Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Employment (01/26/12)
TITLE: I Got You, Babe
By Leola Ogle
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She was sick of politics, everyone blaming someone else for the lousy economy and the unemployment rate. All she wanted to hear was that Dan had employment, and they wouldn’t be in any danger of losing their house.
Gritting her teeth, she blurted out, “I guess I’ll go upstairs and pray.”
Dan sat up and ran his fingers through his hair. “I’m sorry, honey. At least next week I’ll be painting Mary’s house.”
“Well, that’s fine, Dan, but we need something that’ll pay.” She grimaced, realizing how sarcastic she sounded. She really did love Mary, a single, elderly lady in their church. Mary had spent the past forty years in mission work with the Native Americans.
She trudged wearily up the stairs. She was sorry she had snapped at Dan, especially when she saw the hurt in his eyes. She had always loved the way he volunteered his painting services during lean times to the church, ministry or those in ministry. It had been almost twenty-five years since Mary’s house had been painted, and she was so thrilled by Dan’s offer.
Becky knew the economy wasn’t Dan’s fault. When the construction industry dried up, he had taken classes at a community college to become a pharmacy tech. Once he got his license, he put in hundreds of application only to be repeatedly told that he didn’t have any experience.
Becky worked as a teacher’s aide at her kids’ school, but her meager salary couldn’t keep them afloat. She thought of several couples in the church who had lost their houses within the past year, good people who loved and served God, but had lost their jobs because of the economy. That was the real problem-her fear of losing their lovely home.
It was the first nice house she’d ever lived in. She had grown up very poor. Her dad was an alcoholic and her mother worked very hard to provide for the family, and keep Becky and her brothers in church. That’s why her home meant so much to her.
Once she shut the door to her bedroom, she sank to the floor, giving herself over to sobs that had churned inside her all day. She spent the first fifteen minutes begging God to give Dan work, and begging to keep her home. “Please, please, please God,” she sniffled and hiccupped, swiping her hand across her nose, feeling as vulnerable as her two-year-old.
Spent, exhausted and heartbroken, she sat in quiet reflection the next several minutes with her eyes closed, humming worship music. She thought of Dan and their children and suddenly felt so peaceful and blessed. They had God, each other and their health. In that moment, she released their finances, but most importantly, her house, to God. It was all His anyway.
She stood, threw her arms around herself and felt like Jesus had just stepped into the room and hugged her. She walked down the stairs, smiling at the sound of laughter from Dan and their children as they watched Toy Story.
“I’m so sorry, honey,” she whispered as she bent over to kiss Dan. “I just released it all to God.” She shrugged, tears brimming in her eyes. “You and the kids are what’s important, not this house. Wherever we are, wherever we live, we’re family.”
Dan’s eyes twinkled. “Well, while you were talking to God, I got a phone call from a supervisor in Goodyear. They want me to do some painting at their facility where the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians do their spring training. It’ll only be for a couple of weeks, but it’s good pay.”
“That’s great, honey.” Becky threw her arms around Dan’s neck. “But what about Mary’s house? She’ll be so disappointed.”
“Mary? I forgot all about that!” Dan covered his face with his hands, then spread his fingers wide and peeked at Becky. “I’m kidding, Becky. How could I forget sweet Mary? I’ll finish her house and then get started at the training facility. Let’s take one day at a time, honey. Lots of people are hurting and going through the same struggles that we are. At least we have God.”
“And each other,” Becky added.
Dan pulled her onto his lap and started singing an old Sonny and Cher song, “I Got You, Babe.”
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