Dick stood and removed his hat. “Good afternoon, Alli. How has your morning been?” He pulled out a chair for her and she seated herself.
“Busy. I’ve been re-hemming a dress.”
Dick sat and crossed his arms on the table. “Busy is better than not busy.”
“You’re right,” Alli smiled. “How was your morning?”
Dick leaned back. “Exhausting. Today was one of the days I wish I wasn’t a bricklayer.”
Alli smiled sympathetically. “I know what you mean; I have those days too sometimes. But you just have to put one foot in front of the other and keep praying for God’s strength.”
“That I do,” Dick sighed. “It’s strength from the Lord that gets me through every day.”
A shadow fell on their table and Alli looked up to see Jane. She wore a friendly smile as she nodded at them. “Good morning you two. Today’s special is a turkey sandwich with a slice of apple pie. Would you like that, or do you want to look at the menu?”
“I think I’ll go for today’s special,” Dick answered.
Alli tucked a loose wisp of hair behind her ear. “So will I. Thank you, Jane.”
Jane nodded and hurried to the kitchen.
Dick turned back to Alli. “How are you feeling today?”
“Normal,” Alli shrugged. “Well, not normal, but no different from usual. I think I’ve come to the realization that I won’t ever feel quite right. I suppose God gave me a weak constitution for a good reason; I just don’t know what that reason is.”
Dick tightened his gaze on her. “There are times when we never do understand why God does things a certain way. But we don’t need to. The Lord just wants us to put all our trust in Him. He knows what He’s doing.”
Alli bit her lip thoughtfully. Why didn’t she have the same trust in God that Dick had? “It’s hard to trust God when everything in your life seems to be going wrong.”
Dick nodded encouragingly and she went on. “When Joseph disappeared at age seven and was never found, my faith in the Lord wavered. I didn’t understand what could be good about his disappearance. My mother stood by me, and, despite her own sorrow, she gave me much comfort and drew me back to the Lord. But when Mama and Papa died last year, I rejected the Lord completely. It wasn’t until I met you that I returned to Him.” She paused to take a deep breath. “I’m sorry for telling you what you already know.”
Dick shook his head. “No apology needed. You have had a difficult life and God has tested you many times. It’s so humbling to know that God used me to bring you back to him, especially since I’m not a strong Christian myself.”
“No, Dick, you’re much closer to the Lord than I am,” Alli protested. “You talk about Him all the time. You look at everything with eternity in mind. You put me to shame. One would think that with my past I would be thoroughly in love with the Lord.”
“Alli, don’t say that,” Dick insisted. “The devil puts those lies in your head to cause you to doubt; don’t give in. God is growing you. Over the past year that I’ve known you, I’ve seen you grow closer and closer to Him and love Him more.” He offered her a smile which she returned.
“Thank you, Dick.”
Just then, Jane’s daughter, Anna, approached their table. She held two plates which she set down in front of them. “Enjoy your sandwiches. When you’re finished, I’ll bring the apple pie.”
“Thank you, Anna,” Dick and Alli said in unison.
Alli glanced at Dick who closed his eyes and lowered his head. “Lord God, we come before You as humble servants, desirous to do Your will and honor You in all we do. We thank You for Your faithfulness to us in the past and pray for Your continued care in the future. Bless this food that You have given us and the day set before us. May You guide our thoughts, our words, and our actions. In Your Son’s name we pray, Amen.”
As they dug into their food, Alli’s mind flew back to last winter when they had first met. She was on lunch break and was on her way to the cafe. Slipping on some ice, she sprained her ankle. She smiled as she remembered a stranger leaning over her. He helped her up and inside the cafe. They ate lunch together and Dick began to ask questions about herself. They connected immediately and Alli quickly realized that Dick was a Christian. After eating, Dick insisted on paying for her plate. He then escorted her back to the shop. He even showed up at closing to walk her home.
A few weeks later, they found themselves both at the cafe for lunch at the same time. They connected further and a friendship was born. She began attending his church where she soaked up the sound teaching of the pastor. Over the next several weeks, they met often and conversed about the Lord.
“Enjoying your sandwich?”
Alli looked up. “I am. How about you?”
“Delicious. But you’re thinking about something.”
Alli smiled. It amused her how Dick could always see into her mind. “Yes. I was remembering how we first met.”
Dick laughed. “Yep, sure wasn’t a traditional ‘how-do-you-do,’ was it?”
“No, but it was better the way it was. You sure caught my attention right away; you were the only person who offered to help me.”
Dick shrugged. “I’m sure anyone would have assisted you had they noticed your predicament.”
“Oh no,” Alli shook her head. “Several people walked right past me.”
Dick shrugged. “It was God’s Providence, I suppose.”
Alli smiled and finished her sandwich. That was just like Dick–always redirecting the praise to the Lord.
Anna suddenly appeared with two plates of apple pie. Clearing the sandwich plates, she set them down. “Enjoy.”
Alli reached for her fork but abruptly stopped and turned to glance at the clock on the wall behind her. “Oh, Dick, I have to be back at the shop in five minutes.”
“Here, let’s ask Jane to save these for us. We can eat them after we get off work tonight. I’ll be right back.” He scooped up both plates and walked to the front counter.
When he returned, he pulled some crumpled bills from his pocket and laid them on the table.
“Oh, no, Dick—“
“No, Alli, lunch is on me today.”
Lowering her chin, she smiled gently. “Thank you, Dick. You’re very generous.”
Offering his arm, Dick led the way out of the cafe and onto the street. A moment later, they arrived at the seamstress shop.
“I’ll pick you up tonight for our dessert,” Dick said as he stepped backward toward the street.
“See you then.”
I’ll post again later today about our Christmas festivities. Until then, everyone have a blessed day! Remember Christ’s birth, and enjoy family and friend time!
Featured image taken from Stock Snap.