Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Parent (11/16/06)
TITLE: The Night Before
By Paul Servini
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It’s said, you never sleep on the night before your wedding. Well, Jonathan could still remember the near perfect night’s sleep he'd had the eve of his wedding. But right now, sleep was evading him. Was it because he was thirty years older? Or was it simply because you feel a lot more nervous on the eve of your daughter’s wedding? Whatever the reason Jonathan had crept out of his bed not wanting to disturb his wife with his tossing and turning.
He lay on the sofa as past images came racing through his almost fevered mind, stopping barely long enough for him to acknowledge them.
He saw his wife and himself standing in the mission guesthouse where they had gone to get some rest after delivering that precious bundle of joy they were now carrying in their arms. The look they exchanged, the one filled with thanks. Yet behind that look he saw the unspoken question neither of them had dared to express verbally, the laugh they shared when both knew they had been found out; that question which showed up their total helplessness: “What on earth are we meant to do now?”
Other images followed: the cheeky, banana smeared smile at six months; the tearful face of his 4 year old - she had just fallen while learning to ride a bike; the proud young six year old off to school for the first time.
These inspiring images soon began to change into less agreeable ones, as Jonathan remembered the rocky times his marriage with Sophia hit when his daughter was barely into her teens. They were sombre, sad, sorrowful images of a spiritless young girl who betrayed so little expression but who, deep down was suffering. Jonathan's heart turned over as these pictures etched their way back onto his memory.
Then there was that day when he had come to his senses. It was tears all round that day; enough tears to turn any desert into a blooming paradise. Amidst the joy and forgiveness of that occasion, the picture that stood out was the glimmer of hope in his daughter's tearful eyes. That glimmer that Jesus had compared to a smouldering wick that would never be snuffed out. It had given him courage for all that followed.
One last picture followed. A picture which he had seen time and again in the album amidst all the other photos of the trip which had done so much to restore both their worlds. The tired smile on his daughter’s face, that slight touch on his arm, which told him, they could begin again.
And tomorrow there would be one more picture: that of his daughter standing proudly next to her chosen one. The cocktail of emotions that flowed through his veins at that thought were not hard to recognise. Gratitude for all that God had done despite his great weakness, pride that he was there to share this most special of days with her, and still that same feeling of helplessness which always forced him to his knees where he would throw himself upon God’s mercy. What did the future hold for Anthea? What did the future hold for Sophia and himself? With God there were no guarantees of a happy or a safe life, just a guarantee of his presence. That was more than enough to face the future.
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