Sunday Psalms: Fictional Narratives Inspired by The Psalms, Proverbs, & Other Biblical Works
The morning had begun like most others. Up before the sun, I had the chickens fed and the cows milked in record time. I enjoyed a hearty meal of bacon, eggs, and biscuits and prepared to complete the daily chores that life on a farm demands.
The property had been in our family for generations. Mom and dad had passed some years before, and now it was up to me and my siblings to keep the farm running. My sister Marty – she’s the oldest. Folks in town naturally regard her as the head of the household. And while many of the women in our little community would have envied this position, I was content with functioning as her apprentice. I was eager to help, and Marty was always quick to instruct. It worked out well this way. We were a good team, Marty and I.
After breakfast I spent time the rest of the morning weeding the garden. Marty hates doing it, and I really don’t mind. There’s something satisfying about it, seeing a space returned to order.
About midday, our brother Russ sent word that he was bringing a guest over for dinner.
“Who is it?” I asked Marty as she drew up a list of chores.
“He didn’t say,” my sister replied and ran her fingers through her hair. She was always stressed whenever we had company, but even though she acted flustered, this was what she lived for. Marty was known around these parts for her entertaining. Her reputation as a hostess had to be upheld.
The rest of the afternoon raced by as we prepared for our guest. I wondered whom it could be and sang to myself as I scrubbed floors and washed windows.
Before I knew it, night had begun to set in, and the sound of men’s footsteps on the porch brought Marty running to the front door. With great hospitality, she flung it open and welcomed my brother and his guest.
From the kitchen, I could hear their voices, and I instantly recognized the voice of the teacher from the next town over. I would recognize that voice anywhere. Clear and kind, full of hope and mystery.
I dropped the spoon that I had been using to stir the soup. It made a splash as it slipped down into the big pot, but I ignored it and rushed to greet him. Without asking, I wrapped my arms around his neck, and joyfully hugging him, and he hugged me back with equal enthusiasm. I chose to ignore Marty, who didn’t approve of my exuberance.
“For goodness’ sake, girl, give him room to breathe.” Marty scolded me and pulled me away from the teacher. My sister prides herself at being composed.
“She’s alright, Marty,” the teacher said and gave me an understanding smile. “I love your sister’s hugs,” he said and within moments I was enveloped by the stories that he told of his travels and of the people he had met along the way. He spoke of his father and of the home he had left behind. Dreams of the future, miracles from the past, tales that captivated my vulnerable heart.
Leaning forward, chin in my hands, I was oblivious to my sister who was standing in the doorway, impatiently tapping her foot. So focused was I on our guest that I had completely forgotten about the dinner preparations. With hands on her hips, Marty clicked her tongue at me and sighed.
“I’m sure you’re getting hungry,” she apologized to the teacher. “You’ll have to forgive my little sister. Tell her to come help me in the kitchen, otherwise we won’t be eating until midnight.”
As Marty chided me, I searched the eyes of our guest for some kind of reassurance. I loved my sister, but it wasn’t every day that the teacher came to visit.
Rather than send me away, he motioned for Marty to join us. “Forget the food,” he encouraged. “Come sit by the fire. I’m here to be with you, Marty. There’s always food to be had. Being with you is special and rare. Your sister understands that.”
With obvious chagrin, Marty mumbled something about a pot boiling over and ducked back into the kitchen.
“She’ll learn,” the teacher said before resuming his story. I smiled my appreciation at his defense of me. When he was around, nothing else seemed to matter. Being known by him, I was at rest. For the first time in my life, I felt at home.
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-42 (KJV)
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Written by Heidi Sadler, Inspired by Luke 10:38-42 © 2016 Heidi Sadler, All Rights Reserved.