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After some months in waiting
The lightning flashed, brightening an otherwise gloomy mid-afternoon sky. A loud thunder roared. The sky opened up, pouring a ferocious rain upon the parched ground.
A smack on the buttocks at a nearby hospital, the newborn cries his first breath. After some months in waiting, Orville James had at last arrived. The baby wrapped snuggly in a blanket, the doctor tenderly hands him to the proud father.
“Your son,” the doctor said.
With his baby son in his arms, the dad leans over and kisses his wife, lying there on that hospital delivery room bed.
“Our third son,” he said with a wink, placing baby Orville in his wife’s arms.
He’s beautiful,” the wife said, beaming, counting her newborn’s little fingers and toes. She accustomed to doing, having done so birthing Orville’s three older siblings.
A Hearty Welcome Home
“They're here,” exclaims little Bella Joy peering out the window at seeing her parents’ car pull into the driveway, excited with the opportunity to welcome her new baby brother, Orville James, home.
Older brothers Oliver Jacob and Owen Jack eagerly join their little sister now opening the front door, their Auntie Bella (whom little Bella is named after) now joining them.
“Hello, you three, and you too Auntie Bella,” the father says in greeting his three older ones and sister-in-law. “And here he is what you three, and four, have been longing to see these nine months,” the father continues stepping aside permitting his wife to enter holding her newborn.
“Let me see, let me see,” little Bella Joy screams jumping up and down.
“Now you hold on there,” Auntie Bella says trying to calm down her young niece.
The father readies a rocking chair for his wife to sit down. Sitting, Orville James still in her arms, she pulls back the blanket for all to see the sleeping baby. His older siblings gather nearer.
“Aw, he’s cute,” said little Bella Joy. “I made a birthday cake for you little brother, with Auntie’s help of course. But I think we’ll have to keep it until you get older for you to eat it.” The brothers all smiled broadly, chuckling.
The days and weeks and years past and Orville James too grew, but that first cake didn’t keep – just a new cake every year, as he was able to chew more and more.
Ah, in growing, how Orville James learned to love his older siblings, his parents, and Auntie Bella. But in growing there developed an inner struggle.
Fifty years later
Orville James is sitting in his apartment, sensing the Lord’s presence there as well. Flashes of lightning outside, cracks of thunder, and the pounding rain perfectly define the state of Orville’s inner struggle – that struggle he had been coping with since early childhood.
“Lord Jesus,” Orville prays, “I’m content here. But, please, help me in my discontent, as I desire not to continue here the rest of my physical existence. Only you know, of course, Lord, when the end of my time here on earth is to be.”
Alone there, physically, Orville James reflects on his past. He graduated from college a generation ago; even then he was a few years older than most of his college classmates. And, having returned to his alma mater, he finds himself… “Oh, wow,” he muses, “I must be … ah, well, hmm … at least possibly some years older than even most of the faculty/staff here now.”
From his daily reflection upon God’s Word, Orville James is continually impressed with God’s loving care for him. And all through the Bible as well Orville is continually refreshed that he is not to fear, in such and in weakness, God is his strength, no matter what may come.
“After all,” he somberly thinks, expressing his thoughts to the Lord, “I’ve no ‘fattened financial portfolio’ to enable me to ‘take mine ease and eat, drink, and be merry’ – hmm, not much of one anyway. Anyhow,” brightening, “there’s nothing greater to rely on for all my needs, through all my days, thank you, Lord Jesus.”
He rises, roaming about the tiny apartment, “Neither do I have much in the way of worldly possessions. Here it is, all of it, right here,” he scans about the room – every nook and cranny. Hence, he chuckles, “Come my ‘upward calling’, whenever and however that may be, there will not be much of my belongings left behind for pilfering, hmm.” A brief pause, then chuckling, “Ha, ha, sorry, world.”
”Ah,” Orville considers, “Certainly, in these days, it would be more pleasurable to have my own rented house to spend these days at home, at my continue laboring for God’s Kingdom here on earth, while watching for King Jesus’ return, and with my wife.”
“My wife? Ah,” he sighs, questioning, sitting again, and pulling up a picture of Olivia Jane on his smartphone. “Could that still be possible, Lord, a wife for me still yet?”
Neighbors, and residing in the same apartment building – in essence, just next door – Orville and Olivia had become good friends. “But, anything more than that,” he ponders. Being members of the same church as well, they have at times shared a ride to church.
Olivia, a college student at his alma mater, yet several years younger than Orville, returned to her home across the seas for the summer. By the clock, a whole twelve hours away, when she’s getting her night’s rest, Orville is up, going about his day, and vice versa.
Orville recalls taking her to the airport for her flight home and is expecting to get her again upon her return for the next semester. In the meantime, while apart, he wonders, maybe even wishes for them both, the truthfulness of that familiar saying: “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
They’re connected: friends, neighbors, of the same church, and siblings in Christ. Orville muses, “Maybe my meeting her is another reason for my continuing here for a time. Although she having been in the church for a couple of years, I had not been much aware of her presence, before we became neighbors.”
How he has enjoyed her company, and those occasional Sundays riding to church together. Never had Sundays seemed so far apart. Hearing her sweet voice over the telephone, he so enjoys too, recalling one of those times:
“Hi, Olivia,” Orville answers, he recognizing her voice, and her always-pleasant foreign accent.
“Orville,” responds Olivia, “Are you home? Or are you out on your walk?”
“I’m home,” Orville said. “I just got in from my walk. What’s up?
“Have you had supper yet?” Olivia asks.
“Well, ah,” Orville says, curiously, “no.”
“I made a little extra stew,” Olivia said. “I would like to share some with you if you would like?”
Something she had occasionally done for him – stew, or some recipe of her homeland – and he had always accepted her kindness, he perhaps considering the familiar phrase, “a way to a man’s heart…” But alone, it always was, not sitting right with either of them, not to be alone together in either’s apartment, they each being single persons. Such were pleasant times together, even in that way.
“Ah, but what am I thinking,” Orville considers, musing over it all in his apartment. “A wife yet for me?”
Orville has never been much of an outgoing person – all his life. Consequently, he has never known what’s it like to really have a girl friend, to walk hand in hand with a girl, to hold a girl close knowing he loves her and she loves him, to be married, to have a family – hence, marriage for him, unthinkable?
“So why should I think of having a girl friend – a wife – now,” he sighs, viewing Olivia’s picture again on his smartphone. “But then, too, I’m not getting any younger. And that’s hard to cope with, going through this period of my life alone.”
And so he prays, “Dear Lord Jesus, bless Olivia back in her homeland. Protect her. Keep her safe, and keep her always aware of your presence. Make her a blessing of your love to whom all you would have her meet. Give her an understanding of your will and ways for her – and for us, as you so please.”
The storm ceases; darkness has fallen; Orville sleeps, nestled in the grace of God that is all-sufficient, his subconscious musing over his past years.
To be continued…
© 2017 Charles Newcombe