Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: FAMILY VACATION (07/30/15)
- TITLE: Second Chances
By Julie Blackman
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Rachael was excited because this year’s family reunion fell on Aunt Sally’s birthday weekend. This year, the family gathering was being held at Aunt Ruth’s home. As soon as they arrived, Rachael and her parents were greeted with a warm hug from Aunt Ruth. An aroma of sweet honey barbecue filled the house.
“Aunt Ruth, the food smells delicious and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into those ribs,” Rachael said.
“Rachael, don’t touch those ribs until it’s time to eat. There’s plenty of appetizers in the kitchen to tide you over. Come inside, everyone’s here,” Aunt Ruth said.
Aunt Ruth’s home was perfect for entertaining. It had a den, living room, dining room, and an office. Each room was occupied with family members. For the next forty-five minutes, Rachael chatted with Aunts, Uncles, and cousins; but there was someone missing—Aunt Sally.
She got up and walked towards the guest rooms. There she was propped up by pillows in one of the rooms.
“Aunt Sally, I’ve been looking for you,” Rachael opened her arms wide for an embrace.
“Hi darling. How are you? You look great!”
“Hmmm, and you don’t.” Rachael said. She could tell that something was wrong. Her Aunt’s eyes were red. Over the years the two of them had grown close that even a simple hello would give them away to each other.
“Thanks a lot.” Aunt Sally said.
“Sorry. You look like you’ve been crying? Are you okay?”
“Yes. I’m fine,” Aunt Sally said and shifted to make room for Rachael to sit on the bed.
“Yeah right, you can’t fool me,” Rachael said.
“I’m sure it’s the whole turning 49 thing. It finally hit me this morning. I suppose I should save all of this drama for my 50th and have a fit like Uncle Bob.”
As they chatted and reminisced about the year Uncle Bob stormed out of the house, Maggie, Rachael’s Mom shouted, “Rachael, Sally, come on it’s time to eat!” They both walked briskly towards the dining room area.
“Let’s sing happy birthday to Sally,” Maggie said.
Rachael’s Dad bellowed the base, while everyone else harmonized. These family gatherings were priceless. After the birthday song, everyone helped themselves to something to eat. Just as Rachael anticipated, the ribs were tasty. Anything her Aunt Ruth prepared would be good, after all she was a caterer and she loved to cook especially for the family.
All of a sudden Aunt Sally walked out onto the back patio. Rachael followed close behind her. She wasn’t about to let her favorite Aunt spend the evening in self-pity.
“Hey Aunt Sally, let’s catch up,” Rachael said.
“Okay. How’s college?”
“No. Not about me, let’s talk about what’s going on with you.”
“Who’s the senior person here, me or you?” Aunt Sally chuckled. “This year is just difficult that’s all. I wasted a lot of time, didn’t take advantage of all of the opportunities available to me, and now it’s too late. It just hurts. That’s why I’m so hard on you Rachael to do the right thing as best you can. Don’t make decisions based on emotions and pray about everything. That way, you won’t end up like me—with regrets and no chances left.
“Oh please, Aunt Sally. You’re such an inspiration to me. I mean, who gets certified in taxes? You did it and now you’re one of the top tax preparers. Didn’t you say you were going to get your CPR trainer certification soon?”
“Yes, but I’m just trying to make up for lost time. So I look for ways to improve myself so that I don’t have to feel worthless,” Aunt Sally replied.
This was unusual. If there was anyone who always saw the glass half full it was Aunt Sally. Rachael knew she had to quell this nonsense immediately.
“Aunt Sally. What happened to Romans eight verse twenty-eight? We’ve recited it together for years. You know that God can turn all of your mistakes, mishaps, and poor decisions around for your good—you taught me that.”
Rachael stared into her Aunt Sally’s tear-filled eyes.
“Listen to me, Aunt Sally. You were created in God’s image—you could NEVER be worthless. It doesn’t matter where you are in life, how old you are, or what you’ve done. You said that God gives second chances—and I believe that, thanks to you. Now it’s time for you to believe it as well.
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