“Yep,” Doc drawled with his west Texas accent. “It’s a break.”
I moaned, but not as loudly as Aliece, my 15 year-old.
“No!” she squealed. “Softball season’s starting and I’m—“
“Sitting this one out.” The doctor’s tone was flat, final.
Aliece looked at me, tears in her dark eyes. “Let’s see God work this out for His good!” Her anger spilled over into tears. “I know I’m supposed to be on the team! I’m one of the only Christians! I know God wants me out there! I’ve worked so hard! What am I going to do?”
“You’re not out forever…” I said. I wasn’t much of a comfort.
“It’s been my observation,” Doc cut in, catching my eye, “that sometimes seeds we plant need time to take root. Sometimes we need to sow in a new spot for a while.” This was not our first visit to the orthopedist. Aliece’s older brother was a frequent patient during football and track seasons. Doc attended our church and had been Aliece’s Sunday school teacher.
Aliece looked up at him. “What?” She sounded almost hateful.
“Sometimes those seeds we’ve been tossing out need to germinate, Aliece,” Doc drawled. “Could be God’s going to use this time to let that happen. Or, could be, He’s opening up a new field for you.”
I didn’t think Aliece really heard him. Through casting, crutching and crying I didn’t think she had time. But on the way home she looked at me, some of the sullenness gone from her beautiful face.
“What new field might it be?”
I wanted to smile. “I don’t know,” I said. “I think God will use something you’re already interested in. What have you thought about doing besides sports?”
Aliece thought. “Play try-outs are coming up. I might like that. I like to sing, and it’s a musical…I’d thought about that, but knew it would interfere with softball.”
“You might want to think again.”
Three days later she crutched into my room, smiling brightly for the first time that week. “I made it!”
I felt my face light up. “What part?”
“I get to be July, the orphan who takes up for Molly…you know which one I mean? And Tara got the part of Annie! This is going to be so great! There are four kids from church on the crew and two of us in the cast! But I have to have this cast off—“ she tapped the bright pink monstrosity on her ankle, “—enough ahead of time to learn the dances. You think I will?”
The next few weeks were like sound bites of her, caught in between school and rehearsals.
“Mom, Tara and I are going to start a Bible study at Wednesday lunch for the cast and crew! Isn’t that neat?”
“Mom! I learned the dances even in the cast! They’re easy!”
“Mom! Bobby says he might come to church with us on Sunday! He’s the guy that plays Daddy Warbucks! Cool, huh?”
And on Sunday:
“Mom, did you see the boy that went forward this morning to accept Jesus? That was him! That was Bobby! I almost cried!”
And before we knew it, ankle cast gone, came costumes, hair and make-up, dress rehearsals and opening night.
I had watched dance steps, helped read lines and taken photos of each moment. I felt like one of the gang. “Break a leg,” I told Aliece as she stepped out of the car for her final night as July.
She laughed. “Why would I do that, Mom? Think God has a new field for me to plow?”
I laughed. “Could be.”
“Well, then, I’ll be ready. For sports or drama or whatever else He might need. But no need for crutches, right?”
She leaned across the seat and kissed my cheek. “God is something else,” she said. “When we learned that verse that says we’re His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that He prepared in advance for us…I always thought I knew what kind of workmanship I was…that I knew exactly where God wanted me to be. But, Mom, God has all kinds of work for me, doesn’t He—all kinds?”
I nodded. “How’d you get so smart?”
“School of bad breaks.”
I smiled. “Good job kiddo.”
“Yeah. One day they might even make a musical about me!”
I watched her jog toward some of the other cast members. She turned and waved.
“Maybe they will,” I thought. “Maybe they will.”
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