Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Book Store/Library (06/03/10)
TITLE: The Bride's Journal
By Brenda Shipman
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Ruth sat behind the desk and pondered what to do next. The Friends of the Library bookstore was quiet this morning.
Ever since John’s death over a year ago, she’d felt lost. No more hiking trails together, no more reading books aloud to each other, no more of a lot of things. The quiet emptiness had been sudden and complete, like the abrupt end of a long glorious summer. Now here she was, dreading the winter years alone.
She filled most of her days with quilting, but after awhile, the loneliness was just too much. Several of her friends volunteered here at the bookstore and encouraged her to do the same. She had to admit, it was sort of fun. She loved helping people find just the right book or author, and sorting through all the boxes of donations. During the quiet moments, like this one, she loved to browse through the shelves herself.
The doorbell tinkled and Ruth looked up to see a middle-aged man struggle through the door with a huge box of books.
“Hi there, you taking donations today?” he asked.
Ruth perked up. “You bet, we’re always taking donations. Would you mind putting it on the table in the backroom? Looks pretty heavy; whatcha got there?”
“These were my mom’s books. She passed away a couple weeks ago.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Ruth said.
“Thanks, I appreciate that,” the man replied. “Mom was quite the book addict, and she loved shopping here at Friends, so I figured she’d like for you guys to have these. I hope you can find good homes for them.”
Ruth’s eyes welled with compassion. “I’ll do everything I can to make sure that happens, honey. Thanks so much.”
The man left and Ruth wandered to the backroom. She picked up the first book in the box, “Hiking Trails of Arizona.” Hmm, so she liked to hike, that’s neat.
Next book, “Machine Quilting for Beginners.” Ahh, a quilter. She was beginning to like this lady.
She dug deeper and spotted a leather-bound volume with the word Journal inscribed on the cover. Ruth hesitated. Maybe she should try to find the son and make sure he got this back. She opened the cover to the title page:
My Daily Inspirational Journal
By Joy Bausch
First entry: “Ed and I enjoyed a long hike today in Miller Canyon. Thank you, God, for my wonderful companion, and for all the beautiful creation we saw today – the work of your artistic hands.”
They loved to hike, just like she and John. She flipped through the journal, stopped midway and read again:
“It’s been a good day, and I am so tired. Ed and I read together for a long time tonight, we could hardly put the book down, it’s so good. Don’t know what I’d do if Ed didn’t love books as much as I do. Thank you for books, God, for words, and especially for your Word. I love you. Goodnight.”
Ruth’s heart ached as she recalled the many books that she and John had shared together. How she missed that part of her life – how she missed him.
Ruth turned the pages of the journal until one entry caught her eye:
“Ed is sick, Lord, really sick. The doctors say its pancreatic cancer, and it’s metastasized. I cannot believe this. Please spare us this road, God, please…not this.”
More pages, more entries, Ruth could not stop.
“Oh God, we buried Ed today. My husband, your child, is now resting safely and joyously in your arms. I don’t think I could bear it without this assurance. Please hold him closely for me, Lord. And please tell him how much I am missing him already.”
Tears began to flow down Ruth’s cheeks. She kept reading, entry after entry…until finally…
“For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One...” Isaiah 54:5
“Oh Lord, thank you for being my husband during these lonely days. You created me, redeemed me, wooed me to Yourself as your bride, and I just want you to know I adore you. I am so glad I have you as my companion during these winter years of my life.”
Ruth closed the journal and sighed. She took a five-dollar bill out of her purse, put it in the cash register and settled back in her chair to read some more…about this Husband.
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