Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Persuasion (not about the book) (09/01/11)
TITLE: A Test of Love
By Gwen Plauche
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The family business had been built from the ground up. Many hard hours of work had paid off. Over a dozen employees were now considered a part of the extended family. Through the ups and downs, no employee had ever missed a paycheck. In fact, the owners made sure that no employee had missed the birth of a child or any important family event while in their employ.
The owners had two daughters. After graduating at the top of her MBA class, the eldest daughter returned to her hometown to help with the growing family business.
Instead of attending the state university as her older sister had, the younger daughter persuaded her parents to send her to an expensive out of state private university to pursue her undeclared major.
Once on campus, the second daughter quickly squandered her expense account on petty items and entertainment. Along the way, she changed her email address and cell phone number, desiring to be on her own and away from her family and her annoying past. She moved out of the dorm and in with some friends. She worked a few odd jobs to make ends meet. She was too proud to call home for funds, but was frustrated that life was so hard. She was shocked when she received notice that the college had placed her on academic probation with a mandatory semester away from classes. This meant more work. She told herself that she did not feel the pain of missing her family. It was a lie. She missed home.
Broke and broken, she decided to go home for the holidays. How long had it been since she had eaten a meal like her family ate on a daily basis? How was her family? She remembered how her parents took care of their employees. She would offer to work in the mailroom at the business and try to fit back in somehow.
She cashed her last paycheck. The train ticket took all but her last two dollars. Two pairs of shoes, two duffles of junk and two dollars. This is all she had to show for two years across the country from her family. She felt like she had sold her soul just to survive. Would her parents want her to return?
As the train entered her hometown, her stomach tightened. Was this going to work? Persuaded that she had no other choice, she grabbed her bags and began to walk toward the family business.
She passed all the familiar cafes and shops; the memories were almost too much to bear. She was too distracted to notice the growing group of locals who were watching her walk. She had no way of knowing the prayers that these people had prayed, all in hope of her return, and here she was! She did not notice Mrs. Smith running ahead of her, panting as she gasped for air. Mrs Smith was the first to arrive and went straight to the owners office with the news. Such news did not need to be repeated. Their prayers had been answered! Both parents ran down the stairs and through the front door, practically knocking their long lost daughter over as they rounded the corner. Just as she began to speak, trying to apologize and explain that she expected nothing special, the parents swept her into the front doors of the business and declared the office was to close early for a celebration.
Baffled at the outpouring of love, the young daughter wept. Equally baffled was the older sister, who observed the celebration from a distance. Persuaded her parents had lost their minds, she returned to her office, resolving to work even harder to win her parents approval.
Both daughters had missed what had always been there for both of them: Their parents were persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor messing up at college, nor working extra hard at the family business could add to or change the love they had for each of their daughters.
Story based on Luke15:11-32 & Romans 8:38.
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