Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fulfillment (04/06/06)
By Jean Elizabeth
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"Don't do this to yourself, Sarah, he doesn't want you back," she whispered under her breath. "It's pathetic how you need him to want you."
As she waited for him, she tried not to relive the conversation that had ended their marriage, but the memory was too strong.
"Sarah, it's been over for a long time. You must know that," Tom said. "We have nothing in common anymore."
"I know that we've stopped talking," she said. "And we don't spend enough time together. But in spite of everything I still have hope."
"Well, I don't," Tom said bluntly.
"Are you willing to give up that easily?" she asked. "What about the kids? This will devastate them."
"It's devastating as it is," Tom shot back.
"Is that it?" Sarah asked. " Are you giving up?"
"I guess so."
Sarah knew there was no point in pushing further. She was good at reading Tom's moods and it was obvious that he would say nothing else.
The sound of the doorbell interrupted her thoughts. Sarah hesitated as she glanced at her left hand. The imprint from her wedding ring was a visible reminder of an unfulfilled promise. As she opened the door she breathed a short prayer, "Lord, let my actions and words honor You."
"Hi, Sarah," Tom said as he stepped inside. "Thanks for seeing me."
Sarah noticed immediately the change in Tom. He seemed unsure of himself and his voice had a pleading tone that was unfamiliar to her.
"You're welcome," she said. "Did you think I wouldn't?"
"I hoped - but I've been so unfair to you."
Sarah was taken aback and confused by this admission. She didn't know how to respond.
"Tom, sit down. Is something wrong?" Sarah asked. As they sat, she clasped her shaking hands in her lap.
"Sarah, I need to tell you that I was wrong when I blamed your faith for the failure of our marriage. I know that hurt you."
Sarah's heart leaped. She had been crushed when he told her that her faith had ruined their relationship. She had pleaded with God for understanding, "How can this be Your desire? Why have You called me but not Tom? My becoming a believer is destroying our marriage." But there had been no answers, just the still small voice telling her to wait on the Lord.
"I tried not to impose my faith on you," Sarah said. "I never wanted it to become a burden for you."
"I know. It wasn't you, it was me," he said. "I resented it. I wanted things to stay the same."
"And now?" she asked.
"Now I wish I could go back and do some things differently," he said. "But it's too late."
"It's never too late," Sarah said. She had so many things she wanted to say to him but could only bring herself to ask, "What do you wish you could do?"
Tom took a deep breath, looked intently at her, and said quietly, "I wish I could take away the pain I caused you."
"We both made mistakes," she said. "It doesn't help to rehash the past."
Tom stood up and walked over to the mantel. He stared at the family picture that Sarah still kept there. "Why didn't you marry again?"
"Tom, I let you go because I had no choice," she said, surprised that the anger and resentment she'd lived with did not resurface. "I made a vow to you on our wedding day and I meant to keep it. I haven't wanted anyone else."
Tom turned away from the picture and looked at Sarah. There were tears in his eyes.
"There's something else isn't there?" she asked.
"Yes," he said. "I've met someone."
Sarah felt her lungs deflate. "Oh," was all she could say. When she became a believer she had prayed, "Lord, change Tom's heart." Then she had prayed, "Lord, change me." Finally, a few years ago, she had started praying, "Lord, Your will, not mine." Most days she could stop there without adding, "But please, not at the expense of my family."
"Sarah," Tom was saying, "Will you be alright?"
At that moment Sarah wasn't sure she would be. But later, the still small voice would return to reassure her and remind her of His promises.
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