Steve hung up the phone, ending his conversation with his editor. He stared out the opened beachfront window of his bungalow. The rush of the waves did little to quiet his growing anxiety. He ran his fingers through his hair.
His phone rang again. Caller ID showed it to be Laura, his fiancée in Mobile, Alabama.
“Hey,” he answered trying to sound more chipper than what he felt. He failed.
“The white sands of Maui aren’t working, are they?” Her voice filled more with concern than accusation.
“Never could hide anything from you, could I?”
“Don’t even try, big boy.” She paused. “No ideas for your next article?”
“Not even a glimmer. I really thought coming out here, getting away from the city, would be just what I needed…I don’t know, Laura, I think I’ve lost it.”
“Don’t say that.”
“I got a call from my editor. He’s two of my reserved articles lined up for the next two months, but that leaves six more due before the end of the year – normally I’d have that already in.” He looked out into the ocean. “Enough about me; how’s your job going?”
Laura was the administrator for a small-sized assisted living facility. “Tough,” she admitted. “Steve, it’s so sad. So many of these folks seem to have no one who cares; they’re so lonely…”
“We’ve talked about this before; you’ve too soft a heart to be working in that kind of environment.”
“I can’t just leave them, knowing I could have done something and didn’t.
“So, what are you going to do?”
“I don’t know,” there was resignation in her voice, barely dispelled after an hour’s talk. Before hanging up, Laura asked. “Steve, will you pray that something happens to lift my patients’ spirits.”
“Of course; and please pray I get inspiration - soon.”
“Consider it done. Call me tomorrow. I miss and love you.”
“Ditto.” He clicked off and went for a run on the beach. Not wanting to say it to her but he was worried. Their wedding was four months away and then came the financial responsibility of marriage. If he couldn’t come up with ideas for the monthly magazine he worked for, his job would be in jeopardy.
Laura’s despair over her job worried him, too. He wanted her to quit, but knew she would never leave her patients. Remembering what she’d asked, he began to pray.
When he got back to his bungalow, he called Laura, getting her voice mail. “Do me a favor; fax me the names of each of your patients. I’ll explain later.” There was energy in his voice. “I love you.” Hanging up, he sprinted to the store for stationery supplies.
When he returned, the fax with the patient’s names, twenty of them, was waiting for him. WHAT??? CALL ME!!! was written across the top of the list. Smiling, he called, explaining everything.
A week later Laura phoned; excitement in her voice. “Steve, I can’t believe the change that’s coming over the patients you’ve sent cards to.” She continued and told him the changes she’d seen. “Having a secret friend is breathing new life into them – they can hardly wait for the mail. They’re like little kids, peeking around the corner at Christmas. I wish others could know how such a simple act can change lives.”
There was a smile in his reply. “That’s wonderful; but remember don’t tell them who I am – everyone should have a secret friend who cares about them. I just mailed the next ten cards – don’t want to overlook anyone. Do me a favor; send me their birth dates, too.”
“I will; but, Steve - how about your articles, have you come up with any ideas yet?”
I’m sorry, but I’m still praying.”
“I know. Thank-you…I love you.” After hanging up he took a jog along the ocean's shore. Racing through the ebb and flowing tides, a single word flitted through his mind: chronicle.
When he got back to the bungalow, he sat at his desk, staring at a blank writing tablet before him. The word chronicle flashed through his mind again. Absently, he picked up his pen and began to jot notes regarding what Laura told him about the change in her patients.
Soon his pen seemed to take on a life of its own. Hours later, pent with inspiration, he dialed Laura. “You’re not going to believe this,” he began, “but you and God have given me a wonderful idea – twenty, in fact…”
Based on Ecclesiastes 11: 1 “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.”
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