The Life Left Behind

Jimmy watched the waves. In his memory he was surfing. In his heart he was a surfer.

But now he was a seminary student, having given his life to Christ just two years earlier. He made a commitment to the Lord to do anything God called him to do. This bold commitment had been followed by a definitive call to preach.

So the surfer boy put away his boards and started taking classes in Bible, theology, and church administration. Yet his faith and his calling didn’t change his identity, they had added to it.

Almost every day he stopped to watch the waves though, because somewhere in his heart he was a surfer. It was the life left behind, but it never stopped being who he was.

When he surfed every day he had almost never talked to his dad. Now they talked daily and his father tells him he is proud of him.

The water is calm today. Good surfing for the smallest of children and beginners, but tomorrow changing weather will bring bigger waves.

He won’t be surfing them though, he will be in his class discussing the doctrine of eternal security. It rubbed him the wrong way. People can knowingly, purposefully stop serving God and still be safe in God’s care?

A young man and his son was entering the water now. The older teaching the younger to balance and steer the board. This made Jimmy think of his father again, although his father had never surfed. His father was a marine, not a surfer. Once a marine, always a marine. His father says that all the time.

The corps had changed his father forever. Some changes are like that. The old man couldn’t stop being a marine if he tried, just like Jimmy couldn’t stop being a surfer. And Christians can’t stop being Christians. You can’t undo God’s work, or the life experience.

Jimmy climbed back in his car and prepared to head to class. He thanked God for a little better understanding of theology.

It was time to make his father proud.

It was time to make his Father proud.

 

It is a busy time in ministry, with Vacation Bible School quickly approaching.  So I am posting less and sometimes reusing posts. The above story was my entry for both Thursday 360 and Christian Flash Weekly. Check them both out if you are interested in reading or writing Christian flash fiction.

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Soul Harvest

The restaurant was a front for a Chinese gang. It was full of bodyguards, yet the tough guys ran out when he strolled in.

“I’m surprised to see you here.” The boss’s voice had a slight tremble.

“Think of me as a gentlemen farmer, coming to collect my harvest.”

“You put me in charge, I have it under control.”

“I am the landowner; you are merely a sharecropper. I planted the soil starting with the night your father visited that prostitute you called mom. I fertilized the fields with drugs and gambling. I weeded the land by driving out churches and bribing the police.”

“Don’t you mean I did those things for you?”

“No, I mean I used you to do them, giving you every idea and opportunity. I did it. Not you.”

The boss put his hand on a gun hidden under the table.

“Go ahead, shoot me. It will help me with the harvest.” It was one last command given the hireling.

The bullet passed harmlessly through the farmer, out the glass, and lodged in the wall beside of a thug. The man returned fire, and the harvest began.

Inside the restaurant, the boss had a neat hole through his head. The police never found a bullet.

This story was written for a flash fiction competition I entered this morning.  Probably one of my favorite stories of this sort. It is an example of being able to imply things with fiction that would be complicated to discuss in a teaching setting. Do you see anything in this story, stated or implied, that you would like to discuss? I would love to hear from you.

Amber’s Ride

Amber looked at herself in the mirror for a long time. Eventually she said a quiet goodbye. Talking to yourself must be the first sign of sanity, she thought.

She locked the shabby studio apartment behind her and headed on foot to the bus station. She put her hand over the $178.50 in her pocket, just to be sure it was still there. She had heard of golden parachutes, but her pocket full of cash was more like a frayed rescue line.

She didn’t stop by the diner where she had worked. There was nothing in this town she would miss. Not her apartment, not her neighbors, not her co-workers, not her customers. Most of all, she wouldn’t miss the person she had become. She herself, was the only one she had said goodbye to.

Amber was going home. Home where she had been miserable under the constraints of decent society. Where her mother tried to run her life and succeeded in sheltering her from every bit of fun she had ever tried to have. Home where the rules felt like a strait jacket on her free spirit.

She had left to try and get away from all of that. Now she was hoping to find it again. All of it.

She had left with an abundance—savings account, credit cards, even a trust fund once she turned 21. She would return with nothing but tough lessons learned. After buying the necessary tickets she had $5.37 left for meals along the way. Hardly enough to cover the five meals over the two days of cross country repentance.

On the bus she read a pocket New Testament. She ordered off the dollar menu at stops. She avoided talking to the other passengers. And she cried, quiet tears, full of old sorrows and new joys. But mostly she planned how to not be the person she had said goodbye to back at the studio.

When she reached the city, she realized she had made no arrangements to get from the terminal to her home. She had no cab fare, no remaining friends, no means but her restless feet. So she walked, it must have been about four miles. Each block passing a little faster than the ones before.

At the door she grabbed the knob and turned, but of course, it was locked. So she rang the bell. She couldn’t stand the wait so she started knocking, until her mother opened the door.

For a second they just stared at each other. Then they embraced, cried, and finally, they spoke. At first both were cautious, but soon there was no stopping the flow. They kept on speaking for the next thirty years, and when it came time to bury her, Amber did so, without regret.

 

This is the first week in a long time that I have been able to post every day except for today. So I went looking for an old story that I had never published on my own blog. I wanted one I couldn’t locate, but found this one. I remember that I originally wrote it for a weekly challenge called Midweek Blues Buster. If I remember correctly it was well received. As always if you like it and want to leave a comment you are more than welcome. 

The Builder

Before the post, let me say that I have been very busy in my ministry and therefore have done a lot less writing. I do plan to get back to Jamison’s Battlefields soon and also expect to begin blogging again more regularly.  For today I am putting in a post I submitted for Flash!Friday. This weekly challenge allows 150 words based on a picture prompt.

StKilda

St Kilda, Scotland. CC photo by Neil Wilkie.

The Builder

The cairn is our home.

For untold generations, we have been safe in the rocks.

It’s the perfect home—nutritious grass, water from the sky and others of my kind.

It’s true, the sky occasionally has a kite, but, if we are vigilant, we will be safe in the Cairn before they get close.

In the past we always believed someone gathered the pieces into a pile. The rocks are stacked so carefully. It is all so well planned for our purposes.

We decided we owed the builder a debt of thanks.

Now our leaders are teaching our young that the rocks got here by some natural process. They believe our adoration of a builder is silly. They make us feel stupid.

Soon my babies will be born. I worry about them, growing up in a world without appreciation for the builder. I fear they will grow up believing the rocks fell into these stacks.

Looking Too Close

The building appears to be abandoned.

But I find myself wondering about the details.

Why did they put up strips of wood to cover the windows instead of solid sheets of plywood?  Strips allow weather to pass through between them. They also allow light in.

Over one window it says, “No Trespassing.” It’s scrawled by hand. A sign would have looked more official. The words tell you not to go in, but their location marks the only place you could get in.

I figure somebody is still using the building for something. But don’t ask me to go check it out.

 

(Written for Friday Fictioneers. Follow this link if you would like to see the picture or if you would like to enter the challenge.)