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Quickly closing the door he removed his coat that was soaked through from the rain. The chill from his wet clothes sent a shudder through his spine. Jerry unsuccessfully attempted to block out the fury and chill of the late winter storm that battered incessantly outside his small two-bedroom home. The wind had been blowing steady for three days with occasional squalls of thunderstorms piercing through the steady howl with sporadic claps of thunder. The skies were so dark that they swallowed any light. Night turned to day and back to night without fanfare or daily celebration of sunrise or sunset. Gloom had descended both on his home in Maine and in his heart. This one venture out into the dark tempest was to retrieve a flashlight from the car. Power had failed during the last round of thunderstorms and the promise of a long dark night held fast.
The only thing that darkened his heart more than the storm was the memory of the argument he had had with his boss three days earlier. The acidic tang of that quarrel still lingered in his throat. His thoughts never strayed far from the repeating litany of things that he could have said or should have done. There was a laundry list of mistakes. Should he have stormed out of the office, slamming the door? No, but wasn't he right in his refusal? Can't they see how wrong they are? The song looped endlessly on, never missing a beat and always matching the timbre of the violent storm outside.
He had quit. He would never go back. He doubted that he would be missed; his new boss with his new fangled ideas. He was changing everything. Nothing was as it once was. But this was the last straw. That clothing line had always been their top seller. It was a line that Jerry, himself, had introduced 15 years earlier. And now they were getting rid of it. The company was moving in new directions and his product was being left behind. They had offered him an opportunity working with a new product but what did he know about sportswear? Flannel shirts – that is all he had ever known. Now they were talking spandex and Kevlar. What are these things? Are they really fabrics? Why did he care, anyway? He had quit. Finished. He was never going back.
Then there came a knock, barely audible over the crashing sounds of the storm. As he opened the door, laughter broke through the din. His flashlight cut through the darkness to reveal the faces of his boss and three co-workers. They trudged into his house laughing and patting each other on the back. The storm seemed lifeless in their midst. Their bright colored jackets seemed immune to the saturating potential of the driven rain. It was the new material; bright, light and rain repellant. They even looked warm.
"Jerry, where have you been?" his boss crowed. "I have been calling you all day. The bid came in. We got the contract. It seems that this storm gave them a good test opportunity and "Mystic Fabric" was the only one to hold up. You said you wanted proof and here it is. We came to take you back to work. We need your help bringing this new line into production."
Jerry stood with the door still open as the layers of pain and doubt slowly sloughed to the floor. They were right after all. The old clothing line would have never stood the test.
Abba: Every where we look we find your grace breaking through the walls of doubt and fear that we have erected. These walls begin as a harmless step into righteousness and end up as thick solid barriers to leading the lives you are calling us to lead. We become imprisoned and we purposely cloister ourselves into secluded upper rooms. We fear tomorrow and we wonder how we should proceed with our lives. And then, suddenly, you break down our walls by sending the Holy Spirit into our lives. You lead us into the light. You provide the proof we need to move forward. Our faith becomes emboldened. When we turn to you we find that anything is possible through your authority and our fears are erased. With this understanding in our hearts we shout out songs of praise. We praise you with tambourine, lyre, and loud clashing cymbals. Our lives resonate with your love. Let our praise for you fill the earth. This we pray through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.
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