Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CALL (01/14/16)
TITLE: This Thing or That
By Jody Day
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She supposed she’d accept the music teacher job at the little country school across the state. Mom and Dad would be happy. Why did it feel like a death sentence? What else was she going to do, anyway? Get a music education degree, and then get a job teaching music. All buttoned up and laid out like a professional five year plan. Except that it wasn’t her plan.
Not that she had one.
She leaned over and looked at her roommate Marie. Passion, excitement, and determination shone in her eyes. Marie couldn’t wait to get into the music classroom. Where was Kathy’s passion?
Dad called what she loved most a hobby. “It’s a great thing to be able to speak a foreign language, Kathy, but when someone is talented on the piano like you, well, you go that direction. You can still go on your mission trips, speak Spanish all you want, but how will that support you? A girl’s got to have something to fall back on.”
Mother thought all missionaries were poor. She had a heart for missions, but didn’t like the idea of her single daughter “traipsing around parts unknown and eking out a living” just because she could speak Spanish.
Kathy had heard it said that your heart is where your mind goes when it wanders. Her mind wandered to the mission field, but somehow she just couldn’t convince her parents. She hadn’t been strong enough to stand up against them because fear wiggled around in her heart that they might be right. If she could just feel a clear tug. Many hours of prayer hadn’t solidified anything for her. She only had the notion to wait.
What did it matter? They were going to call her name in a bit and she’d be headed to her new job in a few weeks. At least not before the graduation trip to Mexico she’d begged for. Her passport had arrived just that week.
The speaker for the commencement address was introduced as a last minute substitute. The female corporate lawyer cancelled last minute, family emergency or something, so the Dean invited his own son to speak.
“This is my son, Mark Carson, a missionary to Ecuador home on furlough. Thanks, Mark, for filling in at the last minute.” The Dean patted his son on the back and took his seat.
“I’m delighted to have this opportunity to speak to this graduating class at my alma mater. My degree was in economics, but a mission trip I took that summer grabbed my heart and sent me in a totally different direction.” His eyes shone with the heart fire that Kathy so desired for herself.
She leaned forward, hanging on every word. The need was great in Ecuador, and workers few. He encouraged the graduates to follow their dreams. “My greatest need is an interpreter. I love the people in my mission, but I’m not great with languages.”
“Kathy Singleton!” she exclaimed, shooting her hand up in the air like an eager fourth grader with the correct answer. Realization of her outburst sent her hand to her mouth. Nervous laughter twittered around her. She dare not look up into the stands at her parents.
Mark Carson hesitated for a moment, looked her way, and then concluded his address. Any thought she had of approaching him vanished as she realized what a spectacle she’d made of herself.
Mom and Dad didn’t mention it when they took pictures afterwards, in fact, they were strangely quite. Embarrassed, no doubt.
Mark Carson approached them. “Are you Kathy?”
She nodded and shook his hand. Dad shook his hand as well.
“I’d like to talk to you about the interpreter thing, if you’re really interested.”
Kathy could only nod again as he handed her his card. They agreed to meet that afternoon. A definite tug, and a crazy kind of joy, formed in her heart.
“Now,” Mark said, “If I could only find a piano player.”
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