Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)
TITLE: Just a Lark?
By Patty Wysong
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Sammy clapped his little hands. “Cookies, Mommy.”
With arms were full of groceries, she started for the kitchen door, a jabbering Sammy at her side.
The voice startled her so much she tripped over the broken sidewalk and landed in the grass. Even with all facial features in deep shadow Dana knew who was on the roof looking down at her: Seth, her high school sweetheart. Of all the people in the world, why was Seth on Grandpa's roof?
“Sit tight, Dana, I'll be right there.” Seth disappeared from view and Sammy's precious face appeared.
Sammy's question pulled Dana back into the present and she quickly got to her feet, just as Seth rounded the corner.
“Dana, are you ok?”
“I'm fine, Seth.” Dana bent to gather her scattered groceries as well as her scattered thoughts. When she reached for the butter Seth grabbed her hand--her left hand-- and looked from her empty ring finger to her eyes. Dana pulled her hand away and stood up.
“What happened?” Seth quietly asked, his hand on the kitchen door.
Dana quickly glanced at Sammy. “I was just a lark with an unwanted complication, the consequences of turning my back on God. Not all of us have happy endings.” She looked pointedly at Seth's left hand and stopped in surprise. The wedding ring she'd heard about, and expected to see, wasn't there.
“Not all of us have happy endings. Two weeks before the wedding she dumped me.”
“Oh, Seth, I'm sorry.”
“I'm not.” Seth smiled as he opened the door and watched Sammy race through, calling for his great grandfather. “So, are you home now?”
Dana smiled for the first time. “Yeah. I'm home--no more wandering for me. I learned and I have no desire to go back. How about you?”
“I got back Saturday. Your grandfather asked me to fix the roof as soon as I could, so here I am.” Seth settled into a chair, just as he had so many times during high school. “It's good to be home,” he sighed.
Dana smiled. “I'll let Grandpa know you're in.” After telling Grandpa she busied herself in other parts of the house until she heard Seth leave.
The next morning Dana eased down the creaky staircase, hoping for a few minutes before Sammy woke up. She flipped on the light and stifled a screech. Seth was sitting at the table sipping a glass of iced tea.
Dana glared at him. “Isn't this called 'breaking and entering?'”
Seth grinned. “Not when you know where the key's been kept for the past 15 years.”
Dana started the coffee, doing her best to ignore Seth, but knowing it was impossible. He followed her to the pantry and physically turned her around, keeping his hands on her shoulders.
“Marry me, Dana.”
Dana's mouth dropped open. “What? Are you crazy, Seth? We haven't seen each other in ten years!”
“And after ten years I still love you. Marry me.”
“I'm not who I used to be.”
“I know you're not. Marry me.”
Dana couldn't believe it. “I have a son, Seth, and I wasn't ever married.”
“I'm not throwing stones, Dana. You said yourself that you turned from God, made some bad choices and learned some hard lessons. You've repented and returned to God. You're forgiven, Dana. Marry me.” Seth still held her by her shoulders, but when the tears started he tried pulling her into his arms. “It's time to forgive yourself.”
Dana ducked away and put the table between them. “I have forgiven myself. Go away, Seth.”
“Why? I love you and I won't let you leave again.” Seth circled the table.
“I won't ever get married, that's why.” Dana circled away from Seth. “I had my chance and I blew it.”
“God's forgiven you, Dana.”
“Yes, I'm forgiven, but I won't ask God for that.”
“He hears the cries of your heart.”
Dana sank into a chair, stunned.
Seth knelt in front of her. “He heard the cries of my heart when I thought you were lost to me and He heard the cries of your heart when you were hurting too much to voice the prayers, Dana. Marry me. Please.”
And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27 (New American Standard Bible)
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