Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)
TITLE: Nonsense and a Large Americano, Please
By Samuel Connelly
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Tom sits, looking out the window. The stream from his Americano floats into the air and disappears. He takes in a deep breath, and smiles. Retirement is great.
“Tom?” A man calls as he barrels through the glass door, stumbling over his own shoes.
“Paul” he says to the young journalist. “How are you doing this morning?”
“Tom, buddy, you were not kidding.”
“About what?” He sits at the table in front of Tom and folds his hands. Then he unfolds them- too excited to stand still. “Calm down, my friend talk to me.” Tom says and takes another sip.
“Where do I start? It’s just…gosh. If there was a Christian word to cuss I would. I can’t find any words to describe this …this, change!”
“Tell me, what happened, Paul.” Tom says, a smile cracking across his wrinkled face.
“Come on , you know. You’ve been a believer for what?”
“I sound like a nut job, but this is great. Look, my job is soo stressful that I’ve been taking meds to think straight. Today, I suddenly realized that I have crazy deadlines to meet, boss on my back, not an idea for a story, yet,” he slaps his hands on the table, “I am at total peace! Really, I don’t get it. It was soo surreal.”
“Peace that passes all understanding.”
“Exactly! But that’s not even all. The last five years have been really tough on me; I’ve been really depressed; you know; wanting to be the best husband and father, bring in enough money, and feeling that no matter what I do, it’s never enough. But now, oh , now, my friend, I feel happy. No…it’s joy. Real joy, it’s…” He pauses trying to find the right word, his mouth gaping open in mid thought.
“Joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Tom laughs.
“YEAH!” Paul bursts out. “And there’s so much more. I try my hardest to do everything I know I should, but honestly, sometimes I miss it. But I still feel Him, His presence, His love. It’s incredible. I know that I’m not a failure to Him, and it feels like when I mess up, He picks me up and pushes me in the right direction again.”
“He does. The Bible says that He will finish that which He began in you. Tom, God chose you. He began this amazing work in your life, and He’s not going to stop working on you until you are complete in Him. Yeah, sure you mess up at times; it’s a process, Paul. But His love for you has no boundaries. He’s not going to cut you off just because you miss it at times, no, He’s going to pick you up and continue to work. The Bible says that we’re His workmanship that He wants to display for all ages.”
Paul sits there hanging on every word – his face is that of a child’s. just finding out that he’s going to have the best day ever. “Tom, this is indescribable, amazing, unbelievable, and it makes absolutely no sense at all.” He looks past Tom in deep concentration. “No sense at all. I don’t deserve this. Really, how could God…”
“Paul don’t even try and figure it out.”
“But, Tom, I used to…”
“Old things are past away and everything’s made new.” Tom rebuttals
“Paul, you’ll drive yourself nuts if you try and make sense of it all. God’s love makes no sense. He loves us, and loves us enough to have sentenced His son to death, saving us. We don’t deserve it, never will. That’s it, Paul. Don’t try and figure it out logically. You can’t.”
Paul puts his hand out and touches Tom’s shoulder. “You know that you’re asking this of a journalist. I ‘m made to think; especially when it’s the greatest story ever.”
Tom smiles and pats Paul’s hand. “You’re a silly kid.” Paul grins, and they both laugh.
“Go get some coffee, and humor and old man.”
Paul just laughs as he gets in line to get an Americano for himself. He looks up- eyes closed, “God, you make no sense at all…and I love it.”
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