Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Escape (01/02/06)
TITLE: Escape To God
By Mary Lang
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Psalm 62: 6-7 Only in God be at rest, my soul, for from him comes my hope. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold: I shall not be disturbed.
Amy Jahns watched her husband plop into his recliner in front of the television. She slammed the kitchen cupboard door and had to duck under it when it bounced back at her. “Oh God! I’m losing it,” she moaned.
She heard a fit of coughing then Alan’s voice slur above the buzz of football on television. “Wha’s that? Are ya okay?”
Amy held her breath just in case he came in, although she knew it was not likely, she just didn’t want to face him. He was glued to Monday night football clutching a glass of whiskey and cola even though he had a horrific cold. She wondered how much of that drink she’d have to wipe up later.
She let out her hot breath. After preparing dinner for him and their two children; a dinner he always just picked at, she did dishes, while he doctored his cola and fled into TV land. This had become their nightly routine ever since his breakdown when he walked off his job nearly three years ago. Drinking numbed his shattered ego and feelings of inadequacy. Drinking helped him escape the reality of life but left Amy to deal with it alone.
”I’ve got to go to work again,” she called, wondering for a moment what thoughts, if any, were rolling around in his head. “I’ve got the evening shift. Be back around 10:30 p.m.”
Then she added, “Jenna will pick Andy up from basketball practice when she’s finished at Taylor’s Electronics. They’ll be home around 9:15 p.m.” She didn’t want him anywhere near a car.
Amy was thankful that 18-year old Jenna had become so responsible. She knew Jenna would get her 13-year old brother home and make sure he finished his homework, because by then Alan would be sleeping off his evening’s work.
Amy worked two jobs to keep the family’s finances afloat, and felt trapped in her marriage. She needed relief; prayed for change. She understood why Alan became depressed, but resented Alan’s lack of contribution, financial or otherwise. She considered filing bankruptcy and leaving with the kids; then he found work. It didn’t pay much, but it was helping him rebuild his confidence.
Her therapist counseled her to leave. “You’ve got to do what works for you. You can’t be responsible for someone who won’t help himself. For your peace of mind, your health and your family you need separation.”
Though he was sympathetic, her parish priest told her the opposite. “How hard it must be for you: Two jobs and a family. Maybe you can get Alan in to counseling before you make any decisions. You’ve got to remember the wedding vows you made before God. These can’t be taken lightly.”
Counseling had thrown Amy into a conflict from which she saw no earthly escape. She had received contradicting advice from respected counselors in the community and no longer sought their or anyone’s guidance. She kept her pain to herself, struggling with love turned bitter. Night after sleepless night she wondered where life was taking her.
In desperation she called out, “Where are you God? Can’t you see me struggling? Don’t you even care? Do you see me here? I’m driving to a second job when the kids need me at home. I’ve been doing this for over a year; can’t you see that I’m bone tired?”
At 9:40 p.m. the phone rang at the hotel desk where Amy worked. Before she could utter a sound she heard Jenna. “Mom? Mom is that you? I …Mom, I called the ambulance! Dad was lying on the floor! They took him to the hospital. Mom, they don’t think he’s going to make it!” Jenna was sobbing.
Amy breathed deeply to steady herself, and then soothed Jenna, “Honey, you did the right thing. Please… just stay with Andy. I’ll call you as soon as I find out what happened to Dad.”
Steeling her heart to bear any news, Amy began her drive to the hospital. Somewhere along the way she felt her heart soften as a serene presence enfolded her. She felt God hold her and knew He had a plan for Alan and her family. If Alan escaped death’s grip, this was God’s way of getting Alan’s attention. No matter what happened at the hospital, God was answering her prayers in His way.
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