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Lora’s Lesson

If you had asked Lora she would have told you that there was nothing wrong with her. In her eyes she was perfectly alright and in no need of change. But if you asked those close to her they might have said, “She can be cold and prickly.” Or “Sometimes she seems rather hard.” Only one person really might have understood her. One who had been so close at one time that instead of calling each other friends they referred to one another as sisters. But Lynn had been out of the picture for over four years now.

Lora was a conscientious employee and worked very hard for nine years but in the past four years she had become more and more cantankerous, and critical, often blowing up over minor mistakes by fellow employees. In fact lately the other employees had started to avoid her. She’s noticed that she was spending more lunches alone. Puzzled by this, she couldn’t put her finger on the reason why. She had always seen herself as gregarious, outgoing and a lot of fun, all of which were true as long as you didn’t cross her. It was sometimes very tricky to pinpoint what she’d done. She was very charismatic and cut you with humor while smiling all the time. While you’re left wondering what just happened?

Lora didn’t always abuse her charisma. In fact it is was what attracted Lynn to her in the first place, as well as her humor, playfulness, compassion, loyalty and empathy. Lynn’s heart broke when their friendship fell apart. She has been hoping that they could find a way to reconcile. Her nightly prayer was; “Lord, I know what I did was wrong and I have asked Your forgiveness, which I thank You for giving me. Father, I have tried to speak to Lora to apologize and ask her forgiveness but she won’t take my calls; she returns my mail and refuses to open the door when I go to her house. Lord, please soften her heart that she would be willing to accept my apology and that our friendship would be restored. I so miss the old Lora.”

The two women had been friends since that first day of first grade. They met on the play ground when bullies were taunting Lynn a spunky and feisty Lora came to her rescue. This sealed their friendship. Not that Lynn needed defending but even at that tender age Lora had a tender heart coupled with a take charge streak.

Time went on, and when the girls reached high school they blossomed into beautiful, popular, young women. They were both on the girls varsity volleyball team. Lora was of course the team captain. They were also very involved in the drama department. This is where Lynn shone. She got the lead in nearly every production, and Lora was always there to cheer her on.

In her junior year, Lynn fell madly in love with Curtis Madding the varsity quarterback. They started dating in November and things started getting serious by Christmas. She started feeling pressured to go all the way. Curtis had big plans for New Year’s Eve. When he let Lynn in on the scheme she felt half exhilarated but mostly terrified. She had visions of how the night would go; dinner at a fancy restaurant, going dancing afterwards, and then a romantic intimate encounter in the hotel room. Things were going just as Lynn had imagined. They had a lovely dinner at “Pierre’s” the most expensive restaurant in town. Curtis had arranged for fake ID’s for them and Lora and her date Tom. So after dinner the four of them met at the “Club Venice”. Lynn was apprehensive about this because she had seen Curtis overdue on alcohol before and really didn’t want to be around him when he was drunk. As she suspected the first thing Curtis did at the club was to order a beer and chasers. She went to Lora and said, “I’m getting scared, Curtis keeps drinking and he is getting more and more aggressive, and demanding. I tried to get him to stop but he pinned me against the wall. Can you and Tom please give me a ride home?” Lora was distracted by the party atmosphere had no desire to leave so she replied, “Oh, Lynn don’t be such a baby. It’ll be okay. He’ll probably just pass out and sleep it off” Lynn pleaded, “Do you have your cell phone or can I use Tom’s phone to call my dad to pick me up?” Lora responded, “No I didn’t bring a purse with me I knew Tom would be taking care of everything and I’m not going to bother Tom with your hysteria! Honestly, buck up everything will be okay, you’re such a worry wort.” Lynn walked away feeling deflated and abandoned. She realized she was stuck, that Curtis was her only way home, perhaps she could reason with him. Deciding to numb her fears she ordered a rum and coke. She was still nursing it when midnight hit and Curtis pulled her toward him and gave her a sloppy French kiss then said, “Come on baby it’s time to go.”

He grabbed Lynn’s arm hard and dragging her out of there, much to her dismay. Before she knew it she was in his truck on the way to the motel. All the way she kept telling Curtis, “Please, no! I don’t want to anymore! I’ve changed my mind! Curtis, please take me home! Oh, please, please, no!” Curtis replied only once, “Look you stop being such a tease! I’ll take you home when the evening is over and it’s not over yet you bitch!”

They pulled into a sleazy motel on the far side of town. The parking lot was almost deserted. Curtis told Lynn to keep her trap shut or there would be hell to pay. He threatened her that while he got the key if she tried anything he would make her life a living hell. “You know that there is no way you can out run me,” he terrorized, “so don’t even try.” Once at the room, she was in such a state that she didn’t even think to lock her door before he came around opened the door and jerked her out of the truck. Again dragging her this time into the motel room, she cried, “No, no, no, please no!” Once in the room Lynn continued to try and reason with him, “You don’t really want to do this Curtis. Please think about it.” Curtis replied, “You knew that tonight was the night. You’re nothing but a tease. I held up my part of the evening. I gave you all the romance you wanted; an expensive dinner, dancing and now it’s your turn!”, as he threw her on the bed and covered her mouth to muffle her screams. Lora cried through the whole ordeal. When it was over Curtis said, “Get yourself together and I’ll take you home!” The hatred and coldness in his voice scared Lynn. She sat in utter silence all the way home. Nothing was said by either of them once the truck stopped in front of her house; she just jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the house and upstairs to her room.

Thank God mom and dad weren’t home yet, they were still celebrating. Lynn was not ready to face them. She got her night clothes and went to the bathroom for a long hot shower. She scrubbed long and hard to get the scent of Curtis off of her and wept the entire time. An hour and a half later she was in bed still weeping more softly now than when she was in the shower. She wasn’t sure how long she lay in bed trying to muffle her sobs with her pillow. Eventually she fell into a fitful sleep.

The next morning Lynn awoke in pain from the forcefulness of Curtis and exhausted. Her mom told her that Lora was on the phone, Lynn responded, “Tell her I’m not interested in talking with her.”; realizing this might make her mom curious. She added, “Tell her I’ll call her back later, I’m just too tired still.” She was conflicted, Lora was her best friend and she desperately needed someone to talk to but Lora was also the one that had bailed on her last night. She couldn’t help but feeling angry at Lora. “How could she leave me in his company? After all, she’s seen what he’s like drunk. What would make her think last night would be any different and I told her about the plans for the evening? How could she not know what happened was going to happen? I hate Curtis and I never want to see him again and I think I hate Lora and I don’t really want to see her!” Lynn spent the majority of the day in her room in bed. She had come down to have a light breakfast and lunch for she truly wasn’t hungry and was only keeping up appearances. Mom had made some comment about her still being in her pajamas at breakfast, so Lynn dressed not wanting to arouse suspicions.

Later in the afternoon while Lynn was still lying on her bed in bounced Lora. Lynn’s mom had let her in not knowing anything was wrong and told her that Lynn was in her room. Lora was all excited, completely oblivious to Lynn, “Tom asked me to go steady last night isn’t that just great? I couldn’t believe it when I heard it! I even said, ‘What?’ Can you believe it? How embarrassing! But he said it again and it was true after going out only two weeks he wants to go steady! Jeez that man moves fast! And he made it the best night ever! When he came to my door he had a single red rose – isn’t that romantic? Then he took me to the “Quiet Cannon” it had a beautiful ocean and starry night view. After dinner we had a delicious dessert a chocolate mousse that had so many layers of flavors in it, it was amazing! I’m sure I could taste hints orange and maybe some raspberry as well, dark chocolate blended with real whip cream and whatever else they put in it. It was stupendous! Then of course we met you and Curtis at the Club and danced the night away. We didn’t see you leave but when the club closed we went to a scenic point and talked and talked. That’s when he asked me to go steady with him. And of course I said yes.” Lynn had been ignoring Lora and her borage of words, for that’s all they were to her. Finally Lora realized that Lynn was not acting herself. “Hey, what’s with you?” asked Lora. Something broke in Lynn and she was no longer sad and stunned, now she felt rage. “I asked you to take me home and you wouldn’t!!! And, and, and, oh, why couldn’t you have listened to me and done what I had asked?!?! You were so in to Tom that you totally ignored me!!” She screamed. Luckily for Lynn the rest of the house was empty: her mom had gone shopping, her younger brother Georgie had gone to his friend’s house, her older brother was with his girlfriend and dad had gone to his Brother Bob’s house to watch the games, so only Lora was privy to her screaming. “What has you so upset? What on earth did I do? As I recall we were all having fun.” said Lora dumb founded. “Don’t you remember me asking you and Tom to take me home? That I was afraid of Curtis and his drinking? You basically told me I was being hysterical and a worry wort!” yelled Lynn. “I vaguely remember something to that effect but I was having so much fun I wasn’t ready to leave. Plus Curtis didn’t seem all that bad to me. I don’t know what you’re in such a tizzy about!” replied Lora. Lynn could barely contain herself, “I told you that Curtis had plans for last night to be THE night! It wasn’t romantic like I imagined it – far from it! It was horrid! I begged him not to, but he wouldn’t listen to me! No one listened to me last night! It’s like I was mute and invisible! Lora interrupted, “Lynn are you telling me that Curtis forced himself on you?” Lynn shook her head tears started rolling down her face. Lora continued, “Let me make sure I understand you. You are saying that Curtis raped you right?” Lynn went hysterical at the sound of the word, the one she had been trying to force out of her mind, to no avail. Lora ran to her friend to comfort her. She had no idea how to soothe her, with this retched revelation. She had never known anyone who had gone through such a horrid thing, so she just held her and stroked her hair as she wept and sobbed. Lora did some weeping herself. “I’m so sorry Lynn that I didn’t pay more attention to your needs last night. I’m so sorry that I had a part of what you were put through. It makes me sick just thinking about all you’ve been through.” commented Lora. About 30 minutes into this Lora had a practical thought about protection but decided this was not the time to mention it. Another 30 minutes later Lynn was again spent from crying and looked a mess. Lora decided it was time to leave her room. The house was still empty so she suggested they go down stairs to get something to eat.

Lora felt as at home in this house as her own home, so when her companion just plopped herself on the kitchen barstool and her head fell into her arms, Lora just started perusing the pantry and refrigerator for something to eat. “Hey, what about some Tostitos or Pringles?” asked Lora. Lynn mumbled, “No.” Thinking she had found another good option she asked, “What about some pizza and coke?” Again Lynn grunted, “No.” Not to be defeated Lora asked, “How about some hot coco and some cookies? At this Lynn perked up. “I don’t care about the cookies that much but hot coco sounds scrumptious. Do we have any whip cream and any leftover candy canes?” asked Lynn. Lora scrounged around and replied, “Well I found the whip cream but we may be out of luck with the candy canes. Wait a minute I have an idea!” She ran to the living room where the Christmas tree was and there hanging on it were the needed candy canes. She came running back saying, “Eureka! I found them!” While enjoying their coco Lynn seemed relaxed enough to ask her some tough questions, so Lora took a deep breath and dived in, “Lynn I know you may not want to think about this let alone talk about it but have you decided if you are going to press charges or not?” Lynn suddenly felt like a caged animal, she dropped the candy cane she was using to stir her coco. It is not that the thought had not occurred to her but so many other thoughts came with it: everyone would know, how would they react, especially my parents, there would be a trial, and could I really go through a trial, would I be made out to be a vixen? She finally replied, “I have thought of it and all the repercussions and I’m not sure I can press charges.” “Is it that you’re afraid that you’ll be the one put on trial? Or is it that you don’t want your parents knowing what happened to you?” asked Lora. “Those and so much more, it’ll be public knowledge. You know that all of Jefferson High will be taking sides on who to believe, not just the school the whole community will be taking sides. I don’t think I can go through all of that. He’s too popular and more likely to be believed than me. I think I just want to forget about it and go on with my life. All anyone will know is that we broke up in the New Year.” said Lynn. Lora dared their friendship some more, “Lynn, did he use protection?” she asked tentatively. “Nnoooo!” Lynn wailed. “And yes I know full well what that means! What will I do if I am pregnant?!?” she continued to wail. “We will cross that bridge when we come to it.” assured Lora. “We’ll just wait and see if you miss your period and if you do we’ll get a pregnancy test.” “But what if it comes out positive?” cried Lynn. “Then I’ll go with you to Planned Parenthood and they will let you know what your options are. I understand you don’t need insurance or parental permission there.” Lora said trying to calm the panicky Lynn.

Four weeks later with a positive pregnancy test Lora and Lynn found themselves at Planned Parenthood. They did their own test on her and it confirmed what the girls already knew. They talked to her about the option of abortion and gave her pamphlets on it to take with her. They learned it would be $350 for an early abortion and it would cost $400 if she waited pass nine weeks. She would have to make a decision quickly she had limited funds from her after school job and after 12 weeks it increased by a $100 every 4 weeks. “I’ve got $200 in Christmas money and $70.28 saved from working but that leaves me shy almost $80. I have to make car and insurance payments and gas. If I use the car to get to and from work that will only leave me with a grand total of $290 in my bank account. I can’t afford an abortion and I can’t bear the thought of going through with the pregnancy. It’ll be a constant reminder of that night! Everyone will know that we did it even if they didn’t know how it really happened. They will think I actually enjoyed it! They’ll expect me to love this thing! How can I do anything but hate it and what it represents?!?” bemoaned Lynn as they head for the car. Lora hurt for her friend and offered, “Don’t worry Lynn no one has to ever know what happened. There is no need for your secret to get out. I’ll never say anything to anyone. You can count on my solemn promise and our friendship. As for the rest of the money I have the additional $60 you need. So you see everything will be alright. Would you feel better if we went back and made an appointment right now for four weeks from Monday? We will have the money that we need by then.”Lynn replied, “Yeh, let’s go and get this over with.”

Afterwards, Lynn felt dead and empty inside. She was feeling awful before the abortion but she never imagined that she would feel even worse afterwards. When she tried to explain it to Lora all she got was trite sayings that did her no go. The only person she could go to with this retched pain was totally oblivious to what she was going through. She finally gave up and buried her feelings as deep as she could. It became something that Lora and Lynn never talked about again.

They both went to the local University and there met Diane. They all took the same general education, biology class. They would meet in study rooms in the Library. Diane had a natural talent for biology where Lora grasped it fairly well, but Lynn struggled with it. Diane was intelligent, wise, discerning, compassionate, thoughtful, funny, a good cook, pleasant to look at, an excellent listener, and she was rather popular. In dorm life those that were intelligent, listened and could cook it lent themselves to popularity. Diane also had a deep abiding love for God. It was her discernment and wisdom that kept her from being black balled for her beliefs. She knew when to speak and what to say and when to listen and pray. This became an endearing quality in her. Diane had a very special affinity for Lora and Lynn. All three lived in the dorm and quickly became inseparable. Diane could tell that something was deeply disturbing Lynn but despite all her prayers for an opening she never found the right time to ask Lynn what weighed her down. The Sisters Three, as they grew to call themselves, graduated college. Lora had interned with a prominent advertising firm and had a job waiting for her upon graduation. Lynn had majored in education and was hired as an English teacher at a Jefferson High School. Diane had majored in nursing with an interest in psychology. Sisters Three would have weekly lunches varying on Diane’s schedule at the hospital.

Lora and Lynn frequented bars in an attempt to meet men. One night Lora met a guy named Rob. There was an instant connection. Lynn was not nearby when they met. She was busy talking to another man, Rob walked by and Lynn gravitated to him immediately. She couldn’t help the feelings she was having even as she saw Lora interacting with him. She decided staying clear would be the safest thing to do. The feelings were so intense she couldn’t risk getting to know him.

The next day was their weekly lunch. Lynn ventured to ask Lora how her evening went. “At first I thought it was going places but my date Rob turned out to be a disappointment. “Just a one night stand?” Lynn inquired, “What made him such a disappointment? And if he was a disappointment why did you sleep with him?” Lora responded, “As you know I am not ready for any kind of commitment. This guy is looking hard for Mrs. Right and I don’t want to be Mrs. Anybody. I’m all for living for the moment and having fun. He doesn’t want to do that so he’s not the guy for me.” Diane ventured, “Did you find this out before or after you slept with him?” Lynn was so grateful for Diane’s question, she wanted to ask that herself but thought that might give too much away. Lora responded indignantly, “After of course! What do you think I am? What are you getting at Diane?” Diane asked God for wisdom, discernment and love, took a deep breath and responded, “I believe when you are intimate you give part of yourself away and one day you may look back and find you’ve lost too much of yourself.” Lora turned away from the others, looking out the window, a solitary tear rolled down her check. Pondering Diane’s comment she connected the feelings of emptiness with long forgotten pieces of herself.

Knowing that Lora had no feelings for Rob Lynn mustered up her courage to ask Lora if she could pursue Rob. “Lora I know this may come as a surprise to you but when I saw Rob last night I had very strong feelings for him. I didn’t come and introduce myself because I knew the feelings were beyond my control and if I got to know him there would be no denying them. You were engaged with him and I wasn’t going to cross girlfriend boundaries. Now that I know that you have no interest in him, I’m asking for your permission to pursue him. I’m hoping that this will turn into something great but I don’t want to step on your toes.” Lora answered, “Lynn, I have no interest in the man, if you want to pursue him that is fine with me. I have his phone number would you like me to set the two of you up.” “Would you? That would be great! You can give him my phone number.” said Lynn. Their relationship never clicked it was one sided on Lynn’s part.

As close as “The Sisters Three” were their dating practices were very different. Lora was a casual dater, occasionally she would get serious about someone, but usually it was one or two dates and on to the next guy. Lynn was an old fashion girl. Yes she went to the bars with Lora but when she found someone that she was interested she hoped and prayed that he would notice her and waited for him to make the first move. In contrast Diane wanted a man who loved God so she did her looking at church, took her time and observed the man’s character to see if it was something that she desired.

Sisters Three were at a bar one night, this really wasn’t Diane’s thing but she enjoyed the company and was the designated driver incase Lynn decided to drink. At their table they had a great view of the majority of the patrons of the bar. Lynn immediately noticed a man with an enchanting smile, luscious deep brown hair meticulously coiffed. His eyes danced as he laughed at the joke he had told the woman he was standing beside. He was dressed in Florshiems (reminiscent of her father’s favorite shoe), dark jeans, a lavender dress shirt with a v-neck lavender sweater that had yellow trim accents on the v-neck and cuffs. As Lynn drank in the sight she couldn’t help but think that this was not only a man that knew how to dress but was very assured of himself, two qualities she found very attractive. She checked herself in her mirror, was she presentable enough to catch his eye? Oh, how she hoped that he might notice her. Much to her dismay later in the night Lora set her sights on him. She flirted enough to get him to come to their table. Lynn wished so that he would notice her and he did but only after being entangled by Lora, she could be possessive when she wanted.

He introduced himself as Kenneth Randolph. Lora had commented, “Please join us. That’s a rather peculiar last name is there an interesting story behind it?” putting her hand on his forearm. “Well,” started Kenneth, “some might say it’s interesting. My great great grandfather fought in World War I. He was found in Germany by the Brits, unconscious with no dog tags; no helmet, only an American uniform on. They took him to one of their hospitals and all he did was mumble Kenneth Randolph. They figured this was his name and wrote to the American Authorities to see if they could find his family – none was ever found neither was any recruit by the name of Kenneth Randolph. He spoke perfect English in his mumblings and never any other language so no one even considered that he might be a spy. When he finally awoke they greeted him as Kenneth but he had no recollection of that name or for that matter any name. They worked with him for nearly a year trying to help him to regain his memory, but, he finally gave up and took the name Kenneth Randolph. My dad wanted to honor all he did for our country and all he lost in the process so after all these years I’m the first to bear his name” “How thoughtful and loving of your father.” said Lynn. “It looks like you work out. Where do you go?” quipped Lora. “I go to the YMCA near my place” responded Kenneth. “Well, it has given you a great physique.” flirted Lora.

Lora continued flirting with Kenneth and after 30 minutes of this Lynn could see that it was useless to think she could get his attention. She did question herself, “Did he really look at me and smile? Was that a wink he gave in my direction? Surely I must have been mistaken. He’s flirting with Lora, if he were interested in me surely he would approach me rather than continuing with her.” Lynn couldn’t take any more of this, it was too painful, so she turned to Diane and asked, “Would you mind taking me home? I’m ready to call it a night.” Diane responded, “Sure Lynn no problem. Bye Kenneth nice to meet you. See you soon Lora.” “It was nice to meet the two of you.” Kenneth said. “Bye.” Lora gushed. Kenneth watched as the two left, he couldn’t help but feel this night had somehow gone terribly wrong.

Realizing that Lora may have no way home Kenneth asked, “Did the three of you come together?” “Yes” smiled Lora as if he had fallen into a trap. “I guess you’ll just have to take me home.” Kenneth responded casually and cautiously, “Taking you home would indeed be the gentlemanly thing to do. Shall we go?” Lora was beside herself with her good luck. This scheme hadn’t always worked but when it did it was always to her satisfaction.

On the ride home the conversation going on in the two minds couldn’t be more different. Lora was thinking, “He’ll open my door. We’ll walk up to my condo and I’ll invite him in for a night cap and then the fun will begin.” Kenneth was thinking, “I hope she isn’t expecting anything. Although some flirting is fun this girl is just to forward for me. I can’t wait for this evening to end. I’ll take her home; make sure she gets in safe and leave.”

Once at her condo he opened the door to his car for her and walked her up to the front of the high rise complex. He stopped at the door and thanked her for the evening. Lora was stunned, “Don’t you want to come up?” Not wanting to be rude Kenneth rationalized, “It’s getting late. I just want to go home.” Lora wanted more from Kenneth than just a night of innocent flirting, “Well, don’t forget to take my number so we can get together again.” Lora handed Kenneth her business card, turned it over and wrote her cell and home numbers on the back. Kenneth thought boy this girl is pushy she isn’t even letting me make the move, she is not the girl for me, so he just said, “Thanks,” turned towards his car quipped, “I had a nice time, bye.” and got into his car and drove off.

As Kenneth was driving off reflecting on the evening he realized that although he had enjoyed the compliments Lora was giving him and the flirting they did all evening he couldn’t help but think of the sweet Lynn who had gone home with quiet Diane. How was he going to get in contact with her without going through Lora? 

Continue reading “Lora’s Lesson”

When It’s Time for Action Or Restoration

This is a balance that Jesus had well under control. He worked hard in His ministry and He took time away from everyone to be with the Father for restoration and communion.

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This is something that I struggle with frequently. I want to do more than I’m physically capable or even emotionally capable of doing and I don’t take enough time out for restoration and communion with my Heavenly Father.  Or for that matter just restoration of emotions let alone the soul without feeling guilty about it.

Who am I that I think I can do do do without time for restoration of mind, body and soul?

We live in a society where we are valued by what we do. The first question people  will ask you is, “So what do you do for a living?” When they are trying to get to know you. God forbid you are disabled like me and don’t hold down a job because the conversation comes to a crashing halt.

I buy into the need to be doing something as much as the next person and for me with my bi-polar disorder and my own pride to be honest nothing is ever good enough or grandiose enough to please me as contributing to society.

Why can’t it be good enough for me to share the joy of my little dog Tessa with those God brings in my path to brighten their day?

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Why do I think the only action worthy of value is making her into a therapy dog, when my illness makes it impossible to commit to an organization? God knows my heart and Tessa’s abilities and training He can make a way. But you see that doesn’t sound as impressive to people when they ask what you do. So I struggle with expectations I put on myself and I feel society puts on me.

These are just the small things that I struggle with and I can’t imagine those of you that hold down a job, raise a family, vulunteer at your church are going through when it comes to the struggle for action or restoration. We live in a fast paced society and we all need to take a lesson from Jesus who would steal away from the disciples for restoration with the Father in prayer. A time of connection. To refuel Himself for the next great battle ahead. If He who was perfect took time for restoration who are we to think that we can do anything less.

Slow down and take some time with your Lord He will refresh you mind, body and soul. I’m talking as much to myself as I am to you. We can’t do this world on our own. He loves us so much, He’s’ just waiting for us to come to Him.

So let’s stop reading now and take time out of our busy day and come to Him in pray, worship, Bible study whatever the Holy Spirit leads you and restore ourselves with Him. I promise it’ll make the rest of your day.