The letter carrier was always punctual. He was never early, never late. Marsha had noted his arrival for over a week. Two o’clock on the dot. I’ll be there. Months ago she had sent applications to three colleges. She had about given up hope, but then her best friend, Judith, received an acceptance last Monday. That began Marsha’s daily run to the mailbox.
Her mother stood at Marsha’s bedroom door drying her hands on a dishtowel. “You know, hun, not all colleges send out their letters at the same time. I remember when your dad applied for grad school, it took forever for his acceptance.”
“I know, mom,” Marsha sighed, “but Judith applied to the same schools.” She hit enter on her computer keyboard and took a deep breath. I never should’ve taken a year off for that mission.”
“Well, if something happens, you can always go to the community college for a year or two, take the basics.”
Marsha rocked back in her desk chair and turned toward her mother. “If I don’t get in I may join the Navy or do something else, maybe even another mission trip.”
“Trust God. Whatever decision you have to make, the Lord will be with you. It’s not necessary to try to do it alone.”
The last thing I need right now is a pious sermon. “Yeah, thanks mom.”
“Sweetheart, your dad and I are behind you one hundred percent, no matter what. I do hope you will pray on this and let the Lord lead you. We want you to be happy.”
“Right, Mom, thanks.” Marsha turned back to the computer and began typing. At five minutes till two, she moved to the living room and turned on the television while keeping an eye the narrow country road outside of their home.
She walked to the porch a dozen times to look up and down the road. “Hey Mom, is this a national holiday or something. I haven’t seen the mail guy come by yet.”
“Maybe we didn’t get any mail today, you know he doesn’t come down our road if he doesn’t have to.” Her mother’s called from the kitchen.
Marsha flopped down on her dad’s recliner. His King James study bible was on the lamp table and she absently picked it up and let it fall open. Her dad had underlined several of the Psalms. But, underlined with a red pen was Psalm 71:5. “For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth.” She took a deep breath; the smell of her father permeated the leather of the chair. “You know Lord, I trust you, like I trust dad and mom.” Her mother’s words seemed to echo through her and she shook her head.
The family cat brushed along her legs and issued a pitiful “meow.”
“Okay, Sampson, I know.” Marsha walked into the kitchen and hugged her mother.
“Not that I don’t appreciate it, but what was that for?” Her mother laughed.
“Oh, I was just thinking about what you said earlier; about trusting God. I guess if God doesn’t want me in college then I have to trust that He will show me something else.”
“Well, don’t get too down, your grades were excellent. Your SAT was, well, okay, and I know your personal interview went fine, cause I talked one of the counselors afterward. You have some worldly experience that nobody else has.”
Marsha stuck her finger in the mixing bowl. “I suppose, but being able to talk about mission work in South America, doesn’t seem to be a big pull.”
“Keep your fingers out of the cookie dough until I’m finished.” She playfully slapped Marsha’s hand. “I think any school would be happy to have you.”
Marsha stuck her finger in the bowl one more time and danced out the door. The mailbox loomed like a lone flower in a desert. She picked up the phone and called Judith. “I’m going to see if the mail came at their place yet.” After three rings the answering machine picked up. “Phooey.” Marsha collapsed into the armchair once again.
At three o’clock, the high school bus stopped in front of their house. Marsha casually glanced out as her younger sister hopped off the bus.
Normally, Misty hit the door, threw her book bag into a corner and headed for the kitchen. Today, she stood in the doorway holding three letters. “Marsha. Didn’t you go to the mailbox, today?”
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