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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Staff (01/31/13)

TITLE: Before It's Too Late
By Lois Farrow


Lucy laughed out loud as she flung the sheets high and then smoothed them neatly over the bed. Pillow slips fitted neatly over the plump pillows, and she stood back to admire her handiwork. There were advantages in this job, working for one of the richest families in the area. Everything in the house was beautiful, and the linen was so luxurious and soft; she wouldn’t mind slipping between these sheets herself. As a housemaid in this big house that was impossible, but there was no harm in dreaming.

And now here was this great opportunity, AND her pastor said it was okay. That was the amazing thing, his sermon on Sunday had featured three times when people did something that seemed audacious and bold, but they were acting with humility because they were obeying God. Like Shadrach and his friends standing up to the king, because God said not to bow down to idols.

Well, she had been asking God for ages how to reach her employer, but knew God would have to sort it out. It was too audacious for her, a housemaid in the guest wings, to ever approach him. But now everything had changed.

That was the thing about cancer and death, it made everyone equal. Karl had been such a public man, always in the limelight, a controversial broadcaster, loved and hated in equal measure. Oh, Lucy knew his history of broken marriages, womanising, being a work-a-holic. She’d only been working at his house for a year, and he was hardly ever home, but she also knew of his kindness, of the many people he had helped, both through his radio and TV shows but also behind the scenes. Besides the bad, he had lots of good deeds behind him as well.

And that was the funny thing, because last Sunday, when it was her night off and she was home in her little flat in the nearby town she had watched the interview. She had seen the TV crew arrive the other day but that was nothing unusual, they came here often. But this interview would be the last, and everyone knew it.

The interviewer was gentle and respectful. She allowed time for Karl to form his careful replies as they talked about his life. He told of how his former wife had come to see him and they had made their peace. He talked of facing his imminent death.

“Frightened?” asked the interviewer.

“Yep,” he said.

“More to do?” she asked.

“No,” he said. “I just want to spend my last days in contemplation. I want to make my peace with God.”

“Balancing the ledger?” she said.

“Yeah. I hope the good things I’ve done outweigh the bad.”

Lucy planned out her approach. Gentle, like the interviewer, she thought. I will tell him it is not a case of balancing the ledger, God wants to wipe the slate clean. Jesus died so that He can forgive you, He can give you peace.

“When your former wife came,” she would say to him, “my guess is that you would have said sorry. I’m sorry for everything I did to hurt you. I’m sorry for everybody I tried to turn against you. I’m sorry I was so full of myself that I never had time for you and the children.”

She imagined his quirky smile at her boldness. He would nod and agree.

“Say the same things to God,” she would urge him. “Tell God you are sorry for everything you did to hurt Him. You are sorry for everyone you tried to turn against Him. You are sorry you were so full of yourself that you never had time for Him.”

Lucy’s cleaning was finished. She knew she had to take her chance now, before it was too late. She saw Karl and his wife move slowly out to the patio where they would sit for an hour before his afternoon rest. She would go and respectfully ask if she could talk with them.

“Give me courage, Lord,” she prayed. She thought of the servant girl of Naaman’s wife, who could tell her master where he could get healing from his leprosy. “I may be just a junior staff member in this household, but I have the living God within me, and I know His peace. Help me, Lord.”

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This article has been read 275 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Darleen Coon02/09/13
Wow! If a simple servant girl could be courageous enough to witness to her employer, what is stopping the rest of us? Thanks for the great example.
Catherine Craig 02/10/13
The title drew me in. Should have known it was evangelical (LOL). Inspiring piece. Might want to watch some slight redundancy.
Jan Ackerson 02/12/13
I LOVED that you left it where you did--with Lucy's intention to act--rather than giving us the actual conversation with her dying employer. You trusted your own strong writing and your intelligent readers to end the story appropriately. This is a great skill to master when you've only got 750 words. Very well done.
C D Swanson 02/13/13
Great job with the topic. Thanks. God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/14/13
Congratulations on your HC and for ranking 24 overall!