Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CALENDAR (10/20/16)
TITLE: My Sister--and the Calendar
By Helen Dowd
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“What’s the matter?” I ask. “Why are you staring at the calendar? It is Sunday, October 23, 2016. Today you go to church, as you always do on a Sunday."
She continues to stare at the calendar. Finally I say to her: “Eat your breakfast. You have plenty of time before church. I’m here to watch for your ride. So eat your breakfast, and then relax until church time.”
This isn’t a new scenario. It happens every Sunday and every Tuesday, whenever there is something on for her at the church. Having spent over fifty years as a missionary, she LIVES for church activities. She lives for what the CALENDAR is telling her. But many other things she can’t put into focus.
Whatever has happened to my bright, cheery, intelligent sister? My mind is boggled with the question: How is it that it has happened to her, and not to me?
I become impatient with myself. I tell myself: “God has put me in this position. He is expecting me to honour Him by looking after her. She is God’s great servant. She can’t help it if she forgets what day it is. She can’t help it if she stands and stares at the calendar. Her mind is back—‘way back to days gone by--from childhood to the days she spent in India, in South America, in many other places God directed her to. She can’t help it if she stares at the calendar, wondering…
She stares again at the calendar. “What day is it? What month is it? October? It can’t be. Isn’t it time I was getting ready to go back to India?”
“No,” I answer. “You don’t go back to India anymore. Those days are over. Go sit at your computer and see all the pictures that are there. You can relive those days you spent in India by seeing all your friends that you had while you were there. Wasn’t it nice of Faith to put all your memories on your computer?”
She goes back to the calendar, staring at it again. “What day is it? What month? October? It can’t be. I haven’t had my birthday yet. It should be September. I always booked my ticket for India close to my birthday. I’ve got to get busy and do that. It will be too late soon…” She shuts her eyes… “I remember when we were kids: Dad always cut down the corn stalks and dug potatoes in October. Shouldn’t we be doing that? Shouldn’t we be helping?” She stares again at the calendar.
“No. Dad went to be with Jesus in October many years ago. He won’t be needing to dig potatoes in heaven. He’s there with Mom and all the other friends and family who have gone on before.”
A look of almost panic spreads across her face as she gawks again at the calendar. I could tell she didn’t believe me. So I let her continue to stare at October on the calendar.
I remind her that it would be our brother’s birthday on the last day of the month. That cheered her up a bit.
“Did we send him anything for his birthday?”
“Yes. Don’t you remember? We sent a nice big envelope with all our greetings in it. He will get it long before his birthday. Don’t worry.”
Still confused, and not believing me, she continues to stare at the calendar. Every day this month, it seemed, she went through the same confused routine—staring at the calendar. Why should this month be any different? I don’t know, except that every day, it seems, her mind is more confused.
I go to the calendar: Ten years and six months ago we took my sister into our home, as she could no longer live alone. We have no children. But would she want to move in with us—and our dogs and our cats, and our relaxed way of life? And would we want to have someone--someone who is a perfectionist; someone who is—?
Well, the answer--! I drop the October leaf on the calendar and bow my head in thanks to the Lord for sending to us--my sister, who LOVES the Lord and sets an example to all; my sister who LIVES for going to church; my sister, who LIVES by the CALENDAR.
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