Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Winter (11/14/05)
TITLE: Consider the Ant
By Venice Kichura
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Jake was then off to his first business trip since they’d moved to Bangor, Maine, only two weeks ago, and Melba was already missing him. Lonely in her new home, she was overwhelmed just preparing for winter. As a native Floridian, she’d never even owned an overcoat.
But she was even more overwhelmed over her new job of caring for her elderly mother-in-law. A job opening in Bangor was an answer to prayer for Jake as they could now care for his 85-year-old mother who lived alone. But it was more like a death sentence to Melba. Although she was happy to retire from her secretarial job in Florida, she was apprehensive about taking care of Mrs. Donlin. And because Jake often traveled, she was the one who was her main caretaker. She had never felt comfortable with her, knowing her mother-in-law was disappointed her son had married outside his religious denomination and had converted to her faith. A born-again Christian, Melba was doubtful if Mrs. Donlin was even saved. She yearned to share Christ with her, but didn’t know how to communicate spiritual truths.
Her mother-in-law was about the only one who ever called. <i>Will I ever make new friends?</i> She wondered, slipping into her warm jammies. She just wanted to jump into bed and throw herself a pity party when the phone rang.
Of course, it was Mrs. Donlin. She had wanted to call her “Mom” all these years, but still couldn’t bring herself to say the word.
“Hey Mrs. Donlin,” she said, trying to sound cheerful.
“Can you bring over an extra blanket?” her mother-in-law asked.
Mrs. Donlin meant well, but had no conception of Melba’s time, expecting her to drop everything and run to her house at her every beckoned call, any time—day or night. However, Melba felt sorry for her as she struggled with numerous ailments, including failing eyesight known as macular degeneration.
“Sure, just give me a few minutes,” she said, redressing.
Digging out a blanket from a moving box, she sighed, realizing she hadn’t even unpacked and wasn’t even ready for fall, much less for winter.
She drove to Mrs. Donlin’s apartment. As her mother-in-law let her in, she listened to her vent about all her aches and pains. Her gaze shifted to the big black family Bible on the coffee table. It was always there, but never read. Mrs. Donlin couldn’t even read large print any more. Struggling to share a Bible passage to comfort her, she could only remember bits and pieces of scripture.
Saved by her ringing cell phone, she excused herself.
“Nancy!” she answered. Sure do miss you. What’s up?”
“Oh, just the usual here,” her best friend back in Florida said……”been spraying the kitchen for more fire ants.”
“Now that’s one thing I don’t miss,” she laughed. “At least up here you don’t have to worry about ants---just an occasional mouse family sneaking into your house to keep warm. Oh how she hated ants!
Then, ending her conversation, she felt the Lord was trying to tell her something about ants.
”Consider the ant,” she heard Him whisper.
Then it hit her….God was bringing to her remembrance the verse of how the ant prepares for winter*. Just as she needed to winterize her house, she also needed to prepare spiritually for her winter stage of life by storing the Word of God in her heart. She had no guarantee that she wouldn’t also have failing eyesight. At age 56 she was in the fall of her life and had grown sluggish in reading the Bible.
Opening the Bible, she asked her mother-in-law if she could read the 23rd Psalm.
“Sure, why not? ” Mrs. Donklin replied.
Closing the Bible, Melba felt relaxed with her mother-in-law after all these years.
“Can you read more?” Mrs. Donlin was hungry for the Word.
Melba’s heart melted as she saw how the scriptures touched her heart and bonded them together.
“Sure, Mom. I’d love to,” she said, snuggling up to her on their warm blanket.
Thanks to the ant, they were both preparing for winter.
*<i>“Go to the ant, you sluggard: consider her ways, and be wise…. (Proverbs 6:6, KJV)</i>
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