Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: COFFEE BREAK / TEA BREAK (03/01/18)
- TITLE: Non-angel
By Sarah Fehr
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Warmth. Comfort. Familiarity. Relaxation. Acceptance. Tranquility.
I ordered my caramel cappuccino with a squirt of Irish cream, both hands curled around the warm cup as I spirited it gingerly to a corner booth.
I sighed, a release of tension and anxiety, as I unwound my scarf and shrugged out of my coat. This. Was. Exactly. What. I. Needed. The ubiquitous strain of raising children in today’s challenging world, caring for aging parents, holding down a job, and trying to do a good deed or two when time allowed was taking its toll. I felt burnt out.
Lord, how does one keep all these balls in the air at the same time?
Is there more to life than this rat race? Meeting deadlines and fulfilling obligations only to face the next one head-on?
I blew into my cup and then took a careful sip. Still good and hot!
When I was young and single, I had painted my perfect future life with generous and bold strokes. I would pour myself out in the service of my God. I would reserve time to spend with the lost, the lonely, the seeking. It had all seemed romantic then, but at this very moment I felt worn. I rarely had time to volunteer at church functions. Furthermore, my social life was non-existent. Unless you consider attending preadolescent basketball games a social life. Or filling my mom’s pill box every Sunday night.
Where did time go?
“Excuse me,” a gentle voice broke into my thoughts. I glanced up to see a woman about my own age hesitating by my table. “Is there any way I could share this booth with you for a few moments? This place is packed today.” She smiled expectantly.
I don’t feel like being socialable right now, I wanted to reply. Sorry, I’m busy having a pity party - please leave me alone.
“Sure, no problem.” I shuffled my belongings to the inside of the table. “I’m about done anyway.” I glanced at her as she scooted into the booth. Non-descript, yet seeming to possess a kindness about her.
“You know honey, I have a message for you.” She looked me earnestly in the eyes.
“A message? What do you mean? From whom?” I asked, confused. I studied her simple face, noting the crow’s feet around the eyes which mirrored my own.
“Remember, everything that you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord.”
I squirmed, wanting desperately to escape this awkward situation. I recognized the verse from Colossians, but why was this stranger talking to me about the Bible? I gulped my coffee as a distraction and burned the top of my mouth.
“Ug, sorry,” I spluttered. “I guess I sort of ruined the moment. Was that supposed to be some kind of prophecy? Is this one of those stories where an angel is sent to teach me some lesson?”
“And if it were?” She arched one eyebrow. “Would you accept the message?”
“I don’t know…I really have to go.” I made as if to gather up my things.
“Just wait a minute. Think about it. You want to serve the Lord. You want to be a missionary spreading his love. You want to impact lives. How better to do that than to be intentional about caring for your parents? Teaching your children? Supporting your husband? Showing interest in your co-workers’ lives? Is that not God’s work?"
I smiled dubiously. “So do I really get to say that I was visited by an angel with a message from God?”
She stood, pushing her untouched coffee across the table.
“This is for you. Don’t worry, I didn’t drink out of it. And no, I am not an angel. Your husband put me up to this. He thought you might take advice better from a stranger than from your loving husband. Have a good day!”
She winked and sauntered off, back outside into the dreary day that somehow now seemed just the littlest bit brighter.
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