Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Telephone (07/17/08)
TITLE: Go to the Throne, Not the Phone
By nicole wian
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“Hello,” answered Agnes.
Miriam’s voice was hollow as she greeted her sister.
“What’s wrong?” Agnes asked.
“Oh, nothing,” answered Miriam, knowing Agnes would press. When she did, Miriam blurted out the details of an argument she’d just had with her daughter, Paige. Miriam relayed how once again, Paige had become angry at Miriam’s well-meaning advice. All she’d done, Miriam said, was comment that Paige should consider giving up her fulltime job, instead run an at home daycare.
She was answered by silence, and Miriam snapped, “Are you there?”
“Yes, I’m here, sweetie. It’s just that you two always argue abut that. It seems Paige is satisfied with her career. And she juggles that and her family quite well.”
“Well, my concern is the children. If you can’t understand that….“ Miriam gave her sister time to defend herself, but when she didn’t Miriam continued, “Anyway, Paige is just always so self-protective. She jumps down my throat for everything.”
“Oh, honey, that’s my other line. I’m expecting a call from the doctor. I’ll call you back”
“Fine,” Miriam answered, sullenly.
She just needed to vent, get this off her chest before she exploded. She picked up the phone to call her friend, Hazel.
“Miriam! I’m so glad it’s you. I was just going to call you. I wanted to tell you about my trip,” said Hazel, upon answering.
Miriam politely listened to the details of her friend’s last trip to Ohio to visit her son, making the necessary, affirming comments, but she wasn’t really focusing on what she was saying. Instead, she replayed that conversation with her daughter, going over it gain and again. Her daughter could be so hateful sometimes. She didn’t deserve this. How could her daughter not have more compassion?
When Hazel had finished up her story, Miriam grabbed her turn and unleashed. She knew Hazel would provide a sympathetic ear. She told how she and Paige had gone out to eat and how she’d tried to encourage her daughter in her parenting. She then told how Paige had become irate, accusing her of always being critical. Then Miriam began to cry. It was so unfair. Everything she said, her daughter took out of context.
“Oh, Miriam. I’m sorry. I don’t know why Paige acts like that. You don’t deserve that. Doesn’t she understand that all mothers share advice with their children, no matter how old they become? I would never have treated my mother like that.”
The women shared stories of their children’s ingratitude and bad attitudes until Miriam’s other line clicked. She checked the caller i.d., hoping it was Paige, so she could tell her how badly she’d hurt her. But it was her other daughter, Angela.
“Hazel, I have to take that..”
“Ok, call back soon.” Hazel answered.
Miriam clicked over to her eldest daughter’s cheerful voice.
“Mom, I have the best news!”
“What’s that honey?” asked Miriam.
“Wait. What’s wrong?” Angela asked, detecting in her mother’s voice a familiar tone.
“Well, it’s your sister.”
Angela sighed, waiting.
Miriam once again told her story, even more upset by it now. Miriam couldn’t even remember what she might have said that would have angered her daughter to the point of such nastiness.
Angela listened patiently, comforting her mother. Hours passed before they said good-bye.
Miriam had gone through an entire box of Kleenex by the time she hung up but felt no better. She was more frustrated than when she’d called her sister. Then she realized she hadn’t even asked Angela what her good news was. But by this time, she was too emotionally exhausted to call her back. Miriam leaned back into the couch, still shedding tears. Why was she not comforted? She had vented. Why was she left with such an empty, miserable feeling.
At bedtime, Miriam crawled into bed, praying for peace. She needed to feel refreshed in the morning. Tomorrow, she’d call her friend Esther.
She was just about to fall asleep, leave this day behind her, when a phrase popped into her head. “Go to the throne, not the phone.” Tears came once again, as she realized that in all her sorrow today, she’d not once gone to the Lord. She’d gone to everyone but Him. And been left unsatisfied.
“I’m sorry, Lord.” she confessed. “Please give me clarity. Show me if there’s anything I could have done differently with, Paige. I ‘ll listen. I don’t want to feel this way anymore.”
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