Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Suited for Blessing

With Christmas less than a week away, I want to take this opportunity to post a story I wrote three years ago that actually placed in the FaithWriters Writing Challenge. I hope it's a blessing to you.

By Lynda Schab

Stan finished putting on his suit. It was a bit tight but it would have to do. He looked at himself in the mirror and saw a tired, depressed, middle-aged man. A man who, at the moment, had lost pretty much everything in his life that meant the most to him. If it was possible to actually see emptiness, Stan saw it in the mirror that morning.

Missy left him two weeks ago. Well, he was actually the one to leave - at her request. And at the time, he didn't feel like arguing. Before he knew it, he was walking out the door, leaving his wife and two children, Justin and Stacy, behind.

He should have seen it coming. Stan had lost his second job in a year. He felt worthless as a man so he took out his frustrations on his family by yelling, criticizing, retreating, whatever he felt compelled to do at the moment. Finally, Missy couldn't take it anymore and she told him to leave. He didn't blame her; he would tell him to leave too.

Missy always talked about how blessed they were. She said she didn't care about how much money he made. They would move into a smaller home if they had to, or God forbid, put themselves on a budget! But that wasn't an option for Stan. He was used to living a certain way and he was determined to continue in this lifestyle.

The last thing Stan felt right now was blessed. Cursed was more like it. Losing two jobs in one year! He was now three months behind with the mortgage, and several other past-due bills were piling up. He wanted to be able to give his kids everything money could buy. And it killed him to know that he couldn't.
Of course, this time of year was the worst. The holidays just compounded his loneliness and made him even more depressed.

At least he'd gotten himself a job. Not one he was particularly proud of, and one that was only temporary. But it was something. At least he would be able to buy his kids a couple of presents. Maybe he'd walk around the mall after work and see if he could find that video game Justin wanted. And the doll Stacy had mentioned.

When Stan arrived at work, he adjusted his suit and took a deep breath. This is only temporary, he reminded himself. Then I'll get a real job. He took his seat and tried to act cheerful.

Two hours later, Stan looked up and was startled to see Stacy, his daughter, walking toward him. She was the prettiest little five year old he had seen all morning! Missy stood with all the other mother's, camera in hand.

"Hello there, little girl," Stan said in his best voice. "Come and tell me what you want for Christmas."

Stacy looked at him strangely for a moment, then climbed up on Stan's lap. With an earnest expression, she asked, "Santa, can you do miracles?"

Stan was flustered. He stammered, "Well, I suppose…"

"Because mommy said the present I want most would take a miracle."

"And what is the present you want most, Stacy?" Stan asked quietly. He realized he slipped by mentioning her name, but Stacy looked unfazed.

"I want my daddy to come home." Pools formed in Stacy's eyes and Stan blinked his own away.

When he could speak, he whispered to Stacy, "I'll tell you what. God is the one you should be talking to about miracles. And if you ask Him to give you your daddy back, I know He will."

"Promise?" Stacy looked up at her father unknowingly, hope seeping through her tears.

"I promise," said Stan.

Stacy hopped off Santa's lap and ran to her mother. Before walking away, Missy cocked her head at Santa, her face a mixture of curiosity and confusion.

For the rest of the afternoon, Stan put more "jolly" in his voice, more "Ho ho ho" in his laugh. No need to look for the video game or the doll. He would give his wife and kids a gift this Christmas that was worth more than money could buy. He would give them himself.

For the first time in months, Stan felt truly blessed.

Copyright 2004


terri said...

Hey Lynda - thanks for reading and finding my blog! Loved yours too. Do you want to trade links ?
Have a Merry Christmas and keep writing!

Mid Stutsman said...

Lynda, this was beautiful and so full of the reality of life and hope in the end!
Glad I can say I knew you when ;)