Across the floor of time, the dominoes of our lives are lined up with solder-like precision. To some life is only a game, but to God those tiles are part of an intricate design, a carefully crafted fulfillment of events. Each is perfectly balanced, placed in precise relationship with every other event. Without interference, the pattern is flawless. Each line, each tile, creates a masterful symmetry. But one wrong move and …
Just this once Dave didn’t go in to work. He needed a day off and besides, he was the boss. Let the hired help do their thing.
I’ll go for a walk, get some fresh air, smell the flowers, take my Bible and read in the garden.
He didn’t get any farther than the kitchen window.
Whoa, would you look at that!
And somewhere in the deepest part of Dave’s mind a finger reached out to touch the first domino in the line.
His kitchen window faced its twin in the house next door. Beth, his neighbor and wife to one of his salesmen, was washing her hair in her kitchen sink. Dave stopped to watch. Her fingers worked rhythmically through the golden tresses turned bronze, burnished by soap and water. She had taken off her shirt so that it wouldn’t get wet. Her shoulder and arm muscles rippled smoothly and firmly as she worked, the skin tanned from long hot summer days. Beth finished her task and grabbed a towel from somewhere beside her. She began to dry her hair and as she lifted her head her eyes met Dave’s. She was startled, her mouth making a little “O” shape as her mind fleshed out the image of the man who shouldn’t be there. Neither moved; she, because she had been taken by surprise and Dave, because he didn’t want to.
Wave and walk away. Wave and run away.
But he didn’t. He left his Bible on the kitchen counter and opened the door that led out into the easement area between the houses. The dominos began to fall, each one gently touching another, flowing relentlessly to their final resting place. It wasn’t until much later that Dave heard their sound.
“Uh, hi, Beth. How are you?”
“That’s what I have to talk to you about — how I am. I don’t know how to say it gently, so I’ll just say it. I’m pregnant.”
“What? Are you sure?”
“I wouldn’t be calling you otherwise, would I? Listen, Yuri’s going to know that it isn’t his and …”
“Wait a minute. What are you saying?”
“You know what I saying. Yuri was away a lot around … well, the time we were together. Besides, he’s put in so much overtime for you at work that he’s been too tired for me. He’ll know. What are we going to do?”
That question kept Dave awake at night. The answers kept him preoccupied during the day.
“Hey, Yuri! How are you, man? You know, I feel really badly. You’ve been slaving away day and night for me for so long now. How about you take a couple of weeks on the company and go on vacation? Relax, go fishing, spend some quality time with the wife.”
It didn’t work. The tiles fell, now closer than ever to the end of the line.
I’ll assign Yuri to the construction crew on one of the company’s job sites under the pretext of giving him a broader view of how things work. He’ll think he’s getting a promotion. He’s clumsy. Maybe something will fall on him, or he’ll get run over by a cement truck.
The dominoes slowed as they started around a sharp curve, but just as they were about to start their final run, the last one to fall got hung up.
Oh Lord, here I am actually planning how to kill someone — me, that supposedly fine Christian, that moral pillar supporting the community! What am I thinking? One afternoon of giving in to an urge and I’ve ruined everything.
Dave took another day off. This time he made it to the garden. His knees left a mark in the soft soil where he knelt in prayer. His plea for forgiveness sealed the hole that his thoughts and actions had dug in his heart. And, as Dave got to his feet and headed toward Yuri’s house, God began to readjust the design of all the lines of dominoes touched by his one afternoon looking for fulfillment in the wrong window.
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