Jeff Discovers New Hope for Life
It was a morning just like all his previous mornings: wake up, wash, dress, eat, go to work, but today would be different. Today would be the day that Jeff discovered a new hope for his life. Again he had the niggling feeling that there was something missing in his life. Jeff was no stranger to these feelings. He didn’t know why they were happening. They had been annoying him for months.
“Why do I feel like this?” he grumbled to himself, getting his keys from his pocket, frustrated at never getting an answer.
Closing the door of his house, he walked to his car. The ‘something’ unsettled him; he had a good job, nice house, good friends, and there wasn’t anything that he needed. Occasionally, fear gripped his heart; today was one of those days. It was not fear of danger, but rather a fear of insecurity, that something was going to happen to change his life.
A deep emptiness hung over him like a heavy cloud. His routine life had become boring and bereft of any significant meaning. He had become increasingly moody around his family, and he didn’t like it.
“What’s the problem with you?” his wife would exclaim.
“I don’t know,” was the only reply he could give in answer to her question.
It was the truth; he didn’t know. He wished he did.
In the late-dawn of the day, it was cold, dark, and rainy, and he was stuck in traffic. Absentmindedly he watched tiny red water droplets roll down the windscreen. They joined together to become rivulets, before the windscreen wipers brushed them away, and the process began again.
Car headlights momentarily blinded him while he waited for the lights to change. Yellow droplets rolled down the windscreen, instantly turning green before being wiped away. He shook himself into action: first gear, move forward. Second, third, top. Concentrate. Lights and buildings flashed by – snapshots of impressionist paintings brushed in water on the window – streaky and colourful. Dawn crept in, diluting the artwork.
His drive to work usually took about an hour, this time it was longer: there were roadworks, diversions. He had never travelled this road before. Peering through the windscreen, he spotted the diversion signs, picked out in the beam of his headlights. Yellow boards and black arrows pointing left and right. Turn left next junction.
He turned, then rounding a bend his headlights lit up a white banner in the blackness. He quickly read the words; then the banner was gone. It was brief, just a second, a fleeting glimpse, but it was long enough for the words to speak into his subconsciousness.
Something happened: his heart began beating rapidly, his breathing came in short bursts, huff and puff, like he was running. Inhale. Exhale. Breathe in, breathe out. He stopped the car. It wasn’t safe to drive any longer. His heartbeat and breathing were out of control. Was he ill? He was scared.
He reversed the car back to where he had seen the banner. It was just short of the bend in the road. He had to make sure he was correct about what he had seen. It was the building he noticed first: a church hall. His mind quickly replayed all that had happened. Then the words hit him right between the eyes, and he realised that the ‘something’ that had been missing in his life was God.
His heart beat wildly, his breathing shallow. “Slow, inhale, exhale,” he told himself. “Calm down.” He shone his torch at the banner. There: those words, as he had seen them. He read the words again, to make sure.
Nothing had ever spoken to him as directly as these did. He knew they were true. He knew that he had to do something. Jotting down the telephone number of the church, he promised himself that today he would give them a call and talk to someone.
The rain had stopped as he got back into his car. Today would be different. He knew it. He would never be the same again. He felt peace in his heart. First gear. Second. Third, then into the steady flow of traffic.
Winner of the Faithwriters.com weekly challenge competition – Exhale – August, 2013