Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Husband and Wife (08/08/14)
- TITLE: Ten And Forty-Seven
By JK Stenger
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Dorothy smiled gently as she stared into the distance, almost as if she could peer into the beyond. “If there is any word to describe my husband, that’s it.
Dorothy was my favorite senior at the nursing home where I worked. Always happy and cheerful, she brought joy to the other residents and to the staff, in spite of having lost her husband three years earlier.
”God knows, I miss him,” her voice broke a little. “But I’m so grateful for all the years we had together. Ten and forty-seven”
“Ten and forty-seven? I don’t understand.”
Her eyes twinkled. “I’ve been married twice to the same man. The first time for ten years. Then I lived with him for another forty-seven”
“Tell me, Dorothy.”
“When we first got married,” she said. “We didn’t know God…”
“…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part…”
As the pastor spoke the words, Leo gazed at his wife with tenderness. He would care for this woman. He would conquer the world for her. No valley too low, no mountain too high…he would make any sacrifice necessary. This woman…so precious, so beautiful and tender. This woman was his wife.
Leo scowled and took another swig of beer. He was tired. Tired of his job, tired of the never-ending stream of bills, tired of his screaming kids and tired of his constantly nagging wife.
Leo, do this…Leo, do that…Didn’t she understand what he had to endure? Wasn’t he the one bringing in the money? He glowered at her in disgust. That woman was his wife.
He should have been home with his wife and kids, but lately he preferred the pub. Hadn’t he the right to time for himself? With a beer in his hand, he felt relaxed. In the pub, he could be a man again.
“Look at her,” whispered his buddy, pointing to the bar. “She just got divorced…”
A stunningly beautiful woman, her long blonde hair flowing in luscious waves, gave Leo an inviting smile.
Leo swallowed hard. That woman…was not his wife.
“Go to church with you?” Leo’s face flashed. “Why would I do such a thing?”
“Our marriage…it’s falling apart, Leo.” His wife gently placed her hands on Leo’s arm, but he pulled away.
“Please Leo, I’ve met Jesus…”
“Nice for you.” Leo spat out the words. “But it’s not for me. I don’t need God and I don’t need you.” He slammed the door shut; finally free. Free from his wife.
“He was gone six months.” Dorothy’s voice quivered as she relived the pain. “I had just found Jesus, and didn’t yet know him very well. Still, I prayed every day for God to heal our broken marriage.”
She stopped and looked at me earnestly. “You see, I really loved my husband. He wasn’t bad, but the pressures of this world got to him and he had no faith to hold on to. But God answered my prayers. He returned crying.”
“’Dorothy,’ he said. ‘I—I’m so very sorry. I’ve been so selfish.’ I could barely understand his words through his sobs.
“‘I have met the Savior too, Dorothy. I felt so lost, so hopeless. But when I cried out to God, something changed. I have been so wrong. Will you forgive me and take me back?’
“I embraced Leo, and we cried in each other’s arms. That day we started our second marriage.”
Dorothy’s face shone as she continued.
“I had been at fault too, of course. But Jesus transformed our selfish hearts and became the guiding light in our lives. No one can do it without help from above. We had our moments of difficulty, but he became the sweetest, humblest man around.”
Her words held me spellbound.
“He died three years ago. When he died, he held my hands and whispered, ‘The angels are here…the angels have come.’ I could barely hear his voice, but then he gave me a beatific smile and murmured, ‘Goodbye, My faithful wife, I’ll be waiting for you on the other side.’ Then he died.”
There were tears in Dorothy’s eyes.
“Ten and forty-seven--a long time. How do I describe my husband? As faithful.”
I gave Dorothy a gentle kiss. The nursing home almost appeared to be a cathedral. What a blessing to work here.
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