Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Writer's Life (05/13/10)
- TITLE: Cross Purposes
By Patricia Turner
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“Lord, will a day come that I can be my daughter's mother, and write during daylight hours?”
In the shower a couple of hours later as I thought of what I'd written I shrank from the thought that there was too much hyperbole in describing the woman's hat and wondered if I had a clue where the plot was going. Still, this felt right. Often the words flowed as though through me.
“Will you pick me up early?” asked my daughter an hour later when I deposited her at the daycare before rushing to the office and my first meeting. “I'll be here as soon as I can Pumpkin”, was the best I could manage. This felt completely wrong.
Jack had said he hoped I could finally leave my job by the time Leslie was in kindergarten. So far, our expenses, including a new car and a larger house weren't seeming to make that likely.
“Carrie, I need to see you in my office.” Joe, my boss, beckoned as I grabbed my first cup of coffee.
“What's up Joe?”
“Close the door Carrie.” His voice sounded oddly stressed.
“I'll get right to the point. We're having to cut back on expenses. That means making some...adjustments on the creative staff.” His eyes refused to meet mine.
Still in a fog as I pulled out of the parking lot an hour later, a box of my personal belongings on the seat beside me, I chuckled through tears. “Guess I'll be picking you up early, baby.”
I hated that job anyway. I told myself I was never any good at writing ad copy, even though I knew I was.
My mind wandered to other things. In particular I wasn't looking forward to the conversation I would have with Jack that night.
I remembered his words after Leslie was born. “You have to go back to work. We need the money.”
Why hadn't I stood up to him then? Why had I allowed the rift to grow that took root that day?
They say the driver that hit me that morning ran a red light. Later I remembered the screech of tires and the dreadful sound of impact and of metal rending. It was like it was happening to someone else while I looked on. I lost consciousness, so I was told later.
I had a lot of time to spend in thought and prayer while I was in the hospital. I read the Bible as never before. Matthew 6:24, the Lord's own words regarding serving two masters particularly arrested my attention.
“Lord, forgive me for not placing all of this at your feet, instead of trying to do it my way.”
Without the use of my arms and legs, all paralyzed, my life was reinvented.
“Carrie, I think I have an idea for how you can do your writing.” Jack wanted to alleviate his own feelings of helplessness, I thought.
Lord, help me take captive those thoughts.
I looked at the speech to text software with trepidation. Jack installed it on my laptop and set up a special lap desk that could move with me to a chair.
“Lord, enable me to do this your way.” I breathed.
It took months to adjust, but with prayer and hard work, finally I was writing again.
It was most difficult on Leslie of course. My sweet six year-old grew up fast, learning to cook and to do things around the house. One thing I learned that I could do was home-school her; an enterprise I tackled eagerly.
“How's Jack taking to being the sole support of the family?” asked my mother.
Jack himself approached me one day, pensively. “Darling, I've been thinking and praying. The Lord's shown me some things.”
“Me too,” I said, as he took my unfeeling hand in his.
“We've been at cross purposes over the years, I believe.” he continued.
“Perhaps never more than now.” I smiled.
My first book, Cross Purposes, sold that same year.
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