Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Lock (03/06/06)
TITLE: The Locking of the Lock
By Sue Goodreau
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"NO!" I wailed, pushing back my long, blonde hair. I stared, unable to believe what I was seeing.
I had slammed one of those curly, golden locks in the locked door.
"This isn't happening," I groaned, pulling on my hair. It didn't budge.
"Do you know how many things I have to do today?" I complained to the door. "Now, LET GO!"
For the next ten minutes, the door and I had a duel of strength and cunning. I tried pulling the lock out all at once, tugging on smaller strands, and yanking it up and down. Nothing worked.
Defeated, I stood shivering in the frigid winter air. I scowled at my car which sat idling in the driveway, house keys hanging from the ignition.
"I can't believe this, Lord!" I shouted. "This is ridiculous! I am stuck, cold, and utterly humiliated. HELP!"
Instantly, my eye caught a movement in the window of the house next door. There she was again, staring at me with big eyes.
It was Nosey Neighbor.
I quickly looked away. "Lord," I whispered, "I hope this isn't the answer to my prayer. Couldn't you just make the door open or cause my hair to fall out-- ANYTHING besides being rescued by Nosey Neighbor."
But the door stayed closed and my hair stayed in. The Lord had spoken.
Nosey Neighbor's real name was Mrs. Edith Palmer. We had dubbed her Nosey Neighbor shortly after we moved into our house last year. Although we barely knew her, she seemed to spend a lot of time watching us from her second story window. Barbeques, backyard games, car washings, and even gardening brought her nose to the glass as she scrutinized our every move. We found it irritating, and when one of the children commented on the nosey neighbor, the name stuck.
Reluctantly, I looked up at Nosey Neighbor and waved my hands. She disappeared from the window and reappeared on the front porch.
“Nos... I mean, Mrs. Palmer,” I shouted, “Could you help me?”
As she made her way down the steps, I realized how mortified I was to be found in such a "dumb blonde" situation. Maybe I could bite through my hair before she got here.
“Can I help you?”
Spitting out a mouthful of hair, I turned around. There was no escape now.
“Mrs. Palmer, you won’t believe this, but I’ve locked a lock in the door.”
“You did what?” inquired Mrs. Palmer, clearly confused.
Motioning her to the porch, I showed her my captive tress.
“If you’ll just retrieve my keys from the car, I’ll have myself out in a jiffy.”
A few minutes later I was free. I looked at Nosey Neighbor, knowing that the polite thing to do was to invite her in for some snooping, I mean tea. As I led her to the kitchen, I briefly wondered what God was doing.
Sipping our tea at the table, Nosey Neighbor looked at me with those big eyes. As she cleared her throat to speak, I prepared for a lecture.
“You have a nice family,” she said quietly.
I was surprised by her words and equally surprised by the sadness in her eyes. I hadn’t noticed before-- then again, you can’t really see people by looking at them through a second story window.
“I have four children, you know, all grown up with families of their own. My husband died four years ago. We all used to play and laugh like you do. Oh my, we had such fun!”
I unabashedly gaped at her. “Where are your children now?” I asked.
“Oh, they have their own lives. I don’t see them much.” As her gaze met mine, my heart was seared by the pain of loneliness and longing.
“That’s why you watch us,“ I whispered. God, in His way, had used this humiliating experience to humble me. I hung my head, ashamed that I had misjudged her and barred her from our lives and hearts.
Mrs. Palmer seemed to know my thoughts. "How many people can say that God used their locked lock to unlock a door?"
"Not many," I said as we refilled our cups and laughed easily together.
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