Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ALL TALK, NO ACTION (01/10/19)
- TITLE: Sixty Words That Broke A Heart
By Mariane Holbrook
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The bulletin stated that Jenny had been a missionary in the Philippines for eight years and was home on a one-year furlough, speaking at churches in several states about her work.
Martin was mesmerized. In 1986, he was a single, 21-year-old seminary student looking for a serious relationship. As soon as the final "Amen" was pronounced, he rushed to the platform to meet this remarkable young woman.
Approaching her, he beamed and asked, "May I give you a hug?"
Jenny reached out to the young man and thanked him for coming.
After the service, Martin telephoned the pastor to ask if he could be properly introduced to Jenny. The pastor invited him over for a light supper that evening when Jenny would also be joining them.
During the evening, Martin learned that Jenny was 34 years old, single and wore a full leg brace because of a bout with Polio when she was a child living with her missionary parents in the Philippines.
After exchanging phone numbers, they began a courtship with both of them increasingly feeling their meeting was God-ordained. When Martin confided that he, too, was called to be a missionary, he urged Jenny to postpone her return to the Philippines until Martin finished seminary.
A few months later they were married in a ceremony in Jenny's home church. Martin continued his studies while Jenny found work as head of Human Resources at a local hospital to support him.
Martin bragged about his wife to colleagues at the seminary and never failed to compliment her on her fashion choices. He was proud of Jenny and her accomplishments and talked constantly about their beautiful and fulfilling life together.
Living with Martin in a small apartment near the seminary, Jenny suggested that he help with some of the chores at home. He was aware of her heavy workload at the hospital but when she arrived home after work, she usually found the apartment in disarray, the laundry piled high waiting to be washed, and nothing prepared for dinner. Jenny would remove her heavy leg cast, rest a few minutes, then reattach it to complete the necessary chores.
After a time, she was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome and found she became tired and weak much more easily. She suggested again that Martin help with the grocery shopping and other chores and he agreed, hugging her warmly and expressing his love for her.
In the weeks that followed, she often returned home from work to find Martin watching television, stretched out on the comfortable recliner Jenny's parents had special-ordered for her because of her painful, Polio-affected leg. Jenny appealed to him for help and again he promised to do better.
On the day of Martin's graduation from seminary, Jenny attended the morning ceremony but had to leave immediately for work at the hospital where health inspectors from the state were meeting with all personnel.
Arriving home after a tiring, strenuous afternoon at work, she opened the door and was rendered speechless. Taped to a small table was a note from Martin which read:
"I'm sorry but I have to end our marriage.
The last two years have been horrible for
me with your constant nagging. My sister
arrived to help me pack and we're headed
to Pennsylvania. I'll let you know later
where I am so you'll know where to send
me half of your income tax refund from
your job at the hospital.
Trembling and in shock, Jenny stumbled toward her special recliner but it was gone along with most of the other furniture, the television, and computer.
Jenny resigned from her job and moved back to her parents' home until she was well again. She never again heard from Martin but years later learned that he'd been arrested for non-support of his two children and for diverting $25,000 of his employer's profits to Martin's own bank account.
Jenny, unable to return to the Philippines because of deteriorating health, in time was rested and restored and twenty years later, still works part-time as an assistant chaplain at a Christian nursing home, ministering to elderly women.
In her desk drawer she keeps this reminder: "Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:18)
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