Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)
TITLE: Following Love
By Ruth Neilson
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He was a pastor, and his parents couldn’t stand the idea of their brilliant, funny son serving others. He scratched the back of his neck sheepishly as he pulled the gifted RV curbside to his parents’ house. He could almost hear the war of words now. He could only pray that Susanne had the packing done so that there would be a smooth escape.
He sucked in a deep breath and breathed a prayer as he slowly began to walk towards the building that was once his home.
Strings of a conversation filtered through an open window, his mothers shrill voice was slowly overwhelming Susanne’s gentle voice.
Momma was speaking. “I’ve found him a perfectly good job here...”
“That’s not the problem, Mother. In fact we appreciate it. But it’s just time for us to return--”
“To what? A shambled life and a town that has nothing to offer you?”
There was a pause and Charles hesitated. He had never actually been a witness to one of these infamous battles—he had only heard about them later...much later.
“The high school is opening up so I need to be there. And our church has asked Charlie to come back.”
Charles could almost picture his mother’s face turning scarlet, her nostrils flaring in anger.
“How dare you drag Charles back to that forsaken town just for your career?! It’s not going to help him further his own--”
Susanne snorted and Charles smiled in spite of himself, as she continued. “You actually think that that I’m putting my desires before God’s calling on your son’s life? Mother, I love your son and he loves me, but not because I have such a glamorous job teaching in a high school nor because he is a preacher. I love him for who he is.”
Charles held his breath for a long moment as silence filled the air. The birds even seemed to fall silent as Susanne’s voice dropped an octave. “When we got married, we promised each other to be there for better or for worse. The hurricane was possibly the lowest spot we’ve been in as of yet. But, we clung to each other and to God. And now, we’re hearing His voice once again. Mother, it’s time for us to go home.”
Charles took advantage of the lull in the conversation and swiftly entered the house. With an impish skill of a nine year old, he crept down the hallway and plastered himself against the wall to listen some more.
“What home? Your ‘God’ has destroyed everything that you two have ever worked for. At least here, Charles has a job waiting on him that <i>I</i> found for him, which is more than you’ve done.”
Charles blinked several times in confusion. He tried to keep him mouth closed, but the words just tumbled out. “Momma, I appreciate your concern for us, but God has us firmly in His hands.”
Susanne’s smile beamed from across the room at him and Charles found himself sucking in a deep breath as his mother’s face contorted into an all too familiar mask.
“But where will you live? There are no houses down there...” She asked, her voice becoming sugary sweet.
Charles smiled faintly as he nodded once to Susanne to grab her suitcase as he bent down to grab his own. “Momma, God’s blessed us with a RV, equipped beyond our dreams, free of charge. We wanted to make this an easy good-bye...but...” Charles sighed and Susanne picked up. “I don’t see how with you not allowing us to go and follow what God wants us to do.”
Charles took Susanne’s empty hand and simply guided her past his mother and out of the house. Tenderly, he helped her up into their storm battered truck and then climbed up into it himself.
“Did you tell her that we were…?” Charles finally asked, breaking the silence. Susanne shook her head once, resting her hands on her smooth stomach.
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