Friday, May 17, 2013

One Thing at a Time

Hello Friday Fiction Fans,
I hope you have all had a good week since you were on here last.
The conference in Arlington went well and was really busy the first day. Saturday wasn't quite a busy, but it was still good.

We drove the 7 hours home on Sunday and then after unpacking and stuff, I headed down to my best friends' house to eat ice cream, give the newly weds their gift (My other best friend and I had made a quilt for them.), take some pictures and say good bye. Have you ever had to say good bye to your best friend that you've known for 24 years and lived just down the street from for over 20 years knowing that she wasn't going to be back any time soon and that you wouldn't be seeing her for several months probably? Well, it isn't easy. 

The rest of the week has been good. Getting back into things here, taking care of the piles of things that had been waiting for weeks, knitting again, writing again and knowing that I don't have to leave at the end of the week!
So far my writing hasn't finished any short stories yet. NEO is still completely full of partially written stories. It does have a TCR that I need to transfer and print. Project 12 hasn't gotten worked on. I'm still trying to get more written so I'm not wondering what to post each Friday.

Today you get a short story that I just sat down and wrote one evening quite a while ago. I don't know if you have ever felt like Meg, but I know I have! I hope you enjoy this story.

One Thing at a Time

    “There isn’t any time or I have no inclination!” The girl flung down her pencil and watched it roll across the floor and under a shelf with gloomy satisfaction.
    “No time or inclination for what?” asked an amused voice.
    Turning, the girl saw her brother standing in the open doorway. There was a look of fresh air and sunshine about him and his eyes sparkled with life and energy.
    With a deep, drawn out sigh, the girl turned to stare moodily at the wall, propped her chin in her hand and replied, “Everything.”
    “You’re right,” came the unexpected answer. “I have no time nor inclination to go join some of the other fellows in the saloon, or spend half the night at a party dancing, or play cards with Bill and Tom though they coaxed me to for half an hour yesterday.”
    “But it’s not the same thing, Max!” the girl pouted. “I’d think you, at least, would understand and help me.”
    “Suppose you explain yourself then, Meg and maybe I can.”  The young man settled himself on a chair where he could see his sister’s face and waited.
    For a moment Meg was silent, her pretty face clouded and gloomy. At last she spoke. “There’s nothing to explain. I just don’t have the time to do everything I want to do or should do, and when I do have the time I don’t want to do it.”
    Max nodded soberly though his brown eyes twinkled merrily. “Of course. Just what I said, not enough time and don’t want to. Anything else the matter?”
    At that, Meg glowered at him. “You’re no help! Why don’t you go play ball or go fishing.”
    Max laughed. “Because I don’t want to. It seems to be the same problem you have. Besides, there’s no one to play with. Seriously though, Meg,” his voice became sober. “It sounds like you have the same problem the Apostle Paul had when he said the good that I would, that I don’t do, but the evil that I don’t want to do, that’s what I do.”
    “But I don’t want to do evil, Max,” Meg protested. “The things I want to do are good, but when I have time to do them, I don’t want to do them anymore. And when I should do them, I want to do something else.”
    “Oh, so you’re problem is that you want to do good things when you want to do them and not when you should do them?”
    Meg shrugged.
    “Doesn’t doing something, even if it is good, at the wrong time make it wrong?”
    “There’s a time for every purpose under heaven,” Max quoted.
    “But that doesn’t mean when I draw and paint and when I practice the piano or weed the garden. Or study history,” she added in a lower voice.
    “It doesn’t? Meg, if I were to decide to work on my Latin when I should be preparing my algebra, do you think I’d be ready to recite in arithmetic class?”
    “No, but—”
    “And if you were to practice the piano when Aunt Jane was taking a nap, do you think you would be ready for your lesson?”
    Meg couldn’t help smiling over that idea though she shook her head. Her aunt would soon put a stop to her lessons if she tried it. “But my drawing and reading and weeding don’t disturb anyone.”
    Raising his eyebrows Max folded his arms. “They don’t? What about you?”
    A puzzled look crossed Meg’s face. “What do you mean?”
    “Doesn’t your reading disturb you, when you want to do it when you shouldn’t?”
    Meg’s eyes dropped and she half turned her face to hide a blush, for Max had spoken the truth. She did love to read and often her drawing and garden were neglected while she poured over her history book. “It’s that I don’t feel like drawing sometimes or working in the garden, even if I do enjoy those things.” Her voice was muffled by her hands. “And I have to study for history.”
    “Do you feel like you’ve accomplished everything well if you study your history when you haven’t finished the rest of your work?”
    Meg shook her head slowly.
    Silence fell on the room. A bee buzzed around the open window and the sound of robins singing in the tree outside broke the quiet. At last Meg, without looking at her brother said, “I tried to read only when it was time to study history, but I just can’t seem to help myself. I wish I had more time to read. Or more inclination to do the other things. But sometimes I’d rather be outside in the garden than even reading.” She sighed.
    Max stood up and gently pulled his sister’s hands away from her face. “I’d much rather study Latin than tug at those algebra problems, and if I let my mind be distracted by the Latin I wished I could be studying, I’d have low marks and Papa wouldn’t be very pleased. You love history and reading, Meg, but you also have other things to learn. You have to discipline yourself to focus on the thing at hand. Do one thing at a time, then, when you have extra time, you can enjoy all the more doing what you really like.”
    For a moment Meg sat with her eyes downcast, not noticing the half finished drawing that lay before her.
    “One thing at a time, Meggy,” Max repeated softly, using the pet name he had called his sister when she was small.
    Giving a sigh, Meg looked up into her brother’s kind eyes. “It’s just so hard,” she whispered.
    “Ask Jesus to help you, Meg. He will, you know.”
    Meg nodded and straightened. “Thanks Max. Papa and Aunt Jane are too busy to talk with me like this.”
    Stooping, Max reached under the shelf and pulled out the despised pencil. Handing it to his sister he said, “You finish your work and I’ll go finish algebra, then perhaps there will be time for a walk before supper.” And Meg bent over her paper with a smile.

Well, did you like it?
Have you ever felt that way?


Anott Amos Kowerd said...

I think you did an excellent job of capturing this aspect of the battle against the flesh; Feeling torn in different directions. Time is the scarcest resource. no amount of money can get you more of it.
I keep pushing the reaction button but the next time I visit it shows that no one has reacted.

Rebekah said...

I've noticed that one time there would be a reaction on a story, but when I go back later, there is none. I'm not sure what is going on.

Thanks for commenting on this story.