Starting A New YearJanuary 3, 2024
Just A ThoughtJanuary 5, 2024
Thought I’d share an interesting story, in several parts this month. I trust it’ll be an encouragement to you.
© By Charlene Elder
Do you ever feel it’s just too much when so many things in life come at you? You’re not alone. The important thing to remember during these times is keep your confidence in God because He’s there with you, and He’ll certainly bring you through.
Enjoy Part 1 of a short story I wrote several years ago that deals with the difficulties of life and the experience of one young girl. It’s really her story.
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Susan remembered hearing about the Box but no one in the family knew many details as to its whereabouts. She wasn’t really sure if it had what some of the family called magical powers or not. She only thought of it as something her grandparents had kept and probably just contained a few mementos they saved over the years. Still, as Susan sat on the porch in her Grandfather’s rocking chair, she couldn’t help but wonder where it was or if she could find it.
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A late spring breeze gently caressed Susan’s shoulders while she rode her bike along the lake. It was a gorgeous day, and she was glad she didn’t have school so she could enjoy being outside. Her 12th year hadn’t started out well at all.
Looking across the lake and seeing a small boat with a man fishing reminded her of her grandfather. He loved to fish, even if he didn’t catch anything. Susan had spent a few times fishing with him over the years, and now she wished she had gone fishing with him more often. He had stayed in good health all his life, but just after the New Year, a virus attacked his body and before the end of the month, he had died. Susan was heartbroken because he was the only living grandfather she had.
It was one thing to deal with the loss of a family member in a new year, but two months later her younger brother, Bobby, was in a car accident. Their mother had been driving when someone slammed into the side where Bobby sat. He had multiple injuries as did her mother, and even these four months later they both required daily assistance. Improvement was very slow, if not impossible in Susan’s thinking. Riding her bike and enjoying the beauty outside was her reprieve, her happy place amidst the turmoil in the family.
Susan’s grandmother came to live with them a couple of weeks after her grandfather died, and since the accident her grandmother took the role of caregiver to both her brother and mother, with Susan as her helper. Susan’s Dad worked long hours to pay the bills leaving Susan and her grandmother to run the household and the family. On more than one occasion washing dishes or cleaning the bathrooms, Susan observed her grandmother singing. She didn’t know the songs and didn’t pay attention to the words, but the songs always brought Susan comfort and she always felt better when Grandma sang.
Like other days, today’s ride around the lake gave Susan time to think. Her family wasn’t really religious but she remembered her grandparents always talking about faith, love, and hope. That always made her smile and she grinned as she rounded a sharp corner just before the trail met the walkway by the lake, but she stopped abruptly. She was certain she heard her grandfather’s voice. She listened harder but didn’t hear anything else. Peddling closer to the lake her attention immediately turned toward the middle of the lake and the lone fishing boat. Susan peddled a little farther. Puzzled, she just gazed at the boat.
“Don’t ever lose faith, Susan.” She heard the words her grandfather had told her often. “God’s bigger than any of our problems. Don’t lose hope. Have faith.”
She shuddered and shook her head. She actually heard those words, and she found herself saying “How can I lose faith if I don’t have any?” When she realized she’d spoken those words out loud, she quickly looked around to make sure no one had heard her. She took a deep breath. No, she was alone.
Susan continued her bike ride but it wasn’t until she reached the other side of the lake adjacent with the fishing boat that she heard the words the box echo across the lake. This time she immediately slammed on the brakes and looked behind her. Again, no one was there. She had no choice but pedal as fast as she could and get back home.
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(Part 2 continues next week)