened his office door and I walked out feeling that the interview had gone rather well. I felt confident, relieved and satisfied.
As I walked out of his office, through the secretarial pool, and through the reception area, I felt a strange sensation around my calves wondering if there was something wrong with my skirt. By that time I had made it to the exit door, stepped out onto the porch area, looked down and saw that my half-slip had settled in a soft pile at my ankles! I suddenly remembered that I was at an all boy's school, quickly looked around to see if anyone else had seen my underwear fall off and discovered that the grounds were graciously quiet. I stepped out of my slip, picked it up, stuffed it into my small purse and laughed out loud towards the Heavens!
I kept wondering what the Assistant Dean was viewing as I left his office, and what the secretaries and receptionist saw and thought, as I marched through the office with my head held high full of confidence not knowing that my slip was slowly sliding down my legs.

I walked back to my car and thanked God for the interview. Even though I had lost my slip in the reception of a distingquished boarding school, I could feel God's presence with me the whole time. All I could do now was go home and wait.
I waited, without expectation, and a few days later my phone rang and I was asked to come back in for a second interview! I ended up getting the job, often wondering if I was hired because they thought I need money for clothing that fit.
God provided me with all that I needed, taught me lessons of faith and love and gave me a good laugh when times were really hard and tough.

"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels." ~ Isaiah 61:10

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dessert and Beverage Included

My husband and I were out antiquing on a weekend afternoon and discoverd that we were hungry. I suggested a small restuarant we both like which has lunch specials for $6.95 that includes dessert and beverage, if your beverage is iced tea or coffee. Compared to fast food, for $6.95 you get a choice of entree', potatoes and vegetable, plus the dessert and beverage, if your beverage is iced tea or coffee. We didn't have much cash between us so we thought this little place with the lunch special would be a good idea.
We walked inside, the hostess seated us, put our menus in front of us and then my husband went to wash his hands. When he came back, I pointed out to him that the $6.95 lunch specials were located at the bottom front of the menu. Then I pointed out where it explained about the choice of potato, vegetable and dessert and beverage being included, if you chose to drink iced tea or coffee.

My husband opened the menu to other items, not on special, and stated that a hamburger cost $6.95, as well. I tried to politely point out that the hamburger did not include dessert and beverage, if your drink was iced tea or coffee. So, he closed the menu and began to look at the lunch specials.
Soon thereafter, the waiter came to take our drink order. He looked at me first, so I said I would have unsweetened iced tea. Then he looked at my husband, who said, "I'll have Coke." I was sort of surprised because prior to coming we had agreed on the specials, which is why we came to this particular establishment since we didn't have much cash on us. I shrugged it off and thought, "Oh, well.... I guess he knows what he is doing."
The waiter went to get our drinks, came back and took our orders. We both ordered the specials and had a wonderful lunch.

When we had finished, the waiter came to clear our plates and began to list our choice of desserts. I told him I would have orange cake and then we both looked at my husband who said, "I don't think I'll have any." I told my husband, in as quiet a voice as I could so as not to embarrass him, that dessert was included with the lunch special he ordered. The waiter quietly confirmed my claim. So, my husband, with a big smile on his face and jubilation in his voice announced that he would have the chocolate ice cream. The waiter left and my husband said that it was nice that we got to have dessert with our meal. I tried very hard not to roll my eyes and once again stated, trying desparately not to sound irritated, that it was included with the lunch special. He looked at me with innocent eyes and said, "Oh. I didn't know that."
It was at this point in time, I felt I would have fit in better at the table next to us which seated three generations of Japanese tourists. The communication would have been just as efficient.
Since that time, we have both acknowledged that communication is not strong in our relationship, but we love each other very much, enjoy spending a lot of time together like antiquing and going out for lunch - with or without a special.

Wake Up Call

Recently, I went for my annual mammogram. The morning after the mammogram, the doctor called and asked me to come in again. They wanted to do a sonogram, so I called for an appointment which they made for the following week.

When I went in. I sat alone in a cold, strange room, waiting on the doctor. Thoughts kept running through my mind. All the thoughts I had tried not to think of during the previous week came rushing through like a windstorm. What about my girls and my husband? How will they react if we find out I have some sort of cancer? What will my hereafter be like without them? Who will pray daily for my grandchildren and other family members? What will their lives be like without me? I have to get rid of some stuff, so nobody will have to do that. I have to much stuff collected over the years. How blessed I am for that. Things are a mess. I want chocolate cake! I want a grape snow cone. I haven't had a snow cone in years, and I want one. If the doctor comes in and tells me I have cancer, what kind of future do I have ahead of me? And for how long? These thoughts and others swam through my mind like a surfer drowning in a huge wave.

As the sonogram technician was scanning my breast, I wastrying to hold back tears, but one slowly fell down my cheek as I lay there staring at the ceiling. I told her that it was the not knowing that was making me nervous. She assured me that I would know the results before I left. I wasn't sure if that was good or bad.

She left the room to show the doctor the scan results, and while she was out of the room, I tried to stop the tears from flowing down my face. I didn't want her to come back in and know that I was scared - scared for my life, and for the lives of my family. Because, as I lay there, I realized then and there that cancer doesn't just affect the patient, it affects a family. A short time later, she came back in and told me that the doctor didn't need to see me, that everything was fine, and I was free to go home.

As I quickly and bravely walked to my car, I let the tears flow, and I thanked God that I was okay. I was free and I was blessed.

When I got home, I called my daughters and told them. One of them said she was glad for me and that was all that she said. It was then that I realiezed that she was just like I had been a couple of weeks ago. Two weeks ago, I hadn't even thought about cancer. Cancer happens to other people, not me, not my family. But what my daughter didn't realize is that she was glad for us, for our family, because if I had been diagnosed with cancer, it wouldn't have affected just me, it would have affected the whole family.

I hung up the telephone and cried again. This time, because I was happy for us - our family. Because we are a wonderful family made up of wonderful people. I'm lucky I belong to them, and that I can belong with them a bit longer. They mean the world to me!

The next time I see a commercial concerning breast cancer, the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, or a promotion to support research, I will look at it differently. But, for now, there is stuff to get rid of, a house to clean, things to do, family and friends to be with and prayers that need praying. And there is chocolate cake and grape snow cones to eat, and I, for one, plan to indulge.