Quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today’s quote is a poem from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I shot an arrow into the air,

It fell to earth I new not where;

For, so swiftly it flew, the sight

Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For who has sight so keen and strong,

That it can follow the flight of song?

Long long afterward, in an oak

I found the arrow, still unbroken;

And the song, from beginning to end,

I found again in the heart of a friend.

I believe what Longfellow is trying to say in this poem is that our actions eventually come back to us.  Possibly the actions of the arrow were compliments and words of encouragement that long after they were given were found unbroken, cherished by the receiver the oak.

The song could have been actions or deeds that whisked off because they had become habit to the individual and that is why they are found in the heart of a friend.  When we tend to naturally do the right thing we attract people to us.

It is my hope that what Longfellow describes is what I become one day.  Shooting out words of encouragement to all that pass by and that my actions speak even louder than my words of encouragement.  That’s the kind of person I want to be.  How about you?

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 10

Today I’m grateful for not just friendship and getting reacquainted with old friends which I got a chance by going to a party last night with a wonderful lady that used to and still does own the board and care I once lived in, but I also got better acquainted with some people that I’ve been meeting with on Friday’s Weight Watcher meetings out side the meeting and made some friends with those at the party I’d not met before.  All in all it was a fun time!

I’m one that loves to be with people but haven’t been doing a lot of that recently do to a bout of depression which causes me to isolate.

But last night was like my old self again and it was party on like old times.  It was good to see that although it had been a while and today I’ve been enjoying a quiet day at home that the gregarious girl is still  there.

There were a few there that were extra special to me and spending some time outside of our normal environment was wonderful!  To those special ones and they know who they are, life wouldn’t be the same without you!

I believe I was fortunate enough to get to know one person there that I might be able to ad to my special friends.  Time will tell but I am hopeful.  We can never have enough good friends.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 7

Today I found myself blessed with the reuniting of a dear friend and her family.  She is blessed with a wonderful husband and the sweetest 16 year old daughter I’ve met in a long time.

I’m so grateful to God for bringing us back together again after two decades of being apart.  God is so good!  I’m also grateful for Facebook for being able to find her in it.

Since we’ve found each other we both have been through a lot and it was so good getting to catch up in person today!

Never take friends for granted they are also so very important.  May I encourage you to keep in contact with your friends from your youth.  This friend was from back in college and that makes her so special because she knows my history and my family and that is just something that can’t be replaced by anything else.  So if there is someone you have been wondering about may I suggest that if your involved with someone but the person your thinking about is a same sex friend look them up and let your loved one know if you find them.  Share how they are a part of your life with your loved one and include them in it.

I’m fortunate enough that my loved one was a part of my girlfriend and my’s past in college.  We were all a part of a group called Zeta Chi.  My it was so good hearing those words again today.  It’s been years since I’ve heard those words and I miss all those special people that were a part of that college group.

My prayer is that God will reunite me with some of the other women of that group in the future.  We shared things in the past that are special and I care about those girlfriends very much and have a fond place in my heart for them.

Lord bless all my friends those I’m in touch with and those I may be reunited with  and those that I may have to wait until I’m with You in heaven.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude Days 1 – 3

Hi there! I know it’s been quite a while since I last posted a new post, but here is my own challenge for the month of Thanksgiving. To post at least one post each day and that post be a post of gratitude.

As you may notice I’m 3 days into the month so I’m going to give you three different things that I’m grateful for.

Starting with what I was grateful for on the 1st was that our community made a good showing for the meet and greet for our new property manager and the caretakers of the property. In the past for forming community meetings this has not been the case and it was so nice getting to know new neighbors better or at all. It was also great how the management was interested in getting to know us and our concerns for the property. I really am blessed to be living where I live.

The thing that I’m grateful for for the 2nd day of the month is that as much as I needed to get done I was still open to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit when urged to visit with an old friend. I was able to be there with information the friend needed at just the right time. Obviously, God’s doing and I’m just grateful that what was a nice visit was also an opportunity to be a blessing to another. God is so good that way, as long as we stay open to His leading.

The thing that I’m grateful for today the 3rd day of the month is: That is is another beautiful fall day in Southern California and for my very dear and wonderfully hard working boyfriend. Who loves me more than I deserve but I love him all the more for it.  I’m so blessed by God that He brought Ron into my life and I pray that I never take that blessing for granted.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart.

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 6

Lynn gave Lora a call before school was out and asked her if they could meet for coffee somewhere this evening. Lora suggested a local place called, The Coffee Hut, “I’ll meet you there at 5:30 pm.” Lynn responded, “I’ll see you there.” Lynn had made emergency prayers in the past; asking God to stop the rape, hoping she wouldn’t get pregnant, hoping no one would find out about the abortion, but she now realized she was falling in love with Kenneth and she was begging God that Lora would give her blessing or at least understand. When the girls met they hugged and exchanged the usual greetings. They asked how one another’s day had gone and what was new since they had last seen each other. Lora had big news of a promotion in her advertising company. Lynn mentioned that they had a new counselor at the school. Lynn added, “The new counselor is the reason why I wanted to get together with you.” Lora questioned, “What have I to do with the new counselor?” She then took a closer look at Lynn, “Are you or have you fallen for him?” Lynn answered, “We met his first day and he invited me to lunch, we went to the park so we could talk. We have been having lunch together every single day now for two weeks. In answer to your question yes I have fallen for him. I fell for him even before we met at school.” “How can that be?” interrupted Lora. “If you’ll let me finish I’ll tell you.” responded Lynn. “The first time I saw him was at a bar, one look and I fell for him hard. You know me Lora I’m never one to make the first move so I waited begging God that he would notice me. He didn’t, he noticed another girl.” “Well, what does that all matter, you have him now.” interrupted Lora again. “I hope you feel that way when you here the rest of the story.” stated Lynn. “Lora, the guy I’m talking about is Kenneth Randolph. I know that I didn’t ask permission to date him. But it didn’t seem like dating at first. I truly couldn’t put my mind around the idea that he was interested in me. I guess that is why I didn’t come to you immediately.” “How dare you go behind my back! I thought you were a better friend than that! I’ve never dated someone you’ve dated. I surely wouldn’t even consider doing so without consulting you first! All these years of friendship and you’re just throwing them away for a guy!” screamed Lora. By now Lora had the attention of everyone in the coffee shop. By the end of her tirade she was storming out the door. Lynn picked up her things and sheepishly exited the coffee shop. Once in the safety of her car she let the tears flow. When she looked up again it was dark. She called Ken to see if she might meet him and talk about what happen. He invited her over for dinner.

Lora was still beside herself the next day with anger. She fumed and fumed debating about how she could get back at Lynn for this betrayal. It was obvious that Lynn was madly in love and unwilling to give Kenneth up but that is exactly what she wanted Lynn to do. She was hurt to the core by this betrayal and she wanted to make Lynn hurt. Then it came to her, she had the perfect weapon to wound Lynn to her very marrow. She would broadcast Lynn’s rape and abortion to anyone that would listen. First thing to do was to write her family and let them in on the news. Then she’d let Flossy know an old high school acquaintance that was known for gossiping. Flossy would be certain to get the news around to all of the old friends. Maybe I should even tell Flossy that she told me she was raped and I don’t know for sure, Lora thought. Yes that’s it she would simply let everyone know that Lynn told her that she was raped by Curtis and that she was with Lynn when she had the abortion.

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 4

They both went to the local University and there met Diane. They all took the same general education, biology class. They would meet in study rooms in the Library. Diane had a natural talent for biology where Lora grasped it fairly well, but Lynn struggled with it. Diane was intelligent, wise, discerning, compassionate, thoughtful, funny, a good cook, pleasant to look at and an excellent listener, and she was rather popular. In dorm life those that were intelligent, listened and could cook lent themselves to popularity. Diane also had a deep abiding love for God. It was her discernment and wisdom that kept her from being black balled for her beliefs. She knew when to speak and what to say and when to listen and pray. This became an endearing quality in her. Diane had a very special affinity for Lora and Lynn. All three lived in the dorm and quickly became inseparable. Diane could tell that something was deeply disturbing Lynn but despite all her prayers for an opening she never found the right time to ask Lynn what weighed her down. The Sisters Three, as they grew to call themselves, graduated college. Lora had interned with a prominent advertising firm and had a job waiting for her upon graduation. Lynn had majored in education and was hired as an English teacher at a Jefferson High School. Diane had majored in nursing with an interest in psychology. Sisters Three would have weekly lunches varying on Diane’s schedule at the hospital.

Lora and Lynn frequented bars in an attempt to meet men. One night Lora met a guy named Rob. There was an instant connection. Lynn was not nearby when they met. She was busy talking to another man, Rob walked by and Lynn gravitated to him immediately. She couldn’t help the feelings she was having even as she saw Lora interacting with him. She decided staying clear would be the safest thing to do. The feelings were so intense she couldn’t risk getting to know him.

The next day was their weekly lunch. Lynn ventured to ask Lora how her evening went. “At first I thought it was going places but my date Rob turned out to be a disappointment. “Just a one night stand?” Lynn inquired, “What made him such a disappointment? And if he was a disappointment why did you sleep with him?” Lora responded, “As you know I am not ready for any kind of commitment. This guy is looking hard for Mrs. Right and I don’t want to be Mrs. Anybody. I’m all for living for the moment and having fun. He doesn’t want to do that so he’s not the guy for me.” Diane ventured, “Did you find this out before or after you slept with him?” Lynn was so grateful for Diane’s question, she wanted to ask that herself but thought that might give too much away. Lora responded indignantly, “After of course! What do you think I am? What are you getting at Diane?” Diane asked God for wisdom, discernment and love, took a deep breath and responded, “I believe when you are intimate you give part of yourself away and one day you may look back and find you’ve lost too much of yourself.” Lora turned away from the others, looking out the window, a solitary tear rolled down her check. Pondering Diane’s comment she connected the feelings of emptiness with long forgotten pieces of herself.

Knowing that Lora had no feelings for Rob Lynn mustered up her courage to ask Lora if she could pursue Rob. “Lora I know this may come as a surprise to you but when I saw Rob last night I had very strong feelings for him. I didn’t come and introduce myself because I knew the feelings were beyond my control and if I got to know him there would be no denying them. You were engaged with him and I wasn’t going to cross girlfriend boundaries. Now that I know that you have no interest in him, I’m asking for your permission to pursue him. I’m hoping that this will turn into something great but I don’t want to step on your toes.” Lora answered, “Lynn, I have no interest in the man, if you want to pursue him that is fine with me. I have his phone number would you like me to set the two of you up.” “Would you? That would be great! You can give him my phone number.” said Lynn. Their relationship never clicked it was one sided on Lynn’s part.

As close as “The Sisters Three” were their dating practices were very different. Lora was a casual dater, occasionally she would get serious about someone, but usually it was one or two dates and on to the next guy. Lynn was an old fashion girl. Yes she went to the bars with Lora but when she found someone that she was interested she hoped and prayed that he would notice her and waited for him to make the first move. In contrast Diane wanted a man who loved God so she did her looking at church, took her time and observed the man’s character to see if it was something that she desired.

Sisters Three were at a bar one night, this really wasn’t Diane’s thing but she enjoyed the company and was the designated driver incase Lynn decided to drink. At their table they had a great view of the majority of the patrons of the bar. Lynn immediately noticed a man with an enchanting smile, luscious deep brown hair meticulously coiffed. His eyes danced as he laughed at the joke he had told the woman he was standing beside. He was dressed in Florshiems (reminiscent of her father’s favorite shoe), dark jeans, a lavender dress shirt with a v-neck sweater that had yellow trim accents on the v-neck and cuffs. As Lynn drank in the sight she couldn’t help but think that this was not only a man that knew how to dress but was very assured of himself, two qualities she found very attractive. She checked herself in her mirror, was she presentable enough to catch his eye? Oh, how she hoped that he might notice her. Much to her dismay later in the night Lora set her sights on him. She flirted enough to get him to come to their table. Lynn wished so that he would notice her and he did but only after being entangled by Lora, she could be possessive when she wanted.

He introduced himself as Kenneth Randolph. Lora had commented, “Please join us. That’s a rather peculiar last name is there an interesting story behind it?” putting her hand on his forearm. “Well,” started Kenneth, “some might say it’s interesting. My great great grandfather fought in World War I. He was found in Germany by the Brits, unconscious with no dog tags; no helmet, only an American uniform on. They took him to one of their hospitals and all he did was mumble Kenneth Randolph. They figured this was his name and wrote to the American Authorities to see if they could find his family – none was ever found neither was any recruit by the name of Kenneth Randolph. He spoke perfect English in his mumblings and never any other language so no one even considered that he might be a spy. When he finally awoke they greeted him as Kenneth but he had no recollection of that name or for that matter any name. They worked with him for nearly a year trying to help him to regain his memory, but, he finally gave up and took the name Kenneth Randolph. My dad wanted to honor all he did for our country and all he lost in the process so after all these years I’m the first to bear his name” “How thoughtful and loving of your father.” said Lynn. “It looks like you work out. Where do you go?” quipped Lora. “I go to the YMCA near my place” responded Kenneth. “Well, it has given you a great physique.” flirted Lora.

Lora continued flirting with Kenneth and after 30 minutes of this Lynn could see that it was useless to think she could get his attention. She did question herself, “Did he really look at me and smile? Was that a wink he gave in my direction? Surely I must have been mistaken. He’s flirting with Lora, if he were interested in me surely he would approach me rather than continuing with her.” Lynn couldn’t take any more of this, it was too painful, so she turned to Diane and asked, “Would you mind taking me home? I’m ready to call it a night.” Diane responded, “Sure Lynn no problem. Bye Kenneth nice to meet you. See you soon Lora.” “It was nice to meet the two of you.” Kenneth said. “Bye.” Lora gushed. Kenneth watched as the two left, he couldn’t help but feel this night had somehow gone terribly wrong.

Realizing that Lora may have no way home Kenneth asked, “Did the three of you come together?” “Yes” smiled Lora as if he had fallen into a trap. “I guess you’ll just have to take me home.” Kenneth responded casually and cautiously, “Taking you home would indeed be the gentlemanly thing to do. Shall we go?” Lora was beside herself with her good luck. This scheme hadn’t always worked but when it did it was always to her satisfaction.

On the ride home the conversation going on in the two minds couldn’t be more different. Lora was thinking, “He’ll open my door. We’ll walk up to my condo and I’ll invite him in for a night cap and then the fun will begin.” Kenneth was thinking, “I hope she isn’t expecting anything. Although some flirting is fun this girl is just to forward for me. I can’t wait for this evening to end. I’ll take her home; make sure she gets in safe and leave.”

Once at her condo he opened the door to his car for her and walked her up to the front of the high rise complex. He stopped at the door and thanked her for the evening. Lora was stunned, “Don’t you want to come up?” Not wanting to be rude Kenneth rationalized, “It’s getting late. I just want to go home.” Lora wanted more from Kenneth than just a night of innocent flirting, “Well, don’t forget to take my number so we can get together again.” Lora handed Kenneth her business card, turned it over and wrote her cell and home numbers on the back. Kenneth thought boy this girl is pushy she isn’t even letting me make the move, she is not the girl for me, so he just said, “Thanks,” turned towards his car quipped, “I had a nice time, bye.” and got into his car and drove off.

As Kenneth was driving off reflecting on the evening he realized that although he had enjoyed the compliments Lora was giving him and the flirting they did all evening he couldn’t help but think of the sweet Lynn who had gone home with quiet Diane. How was he going to get in contact with her without going through Lora?

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 2

They pulled into a sleazy motel on the far side of town. The parking lot was almost deserted. Curtis told Lynn to keep her trap shut or there would be hell to pay. He threatened her that while he got the key if she tried anything he would make her life a living hell. “You know that there is no way you can out run me,” he terrorized, “so don’t even try.” Once at the room, she was in such a state that she didn’t even think to lock her door before he came around opened the door and jerked her out of the truck. Again dragging her this time to the motel room, she cried, “No, no, no, please no!” Once in the room Lynn continued to try and reason with him, “You don’t really want to do this Curtis. Please think about it.” Curtis replied, “You knew that tonight was the night. You’re nothing but a tease. I held up my part of the evening. I gave you all the romance you wanted; an expensive dinner, dancing and now I get what I want.”, as he threw her on the bed and covered her mouth to muffle her screams. Lora cried through the whole ordeal. When it was over Curtis said, “Get yourself together and I’ll take you home!” The hatred and coldness in his voice scared Lynn. She sat in utter silence all the way home. Nothing was said by either of them once the truck stopped in front of her house; she just jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the house and upstairs to her room.

Thank God mom and dad weren’t home yet, they were still celebrating. Lynn was not ready to face them. She got her night clothes and went to the bathroom for a long hot shower. She scrubbed long and hard to get the scent of Curtis off of her and wept the entire time. An hour and a half later she was in bed still weeping more softly now than when she was in the shower. She wasn’t sure how long she lay in bed trying to muffle her sobs with her pillow. Eventually she fell into a fitful sleep.

The next morning Lynn awoke in pain from the forcefulness of Curtis and exhausted. Her mom told her that Lora was on the phone, Lynn responded, “Tell her I’m not interested in talking with her.”; realizing this might make her mom curious. She added, “Tell her I’ll call her back later, I’m just too tired still.” She was conflicted, Lora was her best friend and she desperately needed someone to talk to but Lora was also the one that had bailed on her last night. She couldn’t help but feeling angry at Lora. “How could she leave me in his company? After all, she’s seen what he’s like drunk. What would make her think last night would be any different and I told her about the plans for the evening? How could she not know what happened was going to happen? I hate Curtis and I never want to see him again and I think I hate Lora and I don’t really want to see her!” Lynn spent the majority of the day in her room in her bed. She had come down to have a light breakfast and lunch for she truly wasn’t hungry and was only keeping up appearances. Mom had made some comment about her still being in her pajamas at breakfast, so Lynn dressed not wanting to arouse suspicions.

Later in the afternoon while Lynn was still lying on her bed in bounced Lora. Lynn’s mom had let her in and not knowing anything was wrong and told her that Lynn was in her room. Lora was all excited, completely oblivious to Lynn, “Tom asked me to go steady last night isn’t that just great? I couldn’t believe it when I heard it! I even said, ‘What?’ Can you believe it? How embarrassing! But he said it again and it was true after going out only two weeks he wants to go steady! Jeez that man moves fast! And he made it the best night ever! When he came to my door he had a single red rose – isn’t that romantic? Then he took me to the “Quiet Cannon” it had a beautiful ocean and starry night view. After dinner we had a delicious dessert a chocolate mousse that had so many layers of flavors in it, it was amazing! I’m sure I could taste hints orange and maybe some raspberry as well, dark chocolate blended with real whip cream and whatever else they put in it. It was stupendous! Then of course we met you and Curtis at the Club and danced the night away. We didn’t see you leave but when the club closed we went to a scenic point and talked and talked. That’s when he asked me to go steady with him. And of course I said yes. “. Lynn had been ignoring Lora and her borage of words, for that’s all they were to her. Finally Lora realized that Lynn was not acting herself. “Hey, what’s with you?” asked Lora. Something broke in Lynn and she was no longer sad and stunned, now she felt rage. “I asked you to take me home and you wouldn’t!!! And, and, and, oh, why couldn’t you have listened to me and done what I had asked?!?! You were so in to Tom that you totally ignored me!!” She screamed. Luckily for Lynn the rest of the house was empty: her mom had gone shopping, her younger brother Georgie had gone to his friend’s house, her older brother was with his girlfriend and dad had gone to his Brother Bob’s house to watch the games, so only Lora was privy to her screaming. “What has you so upset? What on earth did I do? As I recall we were all having fun.” said Lora dumb founded. “Don’t you remember me asking you and Tom to take me home? That I was afraid of Curtis and his drinking? You basically told me I was being crazy!” yelled Lynn. “I vaguely remember something to that effect but I was having so much fun I wasn’t ready to leave. Plus Curtis didn’t seem all that bad to me. I don’t know what you’re in such a tizzy about!” replied Lora. Lynn could barely contain herself, “I told you that Curtis had plans for last night to be THE night! It wasn’t romantic like I imagined it – far from it! It was horrid! I begged him not to but he wouldn’t listen to me! No one listened to me last night! It’s like I was mute and invisible! Lora interrupted, “Lynn are you telling me that Curtis forced himself on you?” Lynn shook her head. Lora continued, “Let me make sure I understand you. You are saying that Curtis raped you right?” Lynn went hysterical at the sound of the word, the one she had been trying to force out of her mind, to no avail. Lora ran to her friend to comfort her. She had no idea how to comfort her, with this retched revelation. She had never known anyone who had gone through such a horrid thing, so she just held her and stroked her hair as she wept and sobbed. Lora did some weeping herself. “I’m so sorry Lynn that I didn’t pay more attention to your needs last night. I’m so sorry that I had a part of what you were put through. It makes me sick just thinking about all you’ve been through.” commented Lora. About 30 minutes into this Lora had a practical thought about protection but decided this was not the time to mention it. Another 30 minutes later Lynn was again spent from crying and looked a mess. Lora decided it was time to leave her room. The house was still empty so she suggested they go down stairs to get something to eat.

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 1

If you had asked Lora she would have told you that there was nothing wrong with her. In her eyes she was perfectly alright and in no need of change. But if you asked those close to her they might have said, “She can be cold and prickly.” Or “Sometimes she seems rather hard.” Only one person really might have understood her. One who had been so close at one time that instead of calling each other friends they referred to one another as sisters. But Lynn had been out of the picture for over four years now.

Lora was a conscientious employee and worked very hard for nine years but in the past four years she had become more and more cantankerous, and critical, often blowing up over minor mistakes by fellow employees. In fact lately the other employees had started to avoid her. She’s noticed that she was spending more lunches alone. Puzzled by this, she couldn’t put her finger on the reason why. She had always seen herself as gregarious and outgoing and a lot of fun, all of which were true as long as you didn’t cross her. It was sometimes very tricky to pinpoint what she’s had done. She was very charismatic and cut you with humor while smiling all the time. While you’re left wondering what just happened?

Lora didn’t always abuse her charisma. In fact it is was what attracted Lynn to her in the first place, as well as her humor, playfulness, compassion, loyalty and empathy. Lynn’s heart broke when the friendship fell apart. She has been hoping that they could find a way to reconcile. Her nightly prayer was; “Lord, I know what I did was wrong and I have asked Your forgiveness, which I thank You for giving me. Father, I have tried to speak to Lora to apologize and ask her forgiveness but she won’t take my calls; she returns my mail and refuses to open the door when I go to her house. Lord, please soften her heart that she would be willing to accept my apology and that our friendship would be restored. I so miss the old Lora.”

The two women had been friends since that first day of first grade. They met on the play ground when bullies were taunting Lynn a spunky and feisty Lora came to her rescue. This sealed their friendship. Not that Lynn needed defending but even at that tender age Lora had a tender heart coupled with a take charge streak.

Time went on, and when the girls reached high school they blossomed into beautiful, popular, young women. They were both on the girls varsity volleyball team. Lora was of course the team captain. They were also very involved in the drama department. This is where Lynn shone. She got the lead in nearly every production, and Lora was always there to cheer her on.

In her junior year, Lynn fell madly in love with Curtis Madding the varsity quarterback. They started dating in November and things started getting serious by Christmas. She started feeling pressured to go all the way. Curtis had big plans for New Year’s Eve. When he let Lynn in on the scheme she felt half exhilarated but mostly terrified. She had visions of how the night would go; dinner at a fancy restaurant, going dancing afterwards, and then a romantic intimate encounter in the hotel room. Things were going just as Lynn had imagined. They had a lovely dinner at “Pierre’s” the most expensive restaurant in town. Curtis had arranged for fake ID’s for them and Lora and her date Tom. So after dinner the four of them met at the “Club Venice”. Lynn was apprehensive about this because she had seen Curtis overdue on alcohol before and really didn’t want to be around him when he was drunk. As she suspected the first thing Curtis did at the club was to order a beer and chasers. She went to Lora and said, “I’m getting scared, Curtis keeps drinking and he is getting more and more aggressive, and demanding. I tried to get him to stop but he pinned me against the wall. Can you and Tom please give me a ride home?” Lora was distracted by the party atmosphere had no desire to leave so she replied, “Oh, Lynn don’t be such a baby. It’ll be okay. He’ll probably just pass out and sleep it off.” Lynn asked, “Do you have your cell phone so I could call a ride home or some change for the phone?” Lora responded, “No I didn’t bring a purse with me I knew Tom would be taking care of everything. Buck up everything will be okay, your such a worry wort.” Lynn walked away feeling deflated and abandoned. She then realized that she had no money to call her mom and dad and left her cell phone charging; she realized Curtis was her only way home, perhaps she could reason with him. Deciding to numb her fears she ordered a rum and coke. She was still nursing it when midnight hit and Curtis pulled her toward him and gave her a sloppy French kiss then said, “Come on baby it’s time to go.” He grabbed Lynn’s arm hard and dragging her out of there, much to her dismay. Before she knew it she was in his truck on the way to the room. All the way she kept telling Curtis, “Please, no! I don’t want to anymore! I’ve changed my mind! Curtis, please take me home! Oh, please, please, no!” Curtis replied only once, “Look you stop being such a tease! I’ll take you home when the evening is over and it’s not over yet you bitch!”

The Gift of Gratitude – A Series of Short Story Part 2

That evening as he returned to the restaurant to welcome the dinner crowd a black darkness clothed him. This was not a night to be employed at his restaurant. Although he was his charming self to the clients possibly even more charming than usual. He was even more cruel than usual to his staff. It would appear that there was nothing that they could do to please him and that they were all a bunch of bumbling buffoons. Even the chief who usually was spared his tirades was included in them this night; no, this was not the night to have Jack as a boss.

As the days progressed it appeared much to the doctors’ amazement that his wife and daughter would both pull through this horrific tragedy. They still didn’t show much hope for reconstructive surgery. Jack was pleased that their lives had been spared but he couldn’t help question what kind of lives had been left to them? Left to them all?

As the days grew into weeks his disposition at work grew even worse. The employees could barely handle coming in to work, including the chief who was beginning to think of options he may have else where. Should this happen Jack’s business world would crumble before him. His livelihood rested on the chief and keeping him happy and Jack no longer was even pretending to make an attempt at this. He had also lost the ability he had always had to fool the patrons with his charm and fanais.

Jack’s clientèle was dwindling under his harsh nature. One and a half months after the fire the chief gave notice he was moving to a competitor. Jack scrambled at attempting to save his business but word had already gotten out what it was like to work for him. There was not a single chief that wanted to leave their restaurant. He tried the chief schools but word about him had already reached the schools and no amount of finagling could lure a chief to his business. The rest of the employees were leaving by the droves and by the chief’s last night it was Jack and the chief alone there. Usually this would have been an impossible night to try to get everything accomplished but the business was already dead they had but three patrons the whole night, a couple from out of town that knew nothing of the restaurants recent reputation, and an odd man with a twinkle in his eye. The couple where oblivious to their surroundings, fully engaged in one another and said nothing to Jack other than to order and compliment him on the wonderful meal before they left. The odd man sitting alone asked Jack, “Are you grateful for all you have?” This was the straw that broke the camels back. “Am I grateful, grateful for what? Should I be grateful that this is the last night of my business, my livelihood? Or should I be grateful that my house burnt to the ground with all my possessions and the only things that escaped the fire my wife and daughter are now horribly disfigured from it and in constant pain and there is nothing I can do for them? What may I ask you is there to be grateful for?” At this more than rage filled Jack’s heart which had so consumed him these many weeks, but tears began to fill his eyes. The carefully constructed wall had started to crumble and feelings, something very new to Jack began to penetrate through. The gentleman gently said, “Are you going to visit your family after you close the restaurant?” Jack was taken aback from his words. He realized that this was the first conversation he had had about them outside of the phone call with the policeman and the doctors. “I hadn’t really thought about what I was going to do after closing.” He admitted honestly. “Well, if you don’t mind I’d like to stay with you as you close and figure it all out” said the gentleman. A feeling of resignation swept over him, he replied, “Sure, do whatever you like.”

As Jack continued on with the chores of closing up for the last time, the man prayed, “Lord, continue to guide me in how to minister to him. He is hurting even more than I believe he knows. Guide my words and give me tact. Use me as your instrument of love to this bleeding soul. Grant me Your wisdom and discernment. And give me stamina I believe this is going to be a long night. Amen.”

Jack approached the man and said, “Well I’m done here. By the way if we are going to spend this evening together I’d like to know your name.” The man replied, “My name is Gabriel, but my friends call me Gab. You can call me Gab.” Jack was amazed, “I don’t have any friends” he admitted, “and you’re going to let me call you Gab?” “Yep” said Gab, “Now where do you want to go?” Jack wasn’t sure they had closed the restaurant early it was just 8pm but that meant it was after visiting hours at the hospital and most likely by now his wife and daughter would be asleep. “I really haven’t anywhere to go” he honestly assessed. Gab asked, “Do you have any left-over food from tonight’s specials?” “Yes I do I was just going to through it away. The new owners sure won’t need it.” Replied Jack. Gab thought that he’d take it a step further, “Was all the food in the restaurant included in the sale?” Jack explained that the food was not a part of the deal and he had wondered what he was going to do with it. Gab had an idea, “Do you have a van or truck that we can transport the food in” Jack assured him he did. “Great” said Gab, “I have the perfect plan for tonight. Let’s load up all the food and take it to the local mission for the homeless. We can reheat this evenings meals and leave the rest for them to use as they need.” This seemed like as good as any idea to Jack, surely better than throwing all that food away. They packed everything up and went on down to the shelter, a place Jack had never been to.

He saw something on each face as they served up the reheated specials that reminded him of what another man had told him in passing it seemed a lifetime ago. Gab saw the change taking place in Jack’s eyes and slowly beginning to creep to his heart. It was a long, icy journey with many a road block but Gab felt sure that this new friend was capable of completing the journey begun so many weeks before. Gab inquired, “You’re thinking something or remembering something aren’t you Jack?” “Yes, these people who are receiving this food all have an expression on their face that reminds me of what a stranger said to me once a long time ago, ‘Gratitude is the blessing of a humble heart.’” “You don’t say,” said Gab, “what does that mean to you?” Jack pondered he hadn’t taken his musings that far yet. “Well,” answered Jack, “these people have nothing no home, no job, no family and yet they seem so grateful for this food. They are I suppose of the humblest of means I’ve ever met yet they have found something to be grateful for. It’s hard to understand why they aren’t angry, mad and bitter.” “Like you?” Gab asked. “Yes, to my shame like me.” Jack replied. “How can they have even less than I have and have gratitude?” “That’s a good question.” Gab responded, “Why don’t you ask one of them.” “Do you think they will be offended by my question?” Jack asked. Gab answered back, “Seek out the one that has most of what you seek.”