Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: MAP (01/31/19)
TITLE: Contour Lines
By Corinne Smelker
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During our four years in high school we drew extremely close. Part of it was we were the only two Christians in a multi-cultural and multi-religious school. But we were very different from each other. Sarah had, among other things, WRITTEN out a five-year and 10-year plan for when she graduated college. Of course, in her mind, there was no question that she was going to attend university. Me? It was a good day if I had my morning mapped out. She and I often joked about our different life styles – hers so structured and ordered, mine messy (and that’s being kind!)
When we graduated and went to university she was spoilt for choice in terms of the male population. Men flocked to her as gulls to scraps, bees to nectar, moths to light. I remember one conversation where she bemoaned the fact that she had five guys all willing to marry her! Are you kidding me? I couldn’t even get one date and she had five marriage proposals? I could never stay angry though, Sarah truly was, and is, the ‘full’ package, lovely both inside and out. Her five-year plan included marriage, she ticked that box off four years after leaving university. Sarah and Mike bought their first home and settled in.
Me? Well I scraped through my university days. One professor even said to me, “Boy, when you hate a subject, you really don’t put any effort into it, do you? Could you try, even just a bit?” I thought I might go into teaching after graduating, but instead I travelled through Europe. When I returned home I took a job, initially as a receptionist for a computer training company, but once they heard I had a teaching degree, they moved me into their adult training department.
Sarah’s 10-year plan encompassed having children. My path wended around the globe, and it was in a foreign country I finally settled down and married.
“We will wait two years before having our first kid,” my husband and I decided. One year later our first child was born, the shortest two years in recorded history!
More kids followed. Lays-off and retrenchments occurred, Major moves took place. The one stable component, apart from our family, has been our faith. Regardless of our circumstances, we see the faithfulness of God.
Sarah and Mike own their own company now. They live in a multi-million dollar home with an infinity edge pool, spectacular views of the mountains and the ocean, and six bedrooms – all empty. It has been 22 years since they said their “I do’s” but they never experienced the happy sound of tiny feet reverberating through their home.
We talk quite often, even though we live on two different continents. Last time we talked, Sarah confessed that although her life was so ordered, and mapped out, she envies my ‘mess’ – my ability to be flexible; my kids and now grandkids; my knack for moving along the wavy contour lines of my life.
I look at her perfect home, her quiet, peaceful life (she can actually read a book without being interrupted) and wonder whether I shouldn’t have mapped things out better. But then I look into the deep blue eyes of my grandchildren, and stand next to my still-handsome husband who is struggling to find a good job, and I know, deep down inside, this life-map is all I ever wanted.
Psalm 19:7 (MSG) The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy.
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