Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN (04/13/17)
- TITLE: No One Calls Me Annie Anymore
By Ann Sullivan
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It was April when we first met; accident number one. Our president hired him as the salesperson to replace my temporary position. I was ordered to train him – accident number two. He held out his hand with those deep brown eyes over a beautiful smile, “Hi, I’m Paul. Does anyone call you Annie?”
“No!” I hated him again.
Everything came easy as if an ordination of success and favor foreshadowed him. He used my marketing techniques, my product launches and eventually was blessed with my clients reducing me to his support person and I prayed, please God, I know you told me to forgive him, but I am counting on you for vindication and revenge.
Accident number three came years later when I unlocked the office door and heard the unmistakable blubber of grief. Paul sat at his desk with red-rimmed eyes and rumpled clothes and I knew his wife had thrown the faithless husband from the nest. Accident number four followed at that moment. God softened my heart and said, “Pray for him.”
For the next two years I prayed, “Please God, save Paul and bring him peace.” I prayed through his divorce. I prayed through his drinking. I prayed through his missed appointments with clients and I prayed as clients began to leave him.
Accident number five came when Paul confided in me hoping for solace. We went to lunch for our April birthdays. After that lunches became a habit. He poured out his pain and guilt like a penitent at confession, and I listened as a mother to a child. We didn’t foresee we would care for each other, and the more I prayed the more I cared. Then, one day he said, “OK Annie, tell me about your God.”
I realized none of this was an accident. This is what God had planned from our first meeting. I told him about a young mother sitting on a front porch crying out to the night because her husband was with his girlfriend. I told him she challenged God to prove that he loved her. I told him how God answered with Isaiah 62 "My delight is in her, for the Lord delights in you". I told him that God loved him too, so much that Jesus died for him, and Paul believed.
He was leaving the next day for a weekend golf trip with his buddies but made a date with me for a romantic dinner when he returned. I was thrilled. Accident number six happened on his last day of golf. While hitting a perfect shot from the 9th hole sand-trap, Paul died from a massive heart attack.
I railed against God, “Who do you think you are? Why, why save him, and then take him from me, why?” I screamed. God answered me, “For two years you prayed that I would save him and bring him peace. I did both.” Accident number seven was when I believed Paul belonged to me instead of understanding he always belonged to God.
Paul died in April and was buried with no marker, just a small concrete stone with the number 369 indicating the plot. I lay flowers on plot number 369 to celebrate his two birthdays – both in April.
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