Yesterday was Anzac Day, in Australia, which is when servicemen and women are remembered and honoured. It is also when the shops don’t open till 1 p.m. As it’s a once-a-year phenomenon, people often forget. I, along with a growing collection of citizens, stood outside the local supermarket waiting for it to open. The local homeless man sat next to the entrance, ready for donations. He probably isn’t homeless but I can’t call him a beggar because he is too polite and dignified. He has a profession – he asks for money.
“Got a few spare coins, love?” he always asks. If you say no, he doesn’t object. If you give him something, he always says, “Thanks, love.”
My doctor didn’t beckon me into her consulting room with her usual cheery greeting. Noted but unconcerned, I entered.
She paused for dramatic effect and said, “I suppose you could tell by my message that it isn’t good news.”
She looked at me to make sure that I was suitably concerned. The receptionist phoned, a few days earlier, asking me to make an immediate appointment to discuss test results. I explained that I was interstate visiting family and was told that a few days wait would be fine. Then, I filed the issue in the back of my mind feeling that all would be well.
After six months of living in Store Creek with the cold weather, it was good to finally arrive at spring’s doorstep. Merlyn wondered if that was why Ben had decided to visit today. He said it was a rental inspection. But that was just a joke. At least, Merlyn hoped it was a joke. Although it was two years since their separation, they had been married for three years. Nothing needed inspecting.
When I was fourteen, a missionary visited my school and gave a little talk. Although I can’t remember what she said, I do remember being impressed with her as a person. I couldn’t put it into words but there was something special about her. It might have been the calm look in her eyes even though, from what she said, her life was far from calm. Certainly, I recognised a very unselfish attitude and she seemed happy without trying to convince anyone that she was.
Although there were nicer shops a suburb or two closer to the city, Merlyn made a point of shopping at the Pittown ones. It seemed to her disloyal not to use them. Besides, she found the people interesting. Not infrequently, someone walked past her and turned their head to give her a second look. They looked like they thought they knew her, but then decided that they didn’t. Sometimes, they looked at her quizzically as if they were thinking that she didn’t belong in Pittown.
Although the Pittown cafe owner had misjudged Merlyn’s friend to be her husband, she actually did have a husband. An estranged husband, anyway. The estrangement was how she came to be living in Pittown. Merlyn and Benjamin had only been married for three years. It wasn’t long but, as it turned out, long enough. They had known each other for two years previous to getting married. Merlyn wasn’t a big fan of getting married but Benjamin had fallen in love with her and very much wanted the marriage to work. For her part, Merlyn both loved and was in love with Benjamin in return. However, unlike Benjamin, she knew that he was ill-prepared for the reality of a committed relationship. She also knew that love is the most powerful force in the universe, so she gave Benjamin and the marriage her best shot and put her faith in his love to get him through.
All significant relationships have a price. It’s not that relationships are a sacrifice. After all, who wants a life of sacrifice? It is more a matter of priorities. We can’t do everything in life and we can’t be with everyone in life. In choosing what we will do and with whom, we automatically make priorities. If something is at the top of our list then other things have to come second or third or last.