James Lindquist Books

James Lindquist Books

 The Final Cup | Back to Eden | Seeking God | Seeking Man | The Cobble Stone Road
| The Dead Know Nothing | 

Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three

Alex could tell by Sarah’s demeanor that she was struggling. He waited for her first words and when they didn’t come; he spoke. “Well my pretty, what is troubling you?”

It was her turn to speak, but she still hesitated for a moment. “I'm sorry I worried you Alex. I have some serious things to say, so no jokes, OK? Thank you so much for a lovely dinner. It was delicious. You cooked it to perfection as always. You are a sweet man.”

This sounded more like the One Minute Manager than anything. Just like Kenneth Blanchard teaches in his book, he'd just received the one minute of praise. He knew what was coming next.

“You’re welcome and thank you. What happened today? You look nervous and scared. Are you OK. Did someone hurt you? I tried calling you with both phones. I’m taking it for granted the cell service in the Port Angeles was intermittent if not nonexistent. Hooray for technology, right? Oops, sorry. Not being able to connect to you was worrisome. You mean everything to me Sarah. Sorry, finish what you were saying.”

“I’m fine, and no one hurt me. I’m sorry you couldn’t get in touch with me and suffered all that worry.”

“Hey, you’re safe now and that’s all that matters. I’m sorry for joking but that's me; it’s just a nerve mechanism. You know that. I couldn't handle it if something happened to you? I’m not lecturing, I am just concerned about what you’re having a hard time saying. Something is troubling you? I can tell. You know you can’t hide anything from me. If I can ease your pain? Just tell me.”

Her voice quivered. "Alex, you can do something." Sarah accented the word can and continued. "But you've been reluctant to do it. I’ve been going to church for four months now and…" she stopped to swallow and take a breath. "I enjoy going. It’s like I’m just now finding myself." Once more, Sarah swallowed hard. She was still struggling.

“Just let it go, honey. We’re all grown-ups here.”

She reached into herself and found the courage to speak. “Three weeks ago, I accepted the Lord into my heart and I haven’t been the same.”

Alex tried to keep from exhibiting his gritted teeth. He failed. “Why didn’t you tell me? If it has effected you that much why didn't you share.

“I'd have told you Alex, but I understand your resentment toward God and the church.”

“Is that all that’s bothering you Sarah?” He reached out to lay his hand on her forearm, but her arm stiffened. Alex pulled his hand back and scowled. “Whatever makes you happy? If you want to go to church. Go to church. I'm OK with you going. Don't misunderstand, I'm not giving you permission to go, I’m giving myself permission to be OK with your going. I'm not your boss. It’s just not for me.”

“There in lies the problem Alex.”

“Problem?”

“Yes, problem.” She puckered, and a tear exited her eye. “We have two different world views now. I love you. I want to do things right. Because of the contradistinction in those views, disagreements would flare, and sooner than later, we'd have dangerous arguments. With two different goals in life, we couldn't handle them.”

“What are you saying Sarah? Are you comparing me with your friends because I'm not a believer? I don’t care what someone else says. Worse yet, are you ashamed of me?”

“No, I’m not ashamed of you, but look Alex, it's starting. You’re getting defensive and if we continue, our emotions, spiritual awareness, and separate goals will block us from each other. I want to live the rest of my life one way and you want to live your life another. You know I love you, don't you?”

That didn’t sound good, Alex thought. First the startling news, “Lets talk,” now she affirms me of her love. What was going on here? Worse yet, what was coming next? That was always a pretense to trouble. “Don’t aggravate yourself into a heart attack Sarah, and just tell me what you are trying to say. I can take it, and yes, I love you to, and I believe I’ve made that clear since we've been together. What are you trying to say?”

“OK Alex. What I am trying to say is… and it's ripping my guts out to say this, but because of my salvation and our differing world views, I cannot live here with you anymore."

This came from nowhere and perplexed him. He fell back into his recliner. Boy was he wrong. She evidently could hide things from me. He didn’t want to yell, but he did, “What! Where did that come from?”

“I love God,” Sarah said, “and I want to please Him, but I also want to do things right for us. I don’t want to start out wrong.”

“Too late,” Alex said, “We’ve already been living together for a year and a half. We’ve already started, thank you very much. I thought we were doing pretty good, or at least I thought so.”

“Going to church comforts me, Alex. My repentance and salvation through Christ have convicted me into this decision and what we have is beautiful.”

“Then what’s the problem.”

“We are no longer in synch. We’re sleeping together Alex, and this displeases God, given the fact that we’re not married.”

Alex was so hurt, he felt like taking out the ring and tossing it into her lap, but he thought better of the action. Instead, Alex held back as best he could but said, “So, correct me if I’m wrong, you’ve made the unilateral decision to go your separate way without discussing it with me first and telling me the problem.”

“We’re discussing it now Alex.”

“The only problem here Sarah is, you’ve already decided. Where’s the warning before the decision? Is it my part to acquiese?” Alex ran both hands through his hair. “This can’t be happening.”

“Alex, I’ve asked you to go to church with me a number of times, and if you'd accept Christ. You have flat refused on these issues. I even tried sending two men from the church to talk to you. The guys at church say iron sharpens iron. I thought you’d be more comfortable with men instead of me and talking spiritual stuff. You still refused. Church is important, and I cannot, in good conscious, live here anymore. You are wondering of your part in our discussion? My moving out can end tonight and all it takes is your acceptance. You can end this right now Alex.

“Trust me, I love you enough to do things right before God. You are the only man for me and I will stay faithful to you. These last three years, I'm sure I’ve made that clear, but I can’t wait forever, and neither will God. I'm unsure how long my wait will be Alex, but I am sure, God will wait much longer.”

The box felt a little heavier in his pocket. The only thing he didn't want to do is lay a guilt trip on her and tell her his evening plans. It was time to man up and keep his mouth shut. One problem at a time. Not the best decisions are made in haste and in a hurtful frame of mind.

“We need space to sort things out,” Sarah said.

“We?”

“OK, Alex, I need space to rethink things, and I’ll be leaving tonight.”

Alex’s face soured, and he sat up, “What! In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a storm out there.”

Sarah ignored his emotional outburst and continued. “I've rented a place in town and that’s where I was today. I’ll leave you the address, but I ask that you do not come over or call for at least one to two days. We need time Alex, but I won't close the door on us and we can still contact each other, but only as friends. Not lovers. That means, no sleep overs. Say something Alex, please.”

“Wow, I never expected this. I'm at a loss. You understand why I am angry at God, but do you comprehend how much I love you. You are the love of my life. Everything I am is what I see in your eyes when you look at me. I’ve resented God, but I haven’t even thought about Him in years. It was a closed issue with me.”

"Yes Alex, I know that you love me and how much. It made this decision difficult. You've been angry a long time over their death. It is deep seated in your mind and I’m not insensitive to the fact. Everyone heals at different paces. Isn’t it time you let them go? Think what you are throwing away.

“I didn't know your parents, but I believe they are looking down on you saying, don't throw away the rest of your life because of something you cannot control. Don’t you think they’d want you to go on with your life and be happy? I’m so sorry Alex that they died, but it’s time to move on with your life. I have every confidence in you to lick this thing. Just don’t throw away the rest of your life." Sarah paused, "and I beg you, not to throw away the rest of our lives either."

Sarah's decision was like an arrow to his chest. It made him feel empty inside and like someone had reached in and tore out a piece of his heart. He’d heard about the phantom arm but never the phantom heart. Alex didn’t know what to say. He was seldom at a loss for words, but this blind sighted him. He blurted out, “God has done such a wonderful job, hasn’t He, Sarah? By allowing my parents to die a violent and premature death. I might add they were both His children. Where was God’s love and grace then? And now because of God and this church, you are leaving the man you portend to love. Excellent job God. Excellent job. That’s the way to take care of and protect your children. No thank you. I’ve been taking care of myself and us for a long time now. And I think I’ve done well for us. If you want to follow that path, it’s your decision. Go for it, it’s just not for me.”

Alex was saying things he didn’t want to convey but his Irish temper had reared its ugly head. “I’m sorry Sarah; I didn’t mean that, I’m just hurt and upset.”

“Yes, you did Alex. You meant every word, but I understand and forgive you. We need time apart, to think. We'll talk in two days. I think God put us together. He didn’t mean for us to live our lives together, separately.”

Sarah shifted to the edge of the couch and put her hand on Alex’s hand. She looked at him eye to eye. Sarah's eyes could turn a man to Jell-O. She had a warm touch. “I’m sorry Alex, but I have to leave tonight.”

“At least spend the night and we can talk in the morning. I’ll even sleep on the couch and stay home from work tomorrow. Whatever you need or want.”

“No Alex, I can’t do that. I can’t even give the appearance of sin. I’m sorry to drag this out past dinner, but I didn’t know how to tell you even after all the rehearsing I’ve done. I’ve been alone with my thoughts now for a few days. My decision hasn’t been fun for me either.”

“Please Sarah; do not go out in this weather.”

“I’m sorry Alex, but I have my bag in the car. This is not the right time for further discussion and given my repeated attempts at trying to convince you of Christ’s love, I’ll be leaving forthwith. We can discuss this further in two days.”

“Please Sarah, don’t do this. Not tonight.”

Sarah stood to go. “I’m sorry Alex, was there something you wanted to say tonight?”

“No. Forget it. It isn’t important.”

Alex stood and faced her, his lips puckered, and his voice quivered, “Please text when you get to where you’re going. I will eventually get the message.”

Sarah grabbed her coat and maneuvered around the couch, and drug herself to the door.

She faced Alex at the door, "I promise I’ll text, and I pray you let your parents rest in peace. And soon, Alex. For our sake. Please." A tear fell from her eye. Sarah walked outside, and left, taking with her his heart and life. Alex held his breath until he heard her car start. Maybe she would change her mind. Alex’ phone buzzed. It was from Sarah. She had texted her address to him. Moment’s later he heard her car rolling over the gravel as she drove away. He was alone.

The house fell silent. The only competing sounds were the rain beating on the roof, what wind there was whistling through the trees, and Sarah’s CD playing Fur Elise by Beethoven in the background. He took the little box out of his pocket and fell back into his recliner. Staring at the ring he planned to put on Sarah’s finger tonight, he dropped it into the waste basket. He laid his head back. His eyes welled up.

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