Amelia knew she had gone to bed with a splitting headache but she didn’t know how she came to be standing outside a business such as this. The neon sign winked and pointed as it coaxed her to places she had never been.
When the opaque door opened she stepped across its threshold, helpless to resist. A tall man in a white suit smiled and spoke with a gentleness that washed over her battered and weary mind like the advertised warm breezes and blue water in the huge photographs on the wall.
“Good Morning. A personal brochure is ready for your perusal. Have a seat.”
Amelia limped toward the soft chair. Something was wrong with her bare feet. It was if she had been walking on hot coals and broken glass. She saw drops of blood.
“ Did I have an appointment? Where am I?“
The man handed a notebook to her. “Have you ever heard of a Travel Agency?”
Her affirmative nod was nearly imperceptible but obviously understood.
“Well…this is a Time-Travel Agency.”
She was curious and somehow relieved, but not surprised. This was exactly what she had dreamed of finding.
“You may return to any place in your past where a better decision would have changed your life. Relax, think about it, have a nice cup of tea. I’ll be back when you have chosen.”
Amelia didn’t notice where the man went as she curled up to read in the most comfortable spot she had ever been.
She found divider tabs labeled with pivotal options in her life she had forgotten: Lie and Cheat or Truth and Consequences, Do the Job Right or Cut Corners, Fix the Crack Immediately or Procrastinate until the Gaping Hole Swallows Any Attempt at Repair. This particular topic was painfully eye opening.
The roads she had traveled to avoid obedience and good sense were full of potholes. Why couldn’t she simply have taken care of business instead of waiting for the breakups, bad grades, debts, foreclosures, symptoms, sicknesses, and unruly children to escalate beyond control? Her mother had admonished with folksy sayings about putting off until tomorrow what you can do today, and how much easier it is to stamp out a campfire than a forest fire.
This choosing thing was more difficult than she had imagined. Page after page of places where she could have made a more prudent decision stared back at her; places where taking appropriate action would have prevented sorrow or calamity. The plethora of options was daunting.
She looked up to see little personal history vignettes play out on a big screen hanging on the wall. It was difficult to watch.
“Amelia,” her mother called from the old kitchen, “Daisy got out again this morning. Please remember to shut the gate. Someday that dog may just stay gone.”
“Come on, Baby,” her blind date taunted, “ You don’t have to be such a prude. After all, it’s your life. Take another drink. Who says it’s wrong?”
She had married him because it was easier than praying and having the patience to wait for a good man who understood the concept of love. “You’re my wife! I will hit you any time I feel like it, so shut up!” Now she could see the final cost was staggering.
The stranger in the white suit came back. His voice was clear and to the point. “Have you made a decision?"
“How can I?” She sobbed in deep contrition. “I put off doing the right things by taking the path of least resistance so many times I don’t know where to begin to change the madness that surrounds me today. ”
The wise man took the thick book from her confused past and threw it as far as the east is from the west. With great gentleness, He gave her a beautiful replacement. On the front, in bold letters, it read: Amelia’s Future. The pages were blank. He presented her with a pen filled with the ink of hope and faith and clarity.
Page One -- Today I took steps to fix a mess that never should have happened had I been paying attention. The children are safe at Mother’s and I am in a hospital where I needed to be all along. This is a dream come true.
New journal in hand, Amelia looked forward to her daily walk in the fresh air and sunshine, eternally thankful to be awake.
Proverbs 24:30-34 (NLB)
I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense…I saw it was covered with weeds and its walls were broken down. Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson: A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
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