Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)
TITLE: The Answer
By Rachel Phelps
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She walked her pen through her fingers. On the last turn, it flipped out of her grasp and soared across the dorm room – straight to where her roommate was sprawled on the rug studying.
“Incoming!” Gina blurted.
Lizzy glanced up from her Shakespeare anthology just in time to dodge the projectile. She cocked an eyebrow at Gina. “Alright Miss Ministry Major – do unto others as you would have them do to you. Do you want me to throw a pen at you?”
“Only if it comes with some of your writing genius.”
They laughed together, but Gina’s eyes strayed back to the paper before her. She’d spent half the night pacing and praying about this, but no answer was forthcoming.
Lizzy closed the book and sat up. “Talk to me.”
Gina slid out of her chair and joined her friend on the rug. “It was the most romantic proposal I could wish for.”
“You were practically floating when you came in last night,” Lizzy observed.
“Todd took me into the old chapel just at sunset so all the stained glass was glowing, and said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me because I never lose the wonder of love – the love of God or a person.”
Lizzy smirked. “Not quite out of Shakespeare, but respectable.”
Gina reached up for the paper on the desk. “Then he gave me this and said he wanted me to read it, pray about it, and give him an answer when I was ready.” She sighed, “I wish he’d just left it at the proposal.”
She passed the letter to Lizzy. Even looking at it made her heart hurt. Todd had never said anything like that before when they talked about the future. She watched her roommate’s face, waiting for the moment she found –
“He doesn’t expect you to pastor?” Lizzy exploded, nearly ripping the paper as she threw her hands in the air.
Gina quoted the passage. “I can see us now – me leading worship and you by my side. You’ll be a perfect pastor’s wife because you have such a fire and passion. You could revolutionize a church’s ministries with your organization, creativity and passion.” She shrugged. “It’s supposed to be a compliment, I think.”
“But you’re called to preach,” Lizzy said bluntly. “He’s known that for the whole stinkin’ two years you’ve been dating.”
Gina took the letter back, skimming the lines for something she’d missed. The tears she’d been denying all day lodged in her throat. “Apparently he figured I’d give it up. He’s made some comments about how unusual a female pastor is.”
“Unusual doesn’t equal ‘I don’t expect you to follow your calling – just support mine.’” Lizzy observed, looking rather murderous.
Gina folded the paper, releasing a quavery sigh. “I love him.”
Lizzy stared at her. “You’re not seriously going to…”
“I don’t know.” Gina’s heart twisted again. “I prayed about it all night. I felt that call to preach when I was 11 – what if I was misinterpreting it? What if I really am called to be a minister’s wife instead? I’m not opposed to being the wife of a music minister, if that’s what God wants from me – and I know Todd’s heart is in the right place.”
“Gina – you’ve shown me notebooks full of sermons you’ve scribbled the way I scribble novel outlines,” Lizzy said more gently. “You’ve been ministering since the day you set foot on this campus. I still remember the first time I found one of your “encouraging words” notes taped on my desk.”
“I can use those skills as a pastor’s wife.”
“Or as a pastor.” Lizzy said brusquely. She flipped open her anthology and pointed to the page. ”’Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds or bends with the remover to remove.’”
“You and your Shakespeare,” Gina retorted. “Do you have a personal note from God tucked away telling you I shouldn’t marry Todd?”
Lizzy pointed to Gina’s desk where a piece of notebook paper was taped. I’m going to be a pastor was scrawled in 11-year-old script. “No. I think you do.”
Author’s Note: The sonnet referenced is Shakespeare’s 116th.
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