Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)
TITLE: Never Say Goodbye
By Sandra Petersen
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She sighed as she glanced about the tiny two room apartment and stooped to pick up her small suitcase.
“Goodbye,” she whispered into the quiet of the room. She opened the front door and gently shut it behind her.
She paused for a second. Was she making the right decision?
She was sure this was the Lord’s leading, but the things and people she would be leaving behind tugged at her emotions. Like Paul, who stood at the bottom of the steps gazing up at her.
Amy set her jaw in determination.
“Good morning, Paul.”
She tried to smile. This was, after all, the man with which she had been planning to spend a lifetime. The one who once seemed to match her passion for working in the Lord’s harvest field.
He had not changed; the Lord had changed her. She wished the Lord had cooled her feelings toward Paul at the same time. He did not deserve to be treated this way.
“Ready to go?” His hazel eyes searched her face for hesitation.
Why did he have to look at her that way? Didn’t he know that she wavered on the edge of abandoning this call?
She gripped her satchel even tighter and descended the stairs.
“Yes, I am.”
Paul took her bag and slid his arm around her waist as they left the apartment building.
“Did you sleep well?” he asked as she seated herself in the passenger’s side of his VW Beetle.
Should she tell him the truth? She was still weary from the burden that had kept her on her knees in prayer all night. He knew her too well. She could not lie to him.
“Me neither.” He slipped the car into gear and pulled from the curb.
Amy stared at the passing city sights, afraid to gaze at Paul’s face lest her courage fail her.
She thought about his delighted little-boy grin when she said “yes” to his marriage proposal. Then they attended the missions conference at the college and the Lord whispered to Amy’s heart. She remembered his hurt expression when she told him about it, and longed to take back the words.
She dared a glance at his profile. Frowning as he maneuvered through the traffic, he seemed to be in silent prayer.
Her eyes pooled with tears and she turned back to the window.
“You haven’t changed your mind?” he asked moments later.
“Paul, I can’t,” she murmured. “You know that.”
He parked the VW in the furthest lot from the airport terminal. Turning to Amy, he clasped both of her hands.
“Look at me, Amy,” he pleaded. “Please?”
When she did, she was startled by two tears trickling down his face. Her resolve began to waver again.
He lifted one hand to her cheek, tracing stray tears spilling from Amy’s own eyes.
“On the way here, I was praying for God to release you from the promise you made Him.” He swallowed hard. “The Lord told me I must not hinder you. He has a plan for you in India, and it doesn’t include me.”
“I don’t know what to say, ” Amy whispered. She cradled his hand against her face. For a moment Paul gazed into her eyes, and then pulled back.
Getting out of the car, he opened Amy’s door and lifted her suitcase from the back seat. “You’ll miss your plane,” he mumbled.
Hand in hand, they walked across the parking lot toward the main terminal. She checked her bag and the couple found seats in a quiet section of the lobby. As Amy and Paul waited for the boarding announcement that would separate them for life, they clung tightly to their last minutes together.
The call to board the plane came too soon. They embraced, reluctant to separate. Then Paul kissed the top of Amy’s head and released her.
“I guess this is goodbye,” he said, his voice husky with emotion.
“Paul,” she murmured, her lower lip trembling. “Christians never say goodbye. We’ll see each other again.”
She took her place in the boarding line, glancing back at Paul several times. He mouthed the words “I love you” before she disappeared through the door.
As her plane rose into the azure sky, Amy thought she glimpsed a lone figure trudging to a solitary car in the furthest parking lot from the terminal.
Matthew 10:38-39 And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life shall lose it. And he who loses his life for My sake shall find it.
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