Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Love and Grace (09/11/14)
- TITLE: Next turn Riverwood
By Kon Michailidis
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Once inside, I easily found a park at the front door of a large glass-fronted building with a large 'CAFE' sign.
I stepped up to the main counter inside where a man was sprinkling chocolate on a cappuccino. I ordered the same.
"First time I'm seeing you," the man said.
"Yes," I replied. "You must like it here. It seems such a peaceful place."
"It's a very special place all right. We have so many different people who have come to stay here: Catholics, Orthodox, Jews, Muslims, whatnots, you name it. It's the most international place I know."
"Are there many churches here?" I asked, taking my coffee.
"Heaps," he replied, " all busy, active and well-attended. All good for business too naturally"
He looked at me for a second and asked a bit nervously, "Are you a believer?"
I smiled, gave what I hoped was a reassuring nod and replied "Sure am."
"Then I'll let you into a bit of a secret," he said, "this is the one place where you can be absolutely sure you will soon see the most powerful move of God."
I am afraid I took him for one of those believers who habitually speak in spiritual hyperbole.
"What makes you so sure?" I asked.
"Ha! It is written," he replied, stamping his fist on the counter good-humoredly, as if he was stamping the very words there.
"Right on!" I said, not knowing what to say.
This conversation could have continued for some time but I needed to finish my coffee, find the flowers for my wife and move on.
Tell me please, can I get some nice flowers for my wife here anywhere?"
"What's the occasion? Birthday? Anniversary? " he asked.
"No, I just want to surprise her. I figure that if I only give flowers or gifts on special occasions it can seem less a gift than an obligation - a nice one for sure, but it sort of takes the edge off the giving. Flowers on a special occasion are not really a surprise. Do you know what I mean? Sound strange?"
"Not so strange. You want to make it a special occasion because of the gift, and not give a gift because of the special occasion."
"That's nice. Well, there's a good florist just down the road." he said.
The florist was next to a Greek Orthodox Church. A liturgy was in progress.
I stood outside for a while. I did not understand anything, but then heard the familiar words "Christos Aneste!" and remembered that we were still in the weeks after Easter.
From inside the shop a large, elderly, Greek man wearing a Greek fisherman's cap came towards me,walking between dozens of buckets full of fresh flowers that formed a delicate, colorful rug of petals on either side of him.
"Kalimera! Can I help you?"
"Here we go again," I thought, Greeks always took me for one of them.
I selected two bunches of white hyacinths and asked, "Would you mind combining them into one bunch for me, please?"
"Sure," he replied.
He loosened each bunch and wrapped them in a sheet of silver paper, tied it with a white ribbon and handed it to me.
"Twenty dollars, sir."
I considered it very kind of him to not charge me for the extra wrapping.
"Thank you," I said. I wanted to say 'Efharisto' but resisted in case he thought I really was a Greek who was playing games with him.
I returned to my car and headed out of the city.
Along the road I noticed the name Aaron Feldstein and realised I had now entered the Jewish section. I wondered how long he had been here and how many of his family were with him.
Very soon I was at the exit where a large sign read:
"Thank you for visiting Riverwood Necropolis, the largest cemetery in the Southern Hemisphere. Population: almost one million and growing. Drive carefully."
" I'll be back ... at least for the coffee and flowers," I thought,
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ESV
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