Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Frank had not had many days like this. Just six months into his new responsibilities at the firm, the announcement had hit like a thunder clap. Regional Branch Office closing after the amalgamation. Talk of redundancy and streamlining. His entire workplace had two months.
To make matters worse Sandy had accepted a nursing tenure in Moncton and it looked like the end of their two and a half year relationship. She had been the one hinting at marriage. He had remained somewhat cool for too long. This was only his second serious commitment at age twenty-six. He had watched his parents' marriage fade away after thirty years. Mom remained at City Hall in the Planning Department. Dad for the last three years in Northern Alberta in geological exploration. And that after nineteen years as a University Prof.
The car lease expired in a month and there would either be re-financing or a hefty payout of excessive mileage. Student loans weren't going to go away for another four years, and doubtless there would have to be re-structuring in light of the lay-off.
He sat at his desk after-hours deciding what to start to take back to the apartment. He did not relish the next two months. A couple of possible contacts, but then no one was really being honest about business conditions...press, local politicians, chamber of commerce. In the bottom left drawer under some performance reports he found that Book of Psalms which his sister had dropped off only two days before she left with her fiance for Northern Sudan. They were both para-medics with four years of all-purpose service in the big city, and they had decided upon a two year stint with a health agency in the refugee camps. A new country on the world scene. Many terrible stories of slavery and mayhem in the recent past. Both of them seeing an opportunity to manifest "Christ in shoe leather".
Terri had not been pushy with the Gospel these last three years since her "faith experience with Jesus". She knew that her brother had had a distasteful run-in with an on-campus fellowship. She had talked mostly about the prospects of her new assignment, the places she was likely to visit and the manner in which she would maintain communication. Her Mom was quite devastated by the decision, although there was possibly a new man in her life. Dad was effectively "gonzo".
The little Psalter had been given, and just as quickly buried at the bottom of that drawer. Frank smiled and opened it. He discovered a note on the last page not previously examined:
"Dear Frank: Take a look at these pages from time to time and realize that the writers experienced almost every human situation, good and bad. King David in particular knew how to talk with God, holding nothing back. God likes that kind of honesty. Things look pretty rosy for you at the firm, but life can never be a sure bet. Remember that Jesus shines through these Psalms, and also that He came through the very worst of treatment in victory (Psalm 69). He understands our condition. He will hear your honest prayers and go to work for you, making His presence known. He is love and He is God...Kisses...Terri."
As if by reflex Frank lifted up some simple requests for his sister and Clarke in that distant place of pain and hope.