Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hmph! (03/04/10)
TITLE: In All Things, Love
By Kathleen Tollifson
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Jillian rushed in one Monday morning, and shoved her brown bag into the fridge with the others. “Have you heard about the Pro Life Rally planned for this summer?” she asked. “It’s going to be bigger than last year’s. Our worship team is part of it, and my friends from the Crisis Pregnancy Center are putting up their tent.” She flopped into her chair. “They have the same guy speaking as last year. I loved him! Everything he said set me on fire, he was so intense. I mean, is there anything more important than the Right to Life of the unborn child?” Her eyes flashed around the room looking for confirmation.
“I heard about it at church this weekend too.” Margaret was usually quiet, but Jillian had perked her interest. “Pastor encouraged us to read the flyers that were passed out, and pray about how we could help. I’m going to volunteer, it’s such an important cause.”
“My friend needed help when she got pregnant,” Anna said. “Her boyfriend promised they would get married, but his parents sent him to a school in Boston or somewhere, and she was stuck. That Center helped her find a family to adopt her baby. She had no idea what to do, and they really helped her.”She was tearful as she recalled her friend’s dilemma.
“Hmph!” Phyllis picked up her coffee cup and hurried from the room, closing the door firmly behind her.
There was an uneasy silence. “I wonder what ruffled her feathers.” Jillian said.
Doris, who had worked at Holman’s as long as Phyllis, said, “I’m don't think that Phyllis shares your pro-life beliefs. I’m pretty sure the bumper sticker on that new hybrid car of hers says Pro Choice.”
Jillian looked around at her co-workers, who were staring fiercely at the papers on their desks. The room was very quiet.
That may have been the longest Monday in history. No one said a word unless it was absolutely necessary. By 5:02 the office was empty.
~ ~ ~ ~
“It never occurred to me that some Christians are pro-choice.” Jillian had been waiting all day to talk to her husband. “I was so embarrassed. Then I started thinking, why am I embarrassed? Isn’t pro-life right? All our friends are pro-life. What do you think honey?” Jillian trusted her husband on stuff like this. He was a police officer, and knew how to handle difficult situations.
“Jillian, we go to a church that is outspoken about their pro-life beliefs,” he said. “But not all denominations see things the way we do. We can’t prove who’s right or wrong. We can only say what we believe.” He could see she wasn’t happy with his response.”I know you feel strongly about this. But you have to understand that others won’t always agree with you. This is one of those times.” He looked at her seriously. “I think you should apologize to your coworkers tomorrow.”
“What?” That option had not occurred to her. “Apologize for what? For valuing life?” Jillian was outraged.
“No, don’t apologize for your beliefs. You need to apologize for being insensitive to their beliefs.” He shushed her objections as he wrapped her in his arms. “This makes me appreciate Pastor Crawford back home. He used to quote that saying: In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love. Pray about it Jillian. I know you’ll do the right thing.”
~ ~ ~ ~
One hour into a tense Tuesday Jillian gave in. “Okay Lord, you have to help me.” She stood and faced her coworkers. “I’m sorry for being insensitive to all of you yesterday.” That wasn’t so bad, she thought. “I was excited about the rally, and I didn’t think it through. I realize now that it was rude for me to push my trip on everyone, and I hope you can forgive me.”
Tears spilled down her face as she looked hopefully at her friends. Their smiles said that they cared enough to let it go. Jillian sat down and returned to her work, a much wiser woman.
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