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California Has Fa...
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by Mark Lages (Goodreads Author)
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Robin Jones Gunn
“Todd wrapped his arm around her. They stood together in silent awe, watching the sunset. All Christy could think of was how this was what she had always wanted, to be held in Todd's arms as well as in his heart.
Just as the last golden drop of sun melted into the ocean, Christy closed her eyes and drew in a deep draught of the sea air.
"Did you know," Todd said softly, "that the setting sun looks so huge from the island of Papua New Guinea that it almost looks like you're on another planet? I've seen pictures."
Then, as had happened with her reflection in her cup of tea and in her disturbing dream, Christy heard those two piercing words, "Let go."
She knew what she had to do. Turning to face Todd, she said, "Pictures aren't enough for you, Todd. You have to go."
"I will. Someday. Lord willing," he said casually.
"Don't you see, Todd? The Lord is willing. This is your 'someday.' Your opportunity to go on the mission field is now. You have to go."
Their eyes locked in silent communion.
"God has been telling me something, Todd. He's been telling me to let you go. I don't want to, but I need to obey Him."
Todd paused. "Maybe I should tell them I can only go for the summer. That way I'll only be gone a few months. A few weeks, really. We'll be back together in the fall."
Christy shook her head. "It can't be like that, Todd. You have to go for as long as God tells you to go. And as long as I've known you, God has been telling you to go. His mark is on your life, Todd. It's obvious. You need to obey Him."
"Kilikina," Todd said, grasping Christy by the shoulders, "do you realize what you're saying? If I go, I may never come back."
"I know." Christy's reply was barely a whisper. She reached for the bracelet on her right wrist and released the lock. Then taking Todd's hand, she placed the "Forever" bracelet in his palm and closed his fingers around it.
"Todd," she whispered, forcing the words out, "the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you His peace. And may you always love Jesus more than anything else. Even more than me."
Todd crumbled to the sand like a man who had been run through with a sword. Burying his face in his hands, he wept.
Christy stood on wobbly legs. What have I done? Oh, Father God, why do I have to let him go?
Slowly lowering her quivering body to the sand beside Todd, Christy cried until all she could taste was the salty tears on her lips.
They drove the rest of the way home in silence. A thick mantle hung over them, entwining them even in their separation. To Christy it seemed like a bad dream. Someone else had let go of Todd. Not her! He wasn't really going to go.
They pulled into Christy's driveway, and Todd turned off the motor. Without saying anything, he got out of Gus and came around to Christy's side to open the door for her. She stepped down and waited while he grabbed her luggage from the backseat. They walked to the front door.
Todd stopped her under the trellis of wildly fragrant white jasmine. With tears in his eyes, he said in a hoarse voice, "I'm keeping this." He lifted his hand to reveal the "Forever" bracelet looped between his fingers. "If God ever brings us together again in this world, I'm putting this back on your wrist, and that time, my Kilikina, it will stay on forever."
He stared at her through blurry eyes for a long minute, and then without a hug, a kiss, or even a good-bye, Todd turned to go. He walked away and never looked back.”
Robin Jones Gunn, Sweet Dreams

Henri J.M. Nouwen
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

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