Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CHILL (10/27/16)
TITLE: The Lakeside Prayer
By LeslieJean Anderson
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She’d been driving home from his grave site where she’d placed flowers, and stopped at the lake where she and her husband had often picnicked. Usually she enjoyed revisiting the places they’d been together. But recently a heaviness had settled around her heart.
As she gripped the railing of the dock, Saturday morning dog walkers and joggers trotted on the walkway behind her. Most were headed for the end of the dock. There was a jet ski competition out on the water, but Margaret was not interested in the noise and action. In fact, it was irritating in her contemplative mood.
But she liked feeling the wind in her hair and breathing the fresh lakeside oxygen. For the past several days she’d had trouble breathing deeply. It was like an elephant was stepping on her chest with a big wide foot. Maybe it was the anticipation of the sixth anniversary of Clark’s death that was causing grief sensations.
“I am supposed to be past the mourning stage,” she mumbled to herself. “I hope I am not getting sick.”
Sighing deeply, she turned and wandered in the other direction where sat down on a bench, watching children playing in the sand by the lake’s edge. Nobody noticed her. Her mind drifted to past years when she and her husband had romped with the grandchildren in the sand. She shook her head in wonder. Her memories seemed to be from another lifetime.
There had always been such joy and comfort in the life they’d created together for nineteen short years. Even though they were older when they’d met, Clark had courted her as a Christian and treated her with great respect.
“Three of us will be getting married,” he announced when he’d proposed to her. “You and me and God. Is that ok with you?” Of course she’d said yes, thrilled that she would be sharing her faith with her life partner. Their mutual commitment to a loving God was the firm foundation she’d been searching for her entire life. They were soul mates, with a marriage strengthened and nurtured by God’s own Spirit.
When a tumor ended his life unexpectedly, Margaret walked the same path of faith alone, buoyed up by her confidence in God’s Power to sustain her. She was sure of where her husband’s spirit had gone, and hoped for a reunion in Heaven someday. But a sense of emptiness sometimes haunted her. Today especially, even in this lovely Lakeside Park.
“I think I need to reach out and chat with somebody. A little human contact might make me feel better,” she thought to herself. She looked around, but only saw children.
Margaret sighed again and closed her eyes. “Oh God, I am so lonely for Clark. If only I could talk to him today.”
She noticed a sudden chill in the breeze off the lake and shivered. She stood up then, unsure of where to go next. Maybe it was time to get back on the road. She reached down to pick up her purse. Just then a voice spoke to her.
“Hello Ma’am – can I help you?”
Looking up she saw a park policeman who’d been riding a bicycle. He’d passed her earlier, and had just come from the direction of the jet skis. Surprisingly, he was older – close to her own age. He was leaning on his bike, smiling.
She smiled back. Her was her chance for some conversation. So she asked him about his duties in the park. Then they chatted about their jobs and families and where they’d traveled. When he revealed that he was also a pastor of a small church, they talked briefly about faith and church life.
Finally Margaret noticed the chill again and said that she needed to head for her warm car and be on her way. It was then that she asked him his name.
He pointed to his name badge. “My name is Clark, Ma’am. Officer Clark.”
Margaret gasped, then laughed and thanked him for the friendly chat.
She was still smiling an hour later.
And when she finally got home, she noticed that the heaviness and tightness in her heart was completely, totally gone.
750 words This is a true story.
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