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Lenten Man


The Lenten Man - David Wilson-Burns © 2010

“Where am I?”

“Oh my God.  Phillip.  You’re in the hospital, honey.  You had an accident.  Oh sweety.”

His neck cramped with pain as he attempted to survey the room, his eyes eventually focusing and settling on a praying woman at his bedside.  He squinted at her through the bandages and crushing pain in his face and began to cry hot, stinging tears. Something terrible was wrong, but he knew this woman.  Somehow, he could feel her love flowing through his veins. He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths.

“Jessica.  You’re Jessica,” he croaked, his voice barely audible.

“Yes, sweetheart, it’s Jessica.   I’m your wife.”

“Jessica.  Yes.   I know you.  Yes, sweetheart.  Yes, I’m your husband…so confused…don’t remember what happened…can’t remember. ”

“Honey, just rest.   You’re going to be ok.  God is taking care of you.”

All the time she’d been holding his hand.  And she kept holding and patting his hand as she bowed her head and wept in a low, murmuring stream of sobs and prayers.

“Yes, God is taking care of you, Phillip.”

God, thought Phillip. Yes, God.   God is taking care of me.

Glimpses of the last forty days began to form in his aching head.  Glimpses of prayer and fasting and worship and study of scripture.   These things he held on to, turning them over and over in his mind like precious jewels that he could scarcely believe were his.   They were nearly all he had left.  He thought of his wife who was holding his hand.  He thought of —Yes, children–his two beautiful children.  And he thought of his God…who took  care of him

Phillip’s memory never fully returned.  He remembered pieces of his childhood.  He remembered how he and Jessica had met.  He remembered falling in love with her.  He didn’t remember the days his children were born.  He wasn’t even there, but he didn’t remember that either.  He just remembered that he loved them.  He didn’t remember the nights of pouring stinging, numbing booze down his throat, the endless string of one night stands with roadside bar girls, or the times when he threw his fist into other drunken men’s faces.   He didn’t remember Easter night three days before, when he plowed his truck into an the 60-year-old, oak tree a half mile from a bar off route 77 with a fifth of bargain whiskey in his gut.

The only span of his life that he could remember with any completeness or clarity was the the forty days before his accident.   The forty days of Lent in which he annually–miraculously–managed to straighten out his crooked ways out of devotion to the God of his mother and her mother before her.  The forty days that had kept his wife hoping and praying desperately year after year for a permanent change…for a miracle to save their marriage.

To Phillip, those forty days were his life,  and they would continue to be his life.

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#fridayflash Accidental Whore


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Accidental Whore" - David Wilson-Burns © 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pop!

“Hey, baby, how much for 1 hr massage?”

pop!

“Free tomorrow night?”

pop!

“Ok, so I saw your ad.  How does this work?  Do I meet me somewhere?  Do you come to my apartment?  I’ve never done this before.”

“Oh, I meant you.  Do I meet you.”

pop!

“$500 for an hour?”

pop!

“Lonely tonight, can I see you?”

pop! pop! pop! pop! pop!

In a panic, Tammy Love pulled the plug on her computer straight out of the socket.  She’d received at least twenty instant messages in a period of two or three minutes while sitting in her quiet gray cubicle at her quiet gray job at a home and life insurance company that nobody had heard of.

Whoever these men were, they all had two things in common:  they all wanted sex and they all seemed to think that she would provide it as a service.  She was flush with panic and embarrassment sitting in her cube with her hand on her chest trying to catch her breath, and trying to regain her composure.  Clearly, she thought, there’s been some sort of mistake. My email must be similar to someone else’s!  Some WHORE!!!

That night, she laid in bed trying to sleep, but couldn’t get all of the filthy requests out of her head.  And for so much money!  These guys must be really be lonely and depraved! And what was more disturbing to her, was how it was making her feel.  Wasn’t she as lonely as they were?  And didn’t she need the same things they were needing.  She hadn’t been with a man for nearly two years.  And suddenly, she found herself a little bit….curious.

Maybe these weren’t all bad guys, she thought, maybe they were just a little lonely.  And then she remembered one of the messages, “I’ve never done this before.”  Maybe she was no different than he was.  Maybe he was alone in bed just like she was just wanting to be close to somebody?    There was something almost sweet to her about the nervous tone in the message, now that she thought about it.   She dragged her laptop onto the bed, wondering if she could find the message in her chat history.   She logged in, tammylove69, with a new kind of thrill inside, open to new  possibilities.


On the Threshing Floor


“Threshing Floor” – David Wilson-Burns © 2010

It had been a long day of winnowing barley.  I was well pleased with the harvest, well-fed, and had had my fill of wine from my vineyard.  I drifted to sleep with thoughts of the woman I’d met in the fields.   What a noble woman she was, and lovely.  She had done such a kindness, a hesed, for my kinswoman.  Rarely had I witnessed such faithfulness, and in a Moabite woman!  I couldn’t help to think that she would certainly make as faithful a wife.

Deep in the night, I was awoken.  During winnowing time, I sleep on the threshing room floor along with my servants.  But this was not one of my servants.   I was awoken by a sweet fragrance, something sweeter than the barley grain.  Sleeping at my feet was a woman wrapped in my cloak.  I sat up and touched her softly and whispered, “Who are you?”

My heart raced when the woman replied, “I am Ruth, your servant.”

Oh Ruth.  My dear, sweet woman.  She had come to me in my slumber to lay herself before my feet!

She continued on; her words as sweet as the honey I had supped on the evening before!

“Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”

Yes, yes.  I was a redeemer, being very closely related to her mother-in-law, Naomi, but I was not the closest.  So I spoke words to honor her and let her know how I felt about her, and made also a proposition that was good and proper.

“May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.”  Her eyes met mine for just a moment, but being a modest woman she bowed them quickly.  “And now, my daughter,” I continued, “do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.  And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I.   Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

And this sweet woman nodded her consent and lay back down at my feet.  And I, taken with love and compassion for her, could hardly sleep,  for she had redeemed our dear Naomi.  She, a Moabite, chose to live here in Bethlehem to care for an Israelite out of no legal obligation.  She must truly be a good woman, a woman of God.   And I prayed to the Lord until morning that my cousin, the closest possible redeemer, would pass her to me, if it be the Lord’s will.

Oh my sweet Ruth!  Let it be that I would redeem you and your husband’s line.  It is certain to be a noble one!