Clara stood in front of the long mirror, mounted on the back of the bedroom door, and stared at her reflection. She’d tried on so many outfits she’d given up trying to count them. Her bed was covered in clothing as a testament of her inability to choose. Now, she scrutinized her selections, wondering if the pieces she’d finally decided upon were good enough. She scanned her thin frame looking for flaws. Her white shirt was perfectly tucked into a simple black skirt hemmed just below the knees. Her plain black pumps gave her the height she wanted but still offered the comfort she needed for the day ahead. She took a step back and debated whether or not to grab her black cardigan. In the end, she chose to leave it behind and grabbed her long jacket. “Well, it’s time for me to go, Ringo.” She reached down to pet her furry best friend. “Can’t pick you up right now, buddy, I’ve got my good clothes on, but I promise to play with you a little extra tonight.” She scratched behind his ears and smiled at the thought of tonight. She, David and Laura had agreed to meet and give Clara the chance to share details about her interview. Ringo licked her on the face as if to wish her good luck. She loved this little guy so much, he had been a source of light in the darkness of the last weeks.
Clara jumped on the train and found a seat toward the back of the car, it was going to be a long commute. She didn’t mind, the ride would give her a chance to reflect on all she’d been through till now. This experience had changed her in ways she couldn’t fully explain. Her heart felt lighter than it had in, well, quite possibly, her whole life. As she sat quietly in the midst of chaotic stops and starts, her mind began to wander. Losing her job so unexpectedly, the choice to avoid a good friend, a “chance” meeting in the park with a wonderful man, her rent being paid in full so she didn’t have to face homelessness all played out in her imagination like film rolling through a projector. She hadn’t handled any of it very well. She’d felt abandoned by God and had taken it out on those around her. Entitled was the term for her behavior. Her reasoning: if she did what any “good Christian” ought to do then God “owed” her a good life. She never would’ve realized this if she hadn’t gone through an experience that exposed her misguided theology. And, in a plot twist she never saw coming, Clara realized, if she hadn’t been stripped of all the things she felt she was “owed,” she never would’ve experienced freedom from her own expectations. When she’d learned to let go of her own idea of how it was “supposed” to be and trust God instead, she’d begun to see her own selfishness. And, although she couldn’t quite wrap her mind around it, letting go had set her free. Her new anthem was trust God. Just trust him. Trust that he knew what was best for her life. And that’s exactly how she felt about this job interview. She’d prayed so hard for opportunity and God had given her this chance. She was so nervous she hadn’t been able to eat breakfast, or sleep, for that matter. But, here she was, on her way to an interview that was an answer to prayer. She was going to do her best and leave the rest to her Heavenly Father.
The train jolted to a stop and Clara got up to exit with the other passengers. Once she was clear of the station she pulled out her phone and plugged the address into GPS. Walking distance was seven minutes. She checked her watch and realized she had plenty of time, there was no need to rush. This was a different part of the city, some might call it the edges. It wasn’t nearly as crowded and the shops looked a little friendlier. She smiled as she walked, somehow, she knew she wouldn’t forget this day. It was chilly, but not windy, and she was grateful her hair wouldn’t be an absolute mess when she arrived. Christmas decorations donned the street and she was enchanted by reds and greens, tinsel and bows. “Thank you, Lord, for coming to this earth as a babe.” She spoke under her breath just as she rounded the corner and saw New Ideal Architectural Design. Here we go, she thought and opened the door into the lobby.
A red haired, middle aged woman sat behind a brown desk to the left of the entrance. Her smile was broad and warm as Clara walked in. “Can I help you, hon?” She spoke with in a southern drawl. “Yes,” Clara spoke clearly, “I’m here for an interview with Dianna Ideal.” “Oh, hey” the red haired lady responded. “Have a seat and I’ll let her know you’re here.” Clara turned and walked a few feet to a chair and took a seat. She scanned the room and noticed how festive it was decorated. A Christmas tree in the corner covered with lights and the names of people on colorful pieces of paper. “Sponsor a child for Christmas” a sign explained. That’s so wonderful, Clara thought, I hope I can take a name and help out. She folded her hands in her lap, they were cold not just because of the weather; her nerves were working overtime.
It didn’t take long before Dianna Ideal entered the lobby. She was shorter than Clara with a blonde bob. She was lovely. “Hi Clara,” she sounded confident, “I’m Dianna, It’s nice to meet you. Come with me and let’s get to know each other.” Clara stood and followed her down the hall and into a room with a table and two chairs facing each other. There was a water fountain in the corner and Clara longed for a drink. Instead she laid her coat over the back of the chair and sat down. Dianna smiled warmly and started the conversation. All Clara could think was how much she would enjoy working for this kind lady. The entire process took about thirty minutes and then it was time to leave. “Thank you for your time, we’ll be in touch.” Dianna walked her to the lobby then turned back down the hall. Clara stood for just a moment and looked around the small space before she exited the building. She grabbed a peppermint from the candy jar on the red haired lady’s desk on the way out.
Clara stood on the sidewalk and looked up to the sky. The sun was peeking from behind the clouds and she took it as a smile from heaven above. “I did my best, Lord,” she spoke out loud, “the rest is up to you.” She spun on her heels and headed toward the train station with a spring in her step and joy in her heart. Whatever the outcome, of this she was confident, God was in control. He hadn’t forgotten her and he would continue to take care of her every need.
The faint sound of Christmas music carried by the wind as she walked past the shops lifted her heart even more. Then, in a rare moment of indulgence, she stopped at a coffee truck for a treat. “Peppermint hot chocolate with extra whip cream,” she placed her order with the barista. There was a light breeze against her cheeks, a sparkle in her eye, faith in her future and whip cream on her upper lip, all of it could only mean one thing. It was going to be a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. As a matter of fact, it might just be the best holiday season ever.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2
The End. (for now)
Do you think Clara got the job?? Did you like this story?
Thank you for reading!
Read Psalm 91 for more encouragement.