Mr. Dodd prayed in his office. “Lord, I’ve got a big decision to make. I’ve got to promote one of my men and I need your discernment.” He sat quietly, listening. “Really, Lord? But he seems so materialistic? Wow. Whatever you say, Lord.”
* * * * *
“Wow!” Sydney Moran threw her arms around her husband’s neck. A brand new, fire-engine red Volvo sat in their driveway underneath a huge bow. “This is the best gift ever!”
Her husband hugged her close. “We’re going places, baby!”
* * * * *
Lauren sat down on the couch wearily. It had been a long, exhausting day. Not that she didn’t love having three kids, but days like this made her wonder if she’d been wrong to have them so close together.
The door opened as Tom, her husband of eight years walked into the living-room.
“Wow, you’re home early.”
He smiled. “And, I’ve brought dinner!” With a flourish, he pulled the bag from Lauren’s favorite Chinese restaurant from behind his back. “Who’s ready for some Mongolian Beef?”
Lauren jumped up to give her husband a hug. “What’s the occasion?’
“I sold a car today, top of the line. The commission means we can breathe a little easier this month AND management made me Employee of the Month.”
“Aww. You deserve it, baby.”
* * * * *
Ping Le rubbed her sore feet. She’d asked to work a double shift, but while her spirit was willing, her flesh was weak. Weak, sore, battered and bruised, she thought to herself.
Lu, Ping’s boyfriend and current busboy of the Hong Kong Star, came outside with a cigarette. “Hey Ping, you look exhausted.”
She smiled wearily. “I guess all of these doubles are catching up to me.”
Lu came to sit beside her. “So why keep doing them? I’ve told you I would help.”
Ping sighed. “I know. But I really need to do this myself. Mama is already working herself to death to help me pay for school. I don’t want you on my conscience too.”
“I understand.” Lu threw his cigarette into the nearby dumpster. “Well, this should help. The pickup order left you a pretty good tip.” He dug the wadded bills from his apron.
“Wow! That was Mr. Tanner. He and his wife are my favorite customers. I’ll have my tuition money before I know it.”
Lu rubbed Ping’s tired shoulders. “I have no doubts, baby.”
* * * * *
Joshua stood on the street corner holding the sign his mother had made him. He had gone as far from his neighborhood as he could. Still, if anyone saw him, he’d die. He pulled his hoodie around his face, as much to hide the bitterness and anger, as to hide his identity.
“Smile, Joshua,” his mother had said. “No one will give money to a sullen kid.”
“What is there to smile about? You’ve lost your job, there’s no money, Sashi is sick, Dad’s run off. I’ll beg because you’re making me, but I won’t smile.”
“We have hope Joshua, that’s something no one can take away from us.”
Hope. Whatever. She could hope all she wanted. As far as he could tell, it wasn’t worth a darn dime. He stared into the tin cup at his feet. It wasn’t nearly enough for what they needed.
A young woman walked around the corner toward Joshua. She was thin, Asian, limping as if in pain. Joshua tried his best to smile, but a grimace was all he could muster.
“Please help. My sister is sick and we need money for medicine.” Ping read the words out loud. “To he whom much is given,” she muttered, handing Joshua money from her purse.
“Wow,” he whispered, watching her leave. “That’s more like it, baby!”
* * * * *
Camille put another cold washcloth on her daughter’s face. “Lord,” she whispered, “you have got to help us here. I know I’m not supposed to worry, but I’m about to lose it.”
Cold air blew through the room, announcing her son’s arrival.
“Joshua? We’re in here.”
Joshua ran into the bedroom. “Look, Mom. I got the medicine you wanted, and I’ve still got some left over!”
“Praise the Lord.”
She gently raised her daughter’s head, and poured the fever medicine into her mouth.
Sashi took a sip. “Wow,” she whispered. “That tastes awful.”
“I know,” Camille answered, tears running down her face. “But you’ll better soon, baby.”
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