Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Discern (08/12/10)
TITLE: Auntie Liv: Meddling or Insightful?
By Kate Oliver Webb
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The muffins I’d made that morning would be perfect to share with her, so I started the coffee and tidied up a bit. Aunt Liv wasn’t nit-picky, but she carried a sort of grace and elegance that my lived-in apartment wouldn’t quite match.
While scurrying around, I began wondering what was bringing her out on a cold, slushy morning like this. My little antennae were quivering; some sixth sense telling me to prepare for a jolt, perhaps?
Nah, just my fun-loving auntie on an outing, wanting to catch up on family gossip.
The doorbell rang, and while letting her into the hallway, I took a good--albeit furtive--look at her on her way to the living room. She seemed as usual: immaculately groomed, dressed elegantly for winter weather, the perfect dark rose lipstick which would soon be transferred to my right cheek, her brisk pat-pat on my shoulder before heading for the most comfortable chair, picking up Her Hairiness and plopping her on her lap as she sat. That’s Auntie.
I took another surreptitious look as I set the little snack tray on the table in front of her. Perhaps a little flush of excitement?
I balanced my own snack plate on my lap, and smiled at her brightly, inviting her to “open the meeting,” so-to-speak. She concentrated on buttering a muffin, then stirring her coffee. All was silent while she spread her napkin on her lap, and opened her mouth to take a nibble.
If she was uncomfortable, she wasn’t letting on. I, however, was getting that anticipatory quiver. But why? We’d had spur-of-the-moment visits before, and there wasn’t anything going on but the warm companionship of family members who happened to be friends as well.
“Bootsy,” she looked up at me. Uh oh, this was her I’m-about-to-
drop-it-on-you nickname for me. She usually called me Betsy, like everybody else did.
“What’s up, Auntie Liv?”
“Bootsy, I know you don’t like people to butt into your life, but I really need to tell you something.” Now, this really wasn’t like her.
“I’m worried about you,” she said, watching me over her coffee cup. “You’re not going anywhere.”
Well, shoot. I never thought Aunt Olivia would be the one to kick me in the rear because I lacked ambition. I crammed half a muffin in my mouth to give me time for a snappy come-back. I needn’t have bothered.
“I’ve been feeling this for some time, Sweetie,” she went on quickly. “I know the rest of the family thinks you’re just being your own laid-back self--but I know you’ve had a dream for years, and I also know you’re not doing anything about helping it come true.”
I chewed on the other half of the muffin, thinking quickly. How’d she know?
“How’d you know?”
“I’ve watched you since you were little. You have a marvelous gift. And besides the natural artistic streak, you have a desire to serve God which you’ve tried to find excuses to escape. Why haven’t you shared this with me--or with anyone, for that matter?”
I felt the tears well up. I certainly hadn’t expected this, from Aunt Liv of all people. Who would have thought she’d have the spiritual depth she was showing that morning? Where was this coming from?
I wavered between anger at being found out, gratefulness that it was finally in the open, and fear that now I might have to actually do something about it. The thing was, you see, that day was the culmination of arguing with God, trying to convince myself and Him that following up on my life-long dream would only result in disappointment, all the while making other plans.
“I’ve taken the liberty of looking into Christian schools, Bootsy. I found one which concentrates on artistic ministries, as well as traditional Bible courses. Here’s some material I want you to look at. And before you ask: I’ve dedicated an amount of my estate to supporting your ministry, including training. Now, what do you say?”
Around the lump in my throat, I said: “Thank you,” then sealed our new partnership by spilling coffee on my dear, elegant auntie.
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