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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)

TITLE: Coffee Conversation
By Shirley McClay


Lina stomped down the sidewalk, ignoring the cars that whizzed by. Three teens on bikes snaked around her. Did they notice the tears on her cheeks? She didn’t give a rip.

“This week has been so up and down. Like this whole year… in fact let’s just stick my entire life in there.”
Lina’s pace quickened as her frustration levels rose. Her walk to Starbucks was accomplished in record time. She ordered her favorite decaf mocha frappuccino no whip and found a seat at a shadowed corner table. Opening her newest novel, Lina tried to forget the impending decision that could potentially change their lives.

It was no use. A couple of pages later she found herself staring out the window, seeing her husband sitting at home, making The Decision.

“What are we supposed to do God?”

“What do you want to do?”

“That’s not the point, is it? I don’t really have a choice.”

“Tell me, Daughter.”

Now Lina was really torn. One direction and the security that she had longed for would be hers. It had been so long since Lina had really felt like her world had any stability or safety. But it would limit them in so many ways.

The other option could potentially put their lives in more of a spin... or it could be a blessing beyond their wildest expectations.

“God, I don’t know. I’m honestly not sure.”

“Let me ask you something, Sweetheart. Would you prefer security or adventure?”

Lina’s heart skipped a few beats. Then it lurched into a gallop. “Oh my goodness.” She startled herself by speaking the words out loud.

People would start staring if she wasn’t careful about appearing to talk to herself. She cleared her throat, took a sip of her coffee, and turned her eyes back to her book. But her heart was still focused on the inner conversation.

“How do you do that? No one else in the world would know to ask me that. No one else would know that’s the one thing that would change everything.”

“It’s still your choice.”

“But you know me. I can’t turn down adventure.” Silence from that inner Voice.

“I just realized… I have been griping and fearful when you are actually giving me my heart’s desire. Adventure.” Tears blurred the words of the book she clutched.

“My health problems, my crazy life, my relationships, my kids… it all seems so out of control. But it’s not is it? It’s from Your hand. It’s …”

“Are you OK, Lina?” Helen stood nearby, waiting for her drink. Lina had always liked Helen, a friend from church. She seemed to welcome either trials or triumphs, all the while praising God, at peace with whatever.

Lina’s heart welled with the need to voice her thoughts. “Have a seat.”
Helen’s smile always included her eyes. T hey emanated caring and honesty. “Want a listening ear? I don’t want to intrude.” She set her drink on the table. “I’d be glad to sit with you for as long as you like.” There was that smile again.

They chatted over their coffees until Lina’s cell rang. Paul was calling to remind her of her doctor’s appointment in forty-five minutes. She had completely forgotten.

“So. I guess as far as I am concerned, I am up for the adventure. But I am seeing things so differently now.” She finished the last of her drink and slipped her book into her bag.

“It makes life much easier, doesn’t it? Almost like a game. The things we learn and accomplish help us to be better prepared to play… or in this case, be used by God.”

“Yeah... like in my son’s video games.”

“Exactly. And the lessons are ours for eternity.”

“It sure makes life more interesting, and kinda fun. As long as I can truly trust that we’re in His hands and that He’s caring for us... then whatever happens doesn’t matter so much. It’s part of the challenge… but can I rise to it?

Helen chuckled. “He must see something very special in you, a strength not many people have. Because he sure is giving you some challenges that require, um … shall we say… an adventurous soul.”

Lina’s laugh was rueful as they headed toward their cars.

Later, after her doctor’s appointment, she felt the sting of irony even more.

“Chicken pox, Lord? You’ve got to be kidding me?” She dropped her head on the steering wheel she was clutching and chose to laugh.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 09/18/08
Well, I can certainly guess who wrote this:) Nice job and what a message!
Dee Yoder 09/19/08
Aww...though life can be full of adventures, having chicken pox at ANY age is one adventure I'd want to pass on! That ending packs a punch--and some laughter-- sorry to say.(Not so funny, though, to the one with chicken pox!) Good to see life's unexpected moments with humor!
Shelley Ledfors 09/22/08
This is great! I love the conversations with God...especially the adventure question. He truly is the only one who knows to ask the questions each of us need to hear.
Celeste Ammirata09/23/08
I enjoyed this. I love how God asked her the important question.....Did she want security or adventure......How well he knows us. Great job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/23/08
The Lord wouldn't entice me with adventure, and I'm not up for chicken pox, but I'll take your caring friend and a good coffee conversation any day.
Valarie Sullivan09/23/08
I've had conversations just like that. Very good read!
Peter Stone10/02/08
Good job presenting the MC's inner voice. Cute that the health problems turned out to be chicken pox, an obvious surprise for the MC. I would have liked to have seen more details regarding the two choices pending weaved throughout the story, eg, more details on what the secure option verses the adventure.