A Short Story

Once upon a time there was a girl. She waited years and years to go to college, and found out that she loved what she did while she waited. She got a little older with wonderful people who loved her better than she loved them back and who she knew she’d miss terribly once she left. But she packed her things and her favorite bear and went away to college with a few white hairs and too many suitcases. She wondered if she would regret what she was leaving behind: the sky and the stars and books and Interstate and Friday morning meetings and children who hugged her in church and a little office that let the sun in every afternoon.

But the people who loved her gave her coffee and a computer and never stopped praying for her. And she came to the city, where there were too many buildings to see the sun and more lights than stars. There were yellow taxis and cardboard signs and a few trees that barely had enough leaves to shed in the fall.

She sat down in a tiny little dorm room and realized that she’d still be waiting here, too. So she sat in big classrooms and little classrooms and found out that she loved what she did while she waited. She got a little older with wonderful people who cared for her better than she could care for them.

And the city was kind to her. The city gave her bright yellow doors and clean stone houses and a place to run by the lake. The city gave her its best views and its biggest Christmas trees. It gave her trains that rocked and rumbled and spilled out its passengers into all its corners. It gave her a church with small children who hugged her every Wednesday night and whispered in her ear about birthdays and secrets. The city gave her memories on dirty escalators and worn stairs and scary streets.

And she wondered, with small guilt, if she loved her former sky a little less because the one she loved now had skyscrapers and billboards and broken windows instead of forests and fields. She wondered if she would be happy back in the place with quietness and books and the sun in the afternoon.

But she couldn’t love the city any less, with its tarnished beauty and need for kindness. So she decided she would have to love both. She decided that the love in the waiting was a gift, a gift that could only be corrupted by the mistaken need to compare it to something she could love no less. So she loved her city where she could only sometimes see the sun, and she loved her country where the sun was brightest. And she recognized God’s love best when she chose to love what He gave her.

And she was happy.


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