Salt Shines

Felicia Gonzales

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Romans 12:1-2

Hey! This is Felicia, and I'm going to be writing short stories that include morals. My hope is that these stories will encourage you in your walk with Christ.

The reason I entitled my article "Salt Shines" is because the Bible states that we are the salt of the earth. As such, we must shine. Not only that, but also, our words should be seasoned with salt so that we may encourage and build one another up.

This is exactly what I hope these stories will do for you--challenge you in your walk with the Lord, so that you may be more like HIM.

The Darkness of Night

She ran down the alley, but she couldn't see anything. She turned around to see who had followed her. What was wrong with her eyes? Why couldn't she see anything?

A man's voice called. "Clarence, I know you're out there. Please don't hide from me. I only intended to help you."

"Yes, and I believed you've helped me enough!" she wailed. Turning toward the voice that had spoken to her, she began venting. Do you see what you've done? Her eyes rolled back in their sockets, moving this way and that.

"Clare, I am so sorry. Can you see anything?"

"No! Can't you tell you've ruined me? And all you can say is 'sorry.' Well, you know what? You're not forgiven. Don't you understand? If I can't see, I can't work!" she screamed. "I have a family, Asher."

Stepping closer to her, he reached out to steady her from falling off a ledge which she had unconsciously stepped near.

"I know I've ruined you, Clare," he spoke softly. "Would you please explain where you husband is?"

She began to cry. "Garven? He left me three years ago. Said he's be back soon. He was just going to look for work. Haven't seen the man since. Suppose he just abandoned us," she said, laughing bitterly.

Having know the family for some time but never knowing where the father was, Asher was shocked at this revelation. He's always just thought the man of the house was just working every time he called on the family. "Can Amara not help out? She is an able woman."

"Asher, she already works! She works at the factory, but that doesn't bring in nearly enough. When we were both working, we barely had money to buy food. And you know something else? My boys are not in school. Amara wants to be a nurse but can't save enough money to go to school."

"I am so sorry, Clarence. Can I do nothing to help you?"

Crying out in a shrill scream, she said, "You want something to do? Fix my eyes. I simply had something growing over my eye, and in the process of removing it, you leave me blind. Sure, Asher, you can do something. Fix me."

"I can't do that, Clare," he said, stepping back so she didn't hit him with her live gestures. "The only thing I can do is offer your daughter a place to work. It would be cleaner than the factory and pay a little more."

"I can't let her work for you. What do you expect me to tell her? 'Amara... you're going to start working for Asher. The man who left me blind.' No, Asher. That won't do."

"Clarence, why don't I cocme to your house and talk to her privately?"

"Well, if you're going to go talk to her, then you might as well walk me home. Then you two can have your little chat."

So they began their way toward her house. It was the dead of night, and some people having seen them wondered who the doctor's companion was. He was a single man in his early thirties and very handsome in appearance. Unfortunately for the ladies, he was not a man to be involved in flirtatious conversation. Thus, any woman upon seeing him walk another woman to her home would have been quite jealous.

Clare knew this would be tomorrow's gossip, and it was for that reason she asked it of him.

Asher was not a foolish man. He knew he was going to have many problems for walking Clare home, but what was he to do? Refuse her? Far be it from him; he had hurt this family far too many times. As they continued on their way his thoughts turned to the day he had helped Clare give birth to conjoined twins Tristam and Halona. He had attempted to separate them very soon as they were born. The surgery had left Tristam crippled and Halona perfectly fine. Oh the pain he had caused this family! Helping Clare home, no matter what others said, was the least he could do.

Asher gently guided her around a ditch in the road and continued his musing. It had been such a long time since he'd seen his hometown. He signed, remembering the happy days with his wife there. He'd married when he was twenty, and during the five years following his marriage, he had lost three children and then his wife. Asher was a wealthy man, but he chose to live poorly. It was a decision that was for the best. After his wife died, it had hurt him to look at the house which she had decorated with her hands and brightened with her smile. He had needed different scenery. Now he was here, walking Clarence Brisha to speak with her daughter.

Upon their arrival, Amara came rushing out with a smile upon her face. Tilting her head she began, "Doctor-" She quickly had her mother in her arms and began asking her questions. When Clare answered only with a sniffle, Amara drew back and looked into her eyes: discolored and rolling around in her head. She gasped and looked up. "Doctor, is something wrong?"

His heart sank. How would he tell her he had ruined her mother's sight? "Amara, lead you mother to the house and lay her upon her cot. Then I will explain."

After all that Asher had ordered was done, she came to the main room and sat down across from him.

"Amara... I have ruined your mother," he began. After explaining everything that had transpired, her rose as if to go. "And one more thing. When you come to work on Monday, I don't want you to use the maid's door. Use the main one, please." Turning, he walked out the door and down the street.

Amara knelt praying to God. "Lord," she said, "help us remember that our main source of income is not our jobs but You." Rising, she slipped an envelope in the pocket of her apron and walked over to the curtain that separated the main room from her mother's cot. Opening the curtain, she walked in and sat on the bed.

"Mother, someone sent us a letter."

The Brishas rarely received letters, and Clarence sat up quickly. "Well, child, since I can't see, why don't you open it and read it aloud?" she asked, suppressing a sob.

Amara opened the letter and began,

Dear Clare,

I have neglected writing to you for so long for I feared I'd just be a bother.

"Oh, dear, do tell me who has written."

"Wh- why, 'tis father," she said in a shrill voice.

"What? Garven?"

"Ye... yes, mother."

"Well, do continue reading!" she said, her voice betraying her excitement. Despite his apparent abandonment, she still loved her husband.

You see, soon after I left I received an injury to my head leaving my eyes with no light. I thought I'd be a bother and did not want to burden you.

"Oh!" gasped Clare.

I have decided to return home and will be there in four days' time. If you will forgive my neglect and receive me back, you shall give me a sign. The sign shall be a candle in the main window. If you will not have me, I will pass by and never bother you again.

Lovingly, Garven

P.S.: My eyes are gradually getting better, and I have been working by running errands for the town's blacksmith.

Excitedly Clare asked, "When was the letter sent?"

"Four days ago, mother," Amara answered.

"Well, did you light the candle tonight?" In the Brisha household, it had been a custom ever since Garven had left to light a candle in the window. "Remember to always light a candle in the window so I can know my way home," Garven had told Clare before leaving. And she had been doing just that for three years.

"Yes, mother, I like it right when the sun went down."

"Good. Then there is no fear of him passing, right?" she asked her daughter anxiously.

"No, he will not pass by." Amara rose, tucking the envelope back into her apron. "I'll leave you to rest. Should he come and you be sleeping, shall I wake you?"

"Yes, dear. That would be the right thing to do."

"Okay," she replied, stepping around the curtain.

Clare wished Amara had not left her. She would rather her company than that of her own thoughts. Ever since Garven had left, her hope had been that he would come back and provide for the family. Now he was going to be just one more mouth to feed who couldn't work. He had been her hope, her motivation to keep going. Now he couldn't provide for her. "Oh, God," she sobbed. "I have put my trust in things of this world: in my daughter, in my husband, in Asher. This whole time I have trusted myself to fix the situation of our poverty and my inadequacy to work. But Lord, nobody can help us now. Not Garven, not Asher. Only you. You have brought us lower than low because of my failure to trust you. Forgive me, Lord. Restore our family. Oh, and Lord, please continue to heal Garven's eyes. And when he gets better, if he does, help me to continue trusting you."

There was a commotion in the main room. She heard Amara exclaim, "Father! You're back, and oh, how I've missed you!"

"Have you, Mari?" he asked with delight.

"Yes, father. We've all missed you.

The End

***************

This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD." Jeremiah 17:5