Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)
TITLE: The 'have to' Solution
By Pat Guy
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Rosemary’s thoughts were jolted to a halt when the phone rang. ‘Let it ring – I don’t care.’ she grumbled as she plopped down in her worn-out office chair.
The answering machine kicked in, ‘Okay Rosie, pick up. I know you’re listening.’
Rosie grabbed the phone and sighed her most pitiful sigh. ‘Whatcha want Josie?’
‘Hey? What’s up? You sound a little down.’
She sighed again as she booted up the computer. ‘Oh … just having a pity-party by myself today.’
‘So … what’s going on?’
‘Oh … the same ole stuff.’
‘Josie – it doesn’t seem to make any difference what I do for the kids, or how much I pray. Things just don’t seem to work out for them – or me. I can’t figure it out.’
‘You know …?’
‘Yeah, I know what you’re going to say. I know all that. But it doesn’t help them, or me, right NOW.’ We need something for now.
Rosemary put the phone on speaker and waited for her computer to load up so she could check email and message boards. ‘Josie? I can’t get past this. I don’t know what’s wrong.’
‘Rosie, let me just say this, and hear me out, okay?’
Crossing her arms, she swiveled to look out her window noticing a squirrel barreling through streaks of sunlight under the Sycamore tree. ‘What.’
‘I’ve known you … um … longer than I can remember, right?’
‘I know those twerps of yours.’
‘And I know how much you put into teaching them all they need to know … and then some.’
‘They don’t even go to church Josie. How could they not at least go to church? I’d settled for just Sunday mornings!’
‘They know better though, right?’
‘Yeah, but it sure’s not makin ‘em go.
‘Um … Rosie … I still have more to say here.’
Vaguely aware of the busy squirrel flitting to and from each pool of light, Rosemary closed her eyes, ‘Okay … sorry.’
‘How do your kids know Who to turn to? And …who do they call?’
‘How do they know, Rosie? Did you just happen to pat them on the back before they left and tell them they need to go to church and pray every day?’
‘But Josie … things aren’t right, you know that … and it’s hurting everybody. They need help now … and I can’t help them … only God can, and I don’t know why it’s … well … I can’t get through this wall Josie.
‘Do you have a choice?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Do you have a choice on whether or not you work through that wall? You have no choice Rosie. You have to do, what you have to do. Your family depends on it.’
Silent tears filled her small sanctuary bearing mementos of love and family. ‘I don’t know where to begin anymore.’
‘Yes you do …’
‘It doesn’t seem to make any difference Josie. The pain goes on … for everyone. How did Mom do it?’
‘The same way you’re gonna. You have to – just like she did. She taught us well, huh? She never gave up, did she?’
Rosemary lost sight of the squirrel and looked up to see it resting in a ray of light on a sturdy branch of the old tree.
‘No … she didn’t. So … where do you come off teaching me, sis? Telling me I have to do this and I have to do that? Hold on, here’s an email from Sarah. Which reminds me, Mom could’ve done away with tradition on the names, you know. Josephine and Rosemary? She could’ve rebelled.’
‘Well, at least it’s better than what she ended up with. What does Sarah say? I haven’t heard from her for awhile.’
Rosemary sat silent for a few moments exhaling more frustration.
‘Rosie? What’s wrong? Anything wrong?’
‘Josie, listen to this … ‘Mom, I know it’s been awhile and I’m sorry. Life’s been hectic, but I need a favor. Please pray about something for me. I’ll tell you about it later. Gotta go, love you. Sarah’ … I wonder what’s going on now,? It never ends!’
‘You taught her well.’
‘Thanks Josephine … love you too.’
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