Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)
- TITLE: C'est La Vie
By Marilee Alvey
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Claire walked up to the gate agent, passport in hand. “Hi. I’m a D-2 traveler going to Chicago and on to Paris, France.”
“Well, I’d say you won the jackpot today,” the agent replied, cynically. “We have a pretty full flight this evening. Take a seat. I’ll let you know.”
Claire went back and sat next to her husband.
“Did you get a ticket?”
“Not yet. Oh, I really hope I get on, Dan. It’s been a year since we went anywhere together. I think it’s so cool that we’ll get a night and a day in Chicago before we fly out.”
“I know,” he said, his mind momentarily focused on the revisions he’d need to do at O’Hare. Turning toward her, he took her hand in his. “I’m really looking forward to it. When you go with me, it doesn’t seem like work at all.”
“I’ve got it all planned out,” she said in hushed tones. “You know, we have to kiss underneath the Eiffel Tower.”
“Mais oui,” Dan assured her.
“ Then, let’s walk down the Champs-Elysees at night, with those antique street lights glowing, eating crepes filled with chocolate Nutella. Mmm….” The gate agent gestured for her to approach the counter.
“Yes?” she said, hopefully.
“I’m sorry. There’s no room for you.”
“I can take the jumpseat,” Dan said, jumping to his feet.
“Sir, you’ll have to, but we are in an overweight situation. Too much baggage and a full tank on a hot day.”
He had to board quickly. Dan looked at Claire, stricken. “Honey, I am SO sorry.”
“Never mind, Dan. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be okay,” she assured him with as much bravado as she could muster. One quick kiss and he was off to excitement, but, for Claire, the street lights of Paris had just gone out, one by agonizing one.
Defeated, she slowly rolled her suitcase into the parking lot. The summer sun felt as if it were searing her black blouse into her back. Sweat began to run down her face, mixing with the tears.
God, I’m probably going to pout for the next two hours. Please forgive me. You’ve blessed me so much, but, right now, I just feel pouty. Pulling her suitcase from the car, she thought, Au revoir, Ooh La La. Hello, housework. She ran inside quickly to beat the answering machine to the ringing phone.
“Claire, this is Julie. This is probably the craziest thing you’ve ever heard, but we’ve been in North Carolina all week and are about to board the plane for home. I wanted to call and ask you if maybe we could go to that new mall together, you, me, John, and your godsons. I really want some new patio furniture and you’ve got such good taste. I know it’s an hour away, but, afterwards I thought that we might all go to that new Mexican restaurant you took me to last time we went.”
“Oh, Julie, I’d love to!”
“Well, I know it sounds pretty stupid, me calling you from North Carolina, just for that, but I wanted to reserve some time with you before you got your day filled up. How about we pick you up at 10AM?”
“Julie,” Claire said, “You have no idea the joy you’ve given me.”
“I’ll fill you in later. See you tomorrow!”
People would never believe it: that she could be joyful going to a mall and eating at a Mexican restaurant when she’d been so close to going to Paris. Claire saw God’s hand in the entire episode, and, as she hung up the phone, she felt not only loved, but excited about this new adventure. How is that possible? It was then she remembered Paul’s passage in Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.”
Joy isn’t in a place. It’s in people, Claire thought. As she slipped under the pale green sheets, she knew in her heart that joy would, indeed, come in the morning.
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