I Love Him

“You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD” – Leviticus 19:28, NKJV

Cute-Wording-Tattoo-WT107-600x800

I never thought of getting a tattoo until I met and fell in love with Roger.  We met at a book fair four years ago.  We were book lovers and huge fans of Historical and Crime Fiction and Science Fantasy.  We were in the browsing and we reached for the same book.  He looked at me and said, “Sorry.  You first.” He had such a warm smile and incredible eyes that I was smitten.

After we bought the books we wanted, I ended up getting the one we were both reaching for but which I promised to lend him after I finished reading it, we went to a trendy restaurant nearby for lunch.  Over pasta and white wine, we got to know each other and by the end of lunch, we had made plans for our first date.

We began dating and there was talk of marriage.  One afternoon when we were hanging out in the city, he suggested that we go and get tattoos.  He said he always wanted to get one but just didn’t get around to it.  I was hesitant at first but he convinced me when he said, “I want to put right here on my wrist the words, I love you.  They are in my heart but I want them to be a part of me where they are visible for everyone to see.”

So, I agreed and we went to a tattoo parlor and had the tattoos done.  His said, “I love her” and mine said, “I love him.”  A week later, he popped the big question when we were at an amusement park.  He got down on one knee on the grass near the Ferris Wheel.  I was conscious of people watching us but he was oblivious to them.  I bawled but somehow managed to say, Yes!  He sprang to his feet, beside himself with excitement and planted a big one on my lips.  Then, holding hands, we sauntered off to the Roller-coaster.  It was a glorious afternoon–one I will never, ever forget.

Then, the worst day of my life since my father died happened.  I was getting ready to go to the beach with Roger when the doorbell rang.  Thinking it was him, I rushed to answer it and was surprised to see his friend, Larry standing there.  The expression on his face wiped the smile off mine.  My heart began to pound.  I invited him into the flat and closed the door.  I took him into the living-room where we both remained standing.  “What’s wrong, Larry?” I asked.  A heavy sense of dread settled over me like a dark cloud.

“It’s Roger,” he said.  I could tell that he was trying really hard to keep it together.  “This morning on his way to visit his parents, he was killed in a multi-vehicle crash.”

I don’t remember much of what happened after I heard the news which turned my world upside down.  The funeral and everything afterwards were all a blur to me.  I took time off work and lived like a hermit in my flat.  I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone.  There were times when I felt that I couldn’t go on without Roger.

One night, I came very close to committing suicide.  I had the bottle of sleeping pills in my hand but I heard someone on the radio, I think, say, “Regardless of how dark the future may appear to you right now, remember, God will never abandon you.” That got my attention and I listened to the entire program.  Looking back now, I know without a shadow of a doubt that God saved my life that night.

I had a friend who was a Christian and I turned to her for support.  She visited me regularly and prayed for me.  She invited me to spend time with her and her family because she felt that it would do me good.  She shared her faith with me.  I never knew that she and her husband had lost a child.  She told me how God had gotten her through those dark, painful moments.  And she encouraged me to talk to Him about anything that was on my mind.  “Be frank with Him.  Let Him know that you’re hurting, that you’re angry–whatever you’re feeling, lay it all out.  Cry, yell if you need to.  Don’t hold back.  God can take it.”

I followed her advice and I could feel God’s presence and His comfort.  I began to talk to Him regularly and found that it helped with the pain and sorrow.  My friend gave me a Bible which I began reading every night before I went to bed.  It was then that I learned that God doesn’t want us to mark our skins–that meant tattoos.  I felt badly that I had one but when I mentioned it to my friend, she said, “When you got it, you didn’t know.   Now that you know, you can do something about it.”

“What can I do?”

“You can remove your tattoo.”

I stared at her.  “I can?” I exclaimed.  “But I thought you couldn’t remove tattoos.”

“Yes.  They were once considered permanent but now it’s possible to remove them with treatments, fully or partially.  One of my co-workers had her tattoo removed.  I can give you her number and she could advise you on what to do.”

I thanked her for telling me this and I immediately contacted her co-worker, Anna who told me what to do and what to expect.  She told me to consult a doctor, that it would take months, perhaps a year or more to remove the tattoo, it’s expensive, all the ink can be taken out, get ready for needles, there’s pain afterwards, I’ll need ointment and bandages and to make sure that my clothing doesn’t rest on the area, I have a choice to lighten the ink rather than take it all off or take it all off but there might be white patches or scars and there’s a laser that can fix that problem.  I decided that I would completely remove my tattoo and not worry about the cost.  My friend went with me when I went to have the procedure done.  I was nervous but I felt good knowing that I was doing the right thing.  I didn’t have to have a tattoo to tell me that I loved Roger.

Years later, I’m tattoo free.  All that’s left is a scar on my wrist which you can barely see.  My reading tastes have changed.  Now, I read only Christian fiction and non-fiction, Devotions and Prophecy.  I’m a baptized member of my friend’s church and I’m teaching Sabbath school to the Juniors.  I love being a part of a family with God as my Father and Jesus as my Lord.  I think of Roger often and wish that he were still alive.  I sometimes, wonder, though if my life would be what it is now if he hadn’t died.

I have written the words, I love Him, at the front of my Bible.  I love Roger and will always love him but the Him I’m talking about is God.  I love Him because He first loved me.  I discovered that unfailing love of His on that night when He saved my life.

Sources:  Wikipedia; Glamour; Bible Info; CP24; Blue Letter Bible

Lavinia and Franco

curvy3Lavinia was standing outside of the office building waiting for the courier.  He had an important package for her boss and she wanted it to be given to her directly.  It was a mild afternoon.  As she waited,  Teresa, whom she couldn’t stand walked up with her boss, Franco, one of the company’s directors in tow.  They were returning from one of their lunches.  He was a gorgeous man and Lavinia couldn’t deny that she was attracted to him.  Their eyes met over Teresa’s head.

“Waiting for someone?” he asked.

“Yes, the courier.”

“Aren’t you cold?” Teresa demanded, eyeing her critically.

“No, I’m not,” Lavinia replied shortly.  Why should it matter to her that she wasn’t wearing her coat?

“I hope you don’t have to wait long,” Franco said.  The expression on his face made her mouth go dry.

She smiled.  “I hope not too.”

He held the door open and his gaze lingered on Lavinia before he followed Teresa into the building.

Lavinia couldn’t shake the feeling that he was attracted to her too but what about Teresa?  Just then, the courier came and after signing for the package, she went up to the office.  She went straight to her boss, Mitch’s office and handed him the package.  Then, she went into the kitchenette to fix herself a cup of Herbal tea.  She was just about to return to her desk when Teresa walked in, her expression thunderous.

“I saw the way you were looking at Franco a few minutes ago when were standing outside.”

“I don’t know what you think you saw.”

“Forget it, Lavinia.  You aren’t his type.”

Lavinia’s mouth tightened.  “And I suppose you are.”

Teresa flicked her glossy black hair over her shoulder with a well manicured hand.  “Yes.”

“Why, is it because you look like those half-starved bundles of twigs who call themselves fashion models?”

Teresa’s eyes flashed at her.  “There’s no need to get nasty because Franco prefers his women to be slim instead of being heavyset.

Laconia bristled.  “For your information, I’m curvy NOT heavyset.”

“You’re still not his type so you need to stop throwing yourself at him.”

“Girl, you’re out of your mind.  I have NEVER thrown myself at Franco.”

“Whenever he leaves his office, you’re always there trying to get his attention.”

“I don’t have to try to get any man’s attention.  And for your information, he’s the one who strikes up a conversation every time I see him.  Maybe you should be telling him to stay away from me. Excuse me.  I’ve got work to do.”  She turned and sauntered away before Teresa could say anything.

Lavinia went back to her cubicle and sat down at her desk, fuming.  If she weren’t a God fearing woman, she would have accidentally on purpose spilled her tea on Teresa’s Dolce & Gabbana blouse.  What Franco saw in her, she had no clue.  Granted she was stunning and smart but she was vain and impossible to get along with.  None of the women in the department liked her.

Her phone rang and her heart leapt when she recognized the extension on the display.  Taking a deep breath, she picked up the receiver.  “Yes, Franco.”

“I know that you’re probably busy but can you spare a few minutes?”

“Sure.  I’ll be right there.”

After she hung up, she stood, smoothed her dress and her hair before she headed to his office.  She had the pleasure of walking past Teresa’s desk and straight to Franco’s door which was slightly ajar.  She smiled when she saw the other woman’s miffed expression as she closed the door behind her.

MitiaFranco was sitting behind his desk.  He had removed his jacket.  The white shirt he wore accentuated his swarthy complexion.  When she walked over to him, she saw the way his eyes traveled slowly and deliberately over her and she tried to ignore her body’s response.  She stood in front of his desk, looking down at him.  “You wanted to see me?”

He leaned back in this chair, placed his hand over his chin.  Did he have any idea of how delectable he looked at that moment?  “Have dinner with me tonight.”

After she recovered from her surprise, she replied rather breathlessly, “I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t make it a habit of going out with another woman’s man.”

He frowned.  “What are you talking about?”

“You and Teresa.”

“What about us?”

“Don’t play dumb with me.  I know that you and she are in a relationship.”

“Yes, a business relationship.”

“But I’ve seen the two of you go out for lunch several times.”

“Those were all business lunches with other clients.  There has never been anything personal or romantic between Teresa and me.”

“Maybe you should make that clear to her.”

“I will.  Now, will you have dinner with me?”

“Sure.”

He grinned making her heart flutter.  “Good.  I’ll pick you up at seven.”

She reached for the one of the sticky pads on his desk and she wrote her address and number before tearing the sheet off and handing it to him.  When he reached over took it from her, he deliberately let his fingers touch hers.  Her eyes flew up to his face and what she saw there made her heart skip a beat.  “I–I’d better go,” she stammered.

“What’s the hurry?” he asked as he got up from the desk and walked around to where she stood.

“I-I have letters to type, photocopying, filing and–” She was nervous now.  This was the first time she had ever been alone with him.

He touched her face, making her breath quicken.  “Eres una mujer muy hermosa.”

It was the first time she had heard him speak Spanish and it sounded very sensual.  “What-what did you say?”

He moved closer.  “I said that you’re a very beautiful woman.”

“Thank you.”  She wondered what Teresa say about that.  “I didn’t think I was your type.”

“You’re exactly my type.  You’re beautiful, sexy and highly intelligent.”

“I thought Teresa was more your type.”

“Teresa is a very attractive woman but she doesn’t do anything for me.  You, on the other hand, drive me crazy…” He reached out, caught her by the waist and pulled her against him, making her gasp.  His smoldering eyes raked her upturned face before his mouth found hers.  Her eyes fell shut as his lips moved passionately on hers and her arms wound themselves about his neck.  She couldn’t believe that she was standing there in his office kissing him.

The knock on the door jolted them and they broke apart.  He leaned against the desk, breathing heavily and she frantically straightened her clothes and ran her trembling hand over her hair.  After he managed to compose himself, Franco called out, “Yes?”

The door opened and Teresa walked in.  She stopped half way, her gaze shifting from one to the other.  “The Board meeting is about to start in ten minutes,” she said.

Franco reached for his jacket and pulled it on.  “Thanks, Teresa.  I will head over now.”

Teresa lingered for a few minutes and then she left, leaving the door ajar.  Lavinia turned to face him.  “I really should get back to my desk.”

“I’ll see you later,” he said before he leaned over and kissed her on the side of her neck, making her tremble.  When he drew back to look down at her, his face was flushed.  He walked past her and out of the office.

She leaned against the desk for a few minutes, her mind whirling, trying to catch her breath and then, she left.  As soon as she sat down at her desk, Teresa was standing over her, livid.  “What were you doing in Franco’s office?” she demanded.

Lavinia raised her head and looked her calmly in the face and said, “That’s between Franco and me.  Now if you will excuse me, I have work to do.”

Teresa flounced away.  When Franco returned from the meeting, he called her into his office.  Since that day, there weren’t any more confrontations between Lavinia and her–not if she wanted to keep her job.  And Franco signed her up for the Getting Along in the Workplace course.  After their dinner date that night, Lavinia and he officially began dating.

The Preacher’s Son

63bd04344f09d5e8bd3b06820c0af8c2The first time I saw her, I knew that I was in very serious trouble.  We met at my sister’s wedding.  She’s my brother-in-law Jack’s secretary.  She went with a male co-worker and I went with Rachel, a woman I have been dating for a while.  Both our families have this expectation that we are next in line to get married.  I’m not sure why they think that.  Granted, Rachel is a terrific person, very beautiful and I enjoy her company but there was something missing.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

It wasn’t until I met Leila that I realized what was missing for me in my relationship with Rachel–sexual desire.  I never felt it for her but the moment I laid eyes on Leila, I wanted her.  After we met, I could hardly take my eyes off her and the first opportunity I got, I asked her to have dinner with me even though I was still dating Rachel.  Leila accepted.  I took her to a restaurant which had gotten rave reviews and we had a great time.  I asked her out after that and we started dating.  Things were going well.  I made sure that I never went to her place or she came to mine because I was afraid of what would happen.  It was hard being with her and not want to touch her. When I was with Rachel I thought about her and wondered if she was thinking about me.  For a long while, I was dating both women unbeknown to them.  Not the sort of thing you would expect from a preacher’s son, is it?

At nights when I was alone, I thought about Leila and what it would be like to make love to her.  Then, I recalled the scriptures in the Bible which spoke against pre-marital sex.  What was I going to do?  I wanted Leila but I couldn’t have her because of my religious convictions.  Should I break up with her and marry Rachel?  How could I marry Rachel when I didn’t love her?  I ended up breaking up with her much to our families’ chagrin.  It didn’t matter when I tried to explain to them that she would be better off with a man who would love her in return.  They made me feel like I had committed the unpardonable sin.  I knew that I had done the right and honorable thing.  If only I knew what to do about Leila.

Leila knew that I was a Christian but she didn’t know that my father was a preacher.  I wasn’t sure that I wanted to tell her that.  Would she treat me differently?  I thought of talking to my father about my relationship with her but I knew that he wouldn’t approve.  I can just hear him say, “You need to end your relationship with this woman because you aren’t like her.  She doesn’t believe in the things you do.  The two of you don’t belong together.  It’s like light and darkness which cannot be together.”

Last night when Leila and I were together, she said to me, “I’ve dated Christian men in the past but I never once thought that I would be attracted to one who’s younger and white until I met you.  You’re different.  I think about you constantly and I can’t help wondering what it would be like to sleep with you.”

I stiffened although my body was reacting to the idea of sleeping with her.  “Leila, I don’t think we should be talking about this…”

“I know that you’re a Christian and you don’t want to have sex before you get married, but there isn’t any harm in us kissing, is there?”  Before I could answer, she was kissing me.  Her hands were pressing down on my thighs as she leaned over.  We were in my car, parked outside of her building.  We had been to a Mozart concert.  The windows were rolled up and it was dark where we were so no one could see us.  I lost my head and kissed her back.

For several minutes, we exchanged passionate kisses and I was tempted–really, really tempted to go up to her flat with her but I had to be strong even if it killed me.  I groaned against her lips before I pulled away.  “I’m sorry, I can’t do this.”

She sat back in the seat.  “I’m the one who should be sorry,” she said.  “I shouldn’t have kissed you.”

“Leila, maybe we should stop seeing each other for a while,” I said.

“If that’s what you really want.”

“Leila…”

“Goodbye, Leif.” She got out of the car before I could say anything else and ran up the steps leading to the front entrance of her building.  I watched her go, my heart breaking.

Prodigal

The next several weeks were torture for me.  I thought about her every minute and missed her so very much.  I wanted to call her and tell her that I had made a mistake.  I wanted to drive over to her place and take her in my arms.  I was a wreck.  I couldn’t eat or sleep or think straight.  I went to church but I found no joy in it.  I went through the motions and I felt guilty.  I asked God to forgive me for allowing my feelings for Leila to replace my adoration for Him.

I decided to go away on a mission trip to Peru just to get my mind off my own problems and to focus on helping others and sharing the Gospel with them.  Unfortunately, being miles away in a foreign country and on another continent didn’t dampen my feelings for Leila.  I still wanted her.  I still ached for her.

It was harder at nights when I was alone.  During those times, I wished that she was lying next to me.  One night, I opened my Bible to 1 Corinthians 7 and the words, But if they cannot control their bodies, then they should marry. It is better to marry than to burn with lust” jumped out at me and I asked myself, Why don’t I marry Leila?  It made perfect sense to me.  I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life without her.  But then, at the more I thought about it the more I realized that it would be wrong to marry her just to satisfy my lust.  How could I be so selfish?  No, the best thing for me to do was to move on.

That was easier said than done.  I tried to move on with my life–forget about Leila by busying myself at work and church but nothing worked.  And now, several weeks since my return from Peru,  I’m standing in her flat, hands in pockets, facing her.

“So, how was your trip to Peru?” she asked.

“It was rewarding.”

“I see.”

“I miss you.  I think about you all the time.”

“I miss you too.”

“Leila, during these past several weeks, I have realized something really important.”

“What’s that?”

“I can’t live without you.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

“What are you saying, Leif?”

“I’m saying that I want to marry you, Leila.”

“You’re a preacher’s son, Leif.  I wouldn’t be a suitable wife for you.”

I stared at her.  “You know that my father’s a preacher?”

“Yes.”

“How long have you known?”

“Since we met.  Jack told me.”

“And it didn’t bother you?”

“No.  Why should it?”

“I was worried that it might, especially after you told me that church wasn’t for you.”

“I used to go to church you know but after a while I hated going because the single and married women didn’t like me.  The married women thought that I was after their husbands and the single women resented me because most of the single men were interested in me.  The guy I ended up dating dumped me after he became a deacon.  He said that I wouldn’t be suitable as his wife because I wasn’t a virgin.  I was good enough to sleep with but not to marry.  I left the church right after that.  I wasn’t right for him and I wouldn’t be right for you for the same reason.  How would it look a preacher’s son getting hitched to a sinner like me–a wanton woman–a woman of ill repute–a pariah?”

“You’re none of those things.  You’re a very beautiful and desirable woman.  It isn’t your fault that men want you.  And being a preacher’s son didn’t prevent me from going to wild parties and hanging out with the wrong crowd.  I’m not a virgin.  I had several girlfriends but what got me back on the right track was a pregnancy scare.  It turned out that my girlfriend’s period was late.  We were both relieved that she wasn’t pregnant. I cleaned up my act them.  I stopped partying, hanging out with the wrong people and decided that I would wait until I’m married to have sex again.  I became a born again Christian and you can do the same.  Nothing is impossible with God.”

“I still believe in Him even though I don’t go to church anymore.”

“I want you to know that He loves you, Leila.  He never stopped.  All He wants is to have a relationship with you if you will give your heart and your life to Him.  It isn’t too late to do so.”

“You sound like a preacher’s son,” she said, smiling.  Her eyes were moist as they met mine.  “Maybe that’s your calling–to follow in your father’s footsteps.”

“No, my calling is to remind people that God loves them like I’m doing right now.  And I believe that it was He who brought us together.”

“Do you really believe that?”

“Yes!  And I’m so thankful to Him because I love you, Leila.”  It was true.  I realized it last night.  I was in love with her.  I wasn’t marrying her to satisfy my lust.

“I love you too.  I didn’t want to fall in love with you because of our differences but I couldn’t help myself.”

“Sometimes the differences between two people can enrich their relationship because each person brings something to the other.”

“I’m not like you when it comes to spiritual things but I have a lot to offer you.”

“I know you do and that’s why I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”  I reached for her and pulled her into my arms.  “So, how do you feel about marrying a preacher’s son?” I asked.

She put her arms around my neck.  “I feel blessed and humbled,” she said simply.

I smiled and kissed her.  I too felt blessed and thankful because she was the woman I was meant to be with.

Source:  Lang-8

Alexi Goes to Ajax

Alexi stood outside the building where Ajax lived.  She had texted him on Monday to tell him that she would be stopping by to see him on Sunday.  He replied that he would be at home and to drop by any time.   Her heart was pounding like crazy and she needed a few minutes to compose herself.

A week had passed since she had bumped into him and it had bothered her to no end that he had been about to say something really important to her when they were interrupted.  What was Ajax going to say?  He didn’t look too pleased to see her with Gerrard.  The expression on his face was glacial and his greeting chilly.

When they were alone, he confronted her saying, “I thought you two were just friends.”  And after she assured them that they were, his response was, “I hope so.”  Taken aback, she immediately asked him, “Why?”  She was anxious to know why it was so important to him that Gerrard and she were just friends?  She didn’t get her answer because Gerrard rejoined them at that precise moment.  And his question, “Am I interrupting something?” irritated her.  Soon after that, Ajax mumbled something about an errand, excused himself and walked briskly away.

Alexi watched him go, frustrated.  “Gerrard, why couldn’t you have stayed on the phone a little longer?” she demanded, turning to face him.  “Ajax was about to tell me something very important.”

“I’m sorry,” Gerrard apologized.  “I could tell that I was interrupting something.  Ajax didn’t look too pleased to see me.  I think he would have liked it better if you were alone.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Come on, Alexi, don’t tell me you don’t know that Ajax has a thing for you.”

Alexi’s eyes widened.  “He does?”

“Yes!  You must be the only one in the group who doesn’t know that.”

She told him what transpired between Ajax and her while he was on the phone.  “What do you think he was going to tell me?”

Gerrard shrugged.  “I don’t know.  Maybe he was going to confess that he’s into you.”

Alexi sighed.  “I wish I knew what he was going to tell me.”

“Why don’t you go and find out?”

Alexi’s heart skipped a beat.  “You mean I should go and ask him?”

“How else are you going to know?”

The thought of being alone with Ajax made her extremely nervous but she had to know if Gerrard was right.  She hoped with all her heart that he was because she was crazy about Ajax and had been since they met three years ago at a mutual friend’s engagement party.  “All right,” she said.  “I’ll go and see him.”

“Good for you.   He’s a great guy.  If God is in this, it will work out.”

She smiled and kissed him on the cheek before they parted ways.  That night she prayed about what she was going to do and asked God to give her the courage to do it.  She told Him that if it was His will for Ajax and her to be together, then, His will be done.  And now, here she was, in front of his building, trying to summon up all the courage she had to face him.  After saying a quick prayer and taking a deep breath, she went down the stairs to where his apartment was and rang the bell.

Her heart lurched when he opened the door.  He looked amazing in the black tee shirt with the sleeves pushed up to his elbows and pale blue jeans.  Their eyes met and held for a long time before he said, “Hi.”  His expression wasn’t glacial this time.

“Hi.”

“Come in.”

She stepped into the foyer and removed her shoes.   “I hope you don’t mind me stopping by,” she said after he closed the door.

3J7A6866“Why would I?” he asked as he took her coat and hung it in the closet.  “Do you have a date?”  His eyes traveled over her and when they returned to her face, his expression was tense.

She shook her head at once.  “No, don’t have a date.”

“I saw the dress and thought…”

“Ajax, if I were going on a date, would it bother you?”

“Yes, it would, Alexi.”

“Why?”

“Isn’t it obvious?”

“Not to me.”

He turned so that he was facing her.  “I’m crazy about you.  I have been since the first day we met.”

She moved closer.  “What were you going to tell me last week Sunday when we bumped into each other?”

He moved closer.  “You mean before I was interrupted?”

She nodded as she took another step.  “Yes.”

“I was going to tell you what I just told you–that I’m crazy about you and that I wanted to be in a relationship with you.”

They were standing very close to each other now.  “I was hoping that that was what you were going to say,” she said, smiling up at him as he put his arms around her waist and pulled her against him.  She reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck.

He smiled and lowered his head.  They kissed for several minutes, savoring the moment and then, he raised his head.  “I think we should get out of here before we get ourselves into trouble.”

“You’re right.”

“Let’s go for a walk.  It looks like a beautiful afternoon and then afterwards, we have dinner at the Sacred Chow.”

“Sounds good to me.”

“All right.  I’ll just go and change.”  He reluctantly released her and left the living-room.  She wandered over to the window and looked out.  Soho was such a great neighborhood.  She loved it.

Half hour later, they were sitting in the Sacred Chow enjoying each other’s company and the Lemongrass Red Curry served over Asian noodles.   By the time the Christmas holidays rolled around, they were officially a couple, much to no one’s surprise.  Gerrard was right.  All of their friends knew that Ajax carried a torch for Alexi and they were thrilled that they were finally dating.  They knew that it was only a matter of time before there would be wedding bells.   “Just don’t wait another three years before you tie the knot,” Gerrard told him and they all laughed as they gathered in Grace’s home for Christmas dinner.  It was she who had introduced Ajax and Alexi three years ago at her engagement party.

They didn’t have to wait for three years.  On New Year’s Eve, Ajax and Alexi announced their engagement.   After the ball dropped in Times Square and everyone was singing, Auld Lang Syne, Ajax and Alexi prayed and thanked God for bringing them together.   God’s will had been done in their lives and now, they had a new and promising future to look forward to.

If whatever you ask God for is His will too, it will be done. 

Being True to Yourself

7653_t_1e9aa193-50be-4e07-8006-a69bcab56527“Lyndon, a group of us are going out for drinks after work.  Would you like to join us?” Jane asked him as he stopped by her desk to give her a brown envelope he wanted her to give to the mailman when he made his afternoon rounds.

“No thanks.  I already have plans for this evening.”

“Oh, yes, The Nutcracker Suite.”

Leela walked up just then.  “The Nutcracker Suite.  Is that the name of one of those fancy hotel rooms?  Is she anyone we know?”

Jane tried hard to keep a straight face while Lyndon’s face turned beet red.  He gave Leela as withering look as he muttered, “It’s the name of a ballet.”  Then he did an about turn and strode off, his back straight as s rod.

As soon as he was out of earshot, Jane doubled over with laughter.  “Why do you let him think that you’re ignorant when it comes to the Arts and the finer things in life?” She asked when she stopped laughing.

Leela shrugged.  “I enjoy getting a rise out of him.”

“You like him, don’t you?”

“A lot of good it does me.  It’s obvious that he can’t stand me.”

“Well, what do you expect?  You’re always teasing him.  If you want him to like you have to try a different approach.  You know what some of his interests are, talk to him about them.”

“All right.  I’ll do that.  I’ll pass on going for drinks.  I think I will stay here at the office and do a little extra work.”

Jane gave her a knowing look.  “Good for you.”

Leela smiled and went back to her cubicle.  As soon as five o’clock arrived and everyone had left, she got up from her desk.  She headed straight for Lyndon’s office.  His door was opened so after a knock on the door to let him know that she was there, she walked over to his desk.  He looked up from what he was doing and she could tell from the expression on his face that he wasn’t at all pleased to see her.

“I would like to finish this report before I leave,” he said.

“I won’t take up much of your time,” she said as she sat down opposite him.  “I came to apologize.”

His eyebrows rose.  “Apologize?”

“Yes, for my remark about The Nutcracker Suite.  I was just pulling your leg.  I know that it’s a ballet.  I’ve seen it twice.  It’s one of my favorite ballets.  My other two favorites are Giselle and Swan LakeSwan Lake was Tchaikovsky’s first ballet.”

She had his attention now.  “You know your ballet,” he remarked.

“I’m not only a big fan of ballet but opera as well.  I love La Traviata,La Bohème, Rigoletto, Tosca and The Marriage of Figaro.”

“That’s a very impressive list.  What about Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute and the Barber of Seville?”

“I’ve always wanted to see those as well as Aida but never got the chance.”

“I hope you get the opportunity to see them.  They are masterpieces.  Tell me, what else do you enjoy?”

“Well, I enjoy good books such as Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, To Kill A Mockingbird, Lolita, Anna Karenina and Beloved by Toni Morrison.  And as far as plays go, I love anything by Henrik Ibsen.  I think he was a male feminist.”

Lydon smiled.  “I suppose you’re right about that.  In A Doll’s House, he was basically saying that Nora didn’t have to remain as her husband’s “doll,” but that she can be independent.  What about other works from other playwrights like Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Eugene O’Neill?”

She shrugged.  “I have read all of their plays but I’m more partial to William Shakespeare, Ibsen and Chekhov.”

“Are you familiar with August Strindberg?”

She shook her head.  “No.  Is he a playwright?”

“Yes.  He has written several plays.  I have a volume with five of his plays in it–The Father, Miss Julie, The Dance of Death, A Dream Play and The Ghost Sonata.  I could lend the volume to you if you like.”

Leela smiled.  “I would like that very much.  Thanks, Lyndon.”

“Tell me something.  Why do you give the impression that you’re not cultured?  Why do you come across as if you don’t know the difference between Art and the Arts.”

qLBb61ET_t“I’ve discovered that although men may like the idea of dating a smart woman, they don’t actually want to date one.  I’ve been dumped by several men because I was too smart.  I like to have intellectual and philosophical discussions but that was a big turn off for them.  They wanted to talk about sports, music, money, fitness, television and movies, clothes, work, food, travel, cars and guy things.  I don’t have a problem talking about these things but not all the time.  The minute I bring up something that interests me, they either change the subject or signal for the check.  And I don’t hear from them again.  One guy even said to me that he wants to wake up in the morning next to beauty not brains.  So, my solution to my dating problem was to pretend that I wasn’t all that smart and it worked.  I had no trouble getting and keeping dates.  Then, one night when I was lying in bed, I remembered what Polonius said to his son, Laertes before he left for Paris.”

“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

“Yes.  That was very good advice and I decided to take it.  So, at the moment, I’m not dating anyone.”

“Not all men are intimidated by smart women.  I’m not.  And I think it’s important that we don’t diminish ourselves to please others.  Besides, it was God who blessed you with an intelligent mind.”

“Yes, He did.  Lyndon, I should leave now.  I don’t want to keep you from your date.”

“Actually, it isn’t a date.  I’m taking my niece.  It’s her birthday and she has always wanted to see The Nutcracker.”

“Oh.  You’re taking your niece.”  Leela was relieved.  “What a great birthday present.  She must be so excited.  She will love the ballet and so will you.”

“Yes, I’m sure we will.”

Leela stood up.  “Have a good evening and weekend.  I’ll see you on Monday.”

He stood up too.  “Leela, are you busy tomorrow evening?”

She shook her head.  “No.”

“How-how would you like to have dinner with me at the Les Enfants de Boheme?”

“I’d like that very much.”

He smiled.  “Good.  I’ll pick you up at your place at seven.”

She wrote down her address and phone number on the notepad on his desk.  “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“See you tomorrow.”  He watched as she walked out of his office before he went behind the desk again and sat down.  He was looking forward to their date.  Finally, he had found a woman right up his alley.

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”– Frederick Douglass

Sources:  Literary Devices; Huffington Post; ListVerse; Udiscover Music; The Talko; Develop Good Habits

Francis Finds Love and Faith

“Why haven’t you been by the house?  Are they working you too hard?  When is the last time you went to confession?  When are you going to settle down and get married?”  Mrs. De Vries demanded as her son, Francis walked out of the courthouse and into the late afternoon sunshine.  It had been a hectic day and all he wanted to do was to go home and crash.

“Mother, I’m perfectly happy with my life,” he told her wearily.  “I haven’t been by the house because I have been very busy on a case which was wrapped up a short while ago.  I haven’t been to confession for over a year and I’m not ready to get married as yet.”

He didn’t tell her that he hadn’t been to confession or the church because he was seriously considering leaving the faith.  And the allegations of sex abuse at the hands of the clergy didn’t help.  He knew of one girl he used to go to school with who was a victim but was afraid to say anything because she was afraid that her parents would kick her out of the house.  The last he heard of her, she had left the church and married a Protestant.

He grew up in a strict Catholic home where he was taught never to question the church because to do so was a grave sin.  So, he kept quiet, went to Mass every Sunday with his family, had his First Communion and Confirmation.  He still remembered what happened to his girlfriend, Sophia when she was 16 and preparing Confirmation.  She was in the Children’s Room and she had to write down the sins she had committed against God.  When she told the priest that he had made out with her boyfriend, the man looked at her and told her that she was going to hell.  Distraught and terrified at the thought of burning for eternity, she ran out of the room in tears. Francis never saw her again.  He just went to church to please his mother.  But he could feel himself becoming more and more disconnected to the faith.

“Francis?  Are you still there?”

“Yes, Mother.”

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing, Mother.”

“Marian is having her First Communion next week Sunday.  You are going to come for that, aren’t you?  Everyone will expect to see you.”  Marian was his 7 year old niece.

He didn’t really want to go but he knew he would never hear the end of it if he didn’t show up.  Besides, he didn’t want to disappoint Marian.  “All right, Mother.  I’ll be there.”

“Good.” She sounded very pleased.  “Afterwards, we’ll go over to the house and have a big meal to celebrate.”

“Sounds good.  I have to go now, Mother.”

“All right, Francis.  I will call you again during the week to remind you.”

“I will write it down in my calendar so that I won’t forget.”

“Just the same, I will call and remind you,” she insisted.

He sighed.  “All right, Mother.”

“Have a good weekend.”

“Thanks.  You too.”

“Make sure you go to church on Sunday.  I pray for you everyday, you know.”

“That’s sweet of you, Mother.  I really have to go now.  Goodbye.”

“All right.  Goodbye, Francis. Ik hou van je.”

Ik hou ook van jou.” He ended the call and got into his car.  The sun was setting as he pulled out of the parking lot.  He couldn’t wait to get home and take a long, hot shower before ordering Take Out Thai.  He didn’t have any plans for the weekend.  He was going to be a couch potato for once.

About forty minutes later, he was riding up the elevator.  The doors opened and he headed down the long hallway to his unit.  As he was about to insert the key in the lock, the door opposite his opened and his neighbor, Briana came out of her unit.  Her gaze traveled over his tall frame.   “Hi,” she said.  2451262bc76a34995bfa6c2e7db55843

“Hi.” She had her jacket draped over her arm and her knapsack was on her shoulder.  “Going on a date?” he asked.  He always wanted to find out if she had a boyfriend but never quite knew how to broach the subject without coming across nosy.

She shook her head.  “No.  I’m going to the Living With Hope Evangelistic meetings.  Tonight’s the first meeting.  It ends next week Sunday.”  She showed him the flyer.

He took it from her and studied it.  It looked very interesting.  It started at 7 which was a hour away.  “Do you mind if I come with you?” he asked.

She shook her head again.  “No, not at all.  Have you eaten?”

“No.”

“Neither have I.  I got in a short time ago and didn’t have time to eat anything.  We can grab something on the way.”  They took her car.

As they sped down the high-way, they talked about all sorts of things.  She asked him about his job and he told her about the case he won earlier that day.  His client was found not guilty because of reasonable doubt.  “Do you think he was innocent?” she asked.

“Yes.  And I established that the foreman at the firm as a very possible suspect.  He had motive and opportunity.”

“Well, congratulations.”

“Thanks.  You’re a Physical Therapy Assistant, right?”

“Yes.”  He remembered.  “I love it.  I love helping people.  That’s something you and I have in common.”

He smiled.  “That’s true.”

“So….do you have a girlfriend?”  She knew he wasn’t married.

The question took him by surprise and it took him a moment to reply.  “No, I don’t have a girlfriend.  What about you?  Do you have a boyfriend?”

She shook her head.  “No.  I’ve gone out with a couple of guys but nothing panned out.  We’re approaching Carroll Ave where the church is,” she added. “There are several food places in the area.  What do you feel in the mood for?”

“Is there a Middle Eastern place?”

“Yes.  It’s right up here.”  She pulled into the parking lot and found a parking space in front of the restaurant.  They walked in and over to the Take Out area.  “I’m going to have the Chicken Shawarma.  What about you?”

“I think I will have the Lamb burger.”  His mouth watered as he thought having it with fries.

They ordered and then they went to the car and she drove to the church.  They sat in the car and ate.  He encouraged her to try the fries.  “Next time I think I will try the Lamb Burger.  It looks really good.”

“If you don’t have other plans, I was thinking that tomorrow night after we leave here, we could go a really nice family run Lebanese restaurant in Washington.”

She smiled.  “I would love to.”

They finished eating and then it was time to head inside.  They were hooked the first night and looked forward to going the following night.  Night after night they went to the series together and had dinner afterwards.  By the end of the series, they both decided to regularly attend the church hosting the series.  They each received the Discover Bible Guides from the pastor of the church which they eagerly went through. Then, in the Spring the following year, they were baptized.

At first, Francis’ mother was bitterly disappointed that he had left the Catholic faith but when she saw how happy he was, she relented.  And she was relieved to see that he had a girlfriend.  She became very fond of Briana and even taught her how to make some traditional Dutch dishes.

Two years later, Francis and Briana tied the knot in a simple but elegant ceremony.

 

Sources:  Huff Post; Corpus Christi; Tahoma Park Church

The Second Date

Marla was taking a stroll on her last vacation day in the summer, enjoying the quiet neighborhood close to where she lived and the beautiful weather when her cell rang.  It was Dean.  Smiling she answered it.  “Hi, Dean.

“Hi, Marla.  I just wanted to call and tell you that I had a really great time last night.”

They had dinner at the swanky Polo Bar.

“Me too.”

“You mentioned that you like Jazz so I was wondering if you would like to go to Bill’s Place with me tonight?”

“Sure, I’d love that.”

“Good.  I’ll pick you up at seven.”

“It’s a date!”

He smiled.  “Yes, it is.  The second of many, I hope.”

Sources:  Trip Advisor; Conde Nast Traveler;