Jared slumped down on his couch, his fingers raking through a wild shock of strawberry blonde hair. His normally fair skin was on fire. His latest date with Andrea sure hadn’t gone as he had expected, but then neither had most of his personal life thus far.
He leaned back into the 1960s model couch. It had been a flea market bargain to Jared, but never impressed the girls.
He blue eyes swept the studio apartment he shared with his best friends. Just across from the couch in the far corner was his newest addition to the family—a 60” plasma screen TV. Jared had just spent the better part of his Saturday rewiring the giant so it could interface with his sound system and the Internet. Off to the side was his computer network with its high-rise addition and assortment of printer condominiums perched on wire shelving. Tangles of colored wires and printer cables united the cluster of hardware to Jared in a twisted way. This little room housed his existence. And, when he did escape its clutches, he stayed connected with his Blackberry attached to his belt and the funny little “Borg” implant wrapped around his left ear.
As a highly sought after computer programmer, Jared was able to name his price and work from home. Now at 36, he was beginning to find his solitary existence a little tiring.
He sighed and slumped further, swinging his legs up and over the end of the couch. File folders and McDonald’s sacks crashed to the floor. It was Sunday morning. He knew he couldn’t face church . . . or Andrea.
“Oh, man.” Closing his eyes, Jared replayed last night’s events in his mind. His head throbbed. What had he done to drive a nice girl like Andrea away?
“Jared, you just seem so distracted. I’m looking for a guy who wants to spend time with me, you know, build a life together, seek God, do ministry.”
“Well, I do, Andrea, honestly, I do.”
“Jared, have you seen yourself? I mean, really looked at how you live? You live in a tiny studio apartment and surround yourself with every mode of technology there is. It’s your whole life. That’s how you communicate. You don’t really know how to talk to us normal people, do you?”
“Uh, uh, I don’t know.” No matter how hard he tried Jared just couldn’t seem to look at those dark brown eyes. His face flushed red. “I’m sorry, Andrea. I do want this to work.”
Andrea reached out raising his chin so his eyes were level with hers. “Jared, I do like you. There’s a quality about you that God can use and that excites me.”
Jared’s face flushed brighter.
“Unfortunately Jared, I can’t continue dating you. I know it’s your job, but you spend so much time at your place alone. You need to meet people, make friends. Get more involved at church. Something.” Desperation accentuated her voice. Her two hands cupped his right hand, sending a shock of electricity up his spine. His mouth went dry.
“Andrea.” His voice cracked in a whisper.
“Jared, you have so much potential. You’re extraordinarily bright. God could use you in so many ways.”
Jared trembled at the memory of her soft hands draped around his. The energy he had felt with Andrea was unlike anything he experienced with his best friends. Maybe she was right. He’d forgotten what true friendship and love were all about. Too many years in bondage to technology had made him callous and afraid. Could he change?
He sat up and looked around the tiny apartment. Dumfounded, he saw the web of metal, plasma, plastic and wires that nearly engulfed everything in its wake. He had to change.
The machinery taunted him--antiseptic, cruel, just like a merciless killer who had choked his soul. He hadn’t prayed in so long. Could he change?
His mind battled with his heart and his shoulders began to shake. Dropping to his knees amid the debris of his life, he knew he had to pray. He had to change.
“Lord? Are You there?” A cold sweat broke out all over him as the shaking continued.
“Lord, I need you. Help me.” Clammy hands clasped in an act of petition. “I need Andrea. Help me learn to love You and her.”
Jared glanced at his watch. There was still time to make the eleven o’clock service.
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