Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: OVERLOAD (10/06/16)
TITLE: Lice and Leaks
By Yvonne Blake
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It had been a horrible month. First her boss cut her already meager hours at the restaurant. Then the mechanic said she needed four new tires before her vehicle could pass inspection. The house needed repairs, and of course, there were the bills: the rent, the electricity, the cell phone, and the insurance. She had to buy food and think about winter, too. Now this.
Tanya scrunched the notice into a ball.
Dear Ms. Sanders,
We need to inform you that your child, Sophie Sanders, has been infected with lice. Please take appropriate actions before sending her back to school.
Lice! That meant buying a special shampoo and daily combing Sophie’s hair, plus washing all the bedding every day, until this plague was conquered. Why does everything happen to me?
“Sophie! Get in the car.” Tonya snapped off the TV. “We’ve got to go to the store and waste our money on some stupid bug medicine for your hair.”
The whole ride was accompanied by Tonya’s tirade of complaints, blaming everyone for her troubles—the school nurse, the mechanic, the ones who make the inspection laws, her boss, her ex-husband, the owners of the pharmacy and the grocery store for their high prices, her parents so being so far away (although she was the one who moved to the other side of country). She even blamed God for not taking care of her.
Thinking about God made her wonder if the church could help her. Tonight was their Bible study and prayer meeting. Maybe she would go and see if they would feel sorry enough for her to help her out.
After scrubbing Sophie with a dose of the acrid shampoo, and combing through her thick curls, she warned her, “Don’t say anything about the lice tonight, and whatever you do, don’t scratch. We want these people to like us.”
It had been years since Tonya had been to church. An older woman with a prim pink dress and sweet smile sat beside her. She sang all the hymns with gusto and helped Tanya find the Scripture they were reading.
The Bible study was actually quite interesting. Tonya never knew all those things about Joseph. He certainly had things pretty bad. She wondered if he got lice while he was in jail. Her head itched just thinking about it, but she resisted the urge to scratch.
Then the pastor asked for prayer requests. Others around the room asked for prayers for sick relatives and travel safety and missionaries. Tonya built up the courage to raise her hand, to explain her horrible predicament, but the woman next to her did it first. “Pray for my son. He had another bad day.” Voices around the room sighed and groaned in sympathy.
Tonya glanced at the woman again. Certainly, her son’s day couldn’t be as bad as mine. She raised her hand. When the pastor acknowledged her, she poured out her woes as pitifully as she could, leaving out the embarrassing part about the lice, of course.
For the next half hour or so, petitions were reverently voiced to heaven. She learned through the prayers that many of these happy people had serious illnesses or no jobs at all. The woman next to her was a recent widow, and her son had cerebral palsy. She couldn’t imagine how hard that would be.
Tonya sat in awe over how many prayed for her—only not in the way she was expecting. They did pray for a better job and new tires, but mostly, they were asking for her to put her trust in God—to let Him carry her burdens. They prayed that she would seek His peace and comfort and wisdom.
That night, as the sound of a steady drip accompanied her tears, she wondered if God knew how to fix a leaky faucet and her leaky life.
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