HEARTLIGHTSpecial Feature

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his office window at the windows in other office buildings, wondering who worked over there and what they were like. He wondered what they thought about and if they ever looked at his window and wondered about him. He also noticed, with some alarm, that he was having trouble making even the most simple decisions.

    He knew he was lonely, but this maddening, haunting feeling that nothing seemed to shake was more than loneliness — it was like the instinct that drives a wounded animal to its den. He felt the need to get somewhere — someplace where he could find his center again, his foundation — his home. Yes, that was exactly what he wanted, and that was why he had come back to this town — it was the closest thing to home he had ever known.

    This primitive instinct drives many thoughtful people — it drives some to drink, some to drugs, some to work harder, some to power, some to affairs, some to church, some to diets, travel, poetry, mysticism, fitness centers, sporting events, TV, or cheap novels.

It drove him

    When he drove into town, he was very disappointed. Much was gone; much more had changed. He didn’t recognize anyone. Now that he was here, he didn’t know what to do. He had thought that just coming back would provide the reason — it didn’t. He drove around a little while — went by the high school, looking for old, familiar landmarks. He stopped in a restaurant for a cup of coffee and finally recognized an old acquaintance. They shook hands, exchanged pleasantries, and bragged a little on what they had accomplished. “How’s Alice?” Pete asked. It was an inevitable question, but it was the one he wanted to avoid most of all. “She’s fine, I guess. I suppose you haven’t heard that we’re separated. I haven’t seen her in nearly two years.”

    “Separated! No kidding! Gee, everybody thought you were Mr. And Mrs. ideal couple. Two years! Why don’t you just get a divorce?”

For the first time in a long time, he had a plan — he knew exactly what he was doing and why.
    He had wondered the same thing — many times. He wondered why she hadn’t forced the issue — demanded one. He mumbled some nonsense about the financial difficulty of the settlement; and of course, they couldn’t agree about the kids — but there was something else, something more — something never put into words, but he knew what it was. Divorce was too finalthe end — and neither of them had the courage or the heart to say that it was finally and forever over. That would close the book on too many things they wanted to keep.

    Pete was in the real estate business, and finally George asked him if he remembered the house they had lived in. “Sure,” Pete said, “In fact, I’ve got it listed.” Without really thinking about it, George said, “Let’s drive by; I’d like to see what they’ve done to the old place.”

    His mind flooded with memories as they drove down the familiar streets — maybe he had been happier here than he thought. Pete had a key to the lockbox, and very shortly, George found himself wandering through the empty rooms. “This is it,” he said to himself; “this is why I came back.”

And he knew that was the truth.

    The grass had not been cut in back. The previous owners had not cared properly for the grapes or the fruit trees; the bedrooms needed paint badly. “You know,” he thought, “I always meant to pipe the water from the washing machine out to the trees, and I think Alice was right about putting a mantle over the fireplace. In fact, now that Scott is bigger, we could finish that back room, put in another bath, and have a bedroom to ourselves.”

    It began to dawn upon him — very slowly — what a good time he was having, how excited he was, that he was planning in terms of we instead of I — and that gave meaning to the future. But his excitement vanished as he realized that it was all a myth, a cruel unreality. It struck him forcefully that he didn’t own this house, he didn’t live in this town, he had no job here, and of course, Alice and the kids lived far away. But the idea wouldn’t leave him, and he knew — just as a homing pigeon knows — that he was home and that this was his one chance and that

he had to try.

    “How much are they asking, Pete?”

    “Seventy-five thousand, but they’ll take sixty-eight.”

    “I’ll take it.” George couldn’t believe it was his voice that he heard. There was assurance in it. For the first time in a long time, he had a plan — he knew exactly what he was doing and why. “I’ll call her,” he thought; “I’ll call her tonight.” But he couldn’t wait for tonight, so he called her at work. Normally, he asked for “Alice,” but today he asked for “Mrs. George Franklin.” He heard the secretary whisper, “Alice, it’s for you, some guy wants to speak to Mrs. George Franklin.” When she picked up the phone, here first words were, “George, I hope this is you. I’ve been thinking about you all day.”

    “Alice, I just bought the old house back. Could we get together this weekend and talk? It’s important to me.”

    “I just happen to be free this weekend, and I don’t know anybody I’d rather spend it with than you.”

They met.
Love mended.
She stayed.

    A noble impulse acted upon reunited two people who had allowed the petty things of life to drive them apart. George and Alice Franklin mended their broken relationship and began rebuilding their life together.

    Are you burdened with a heavy sense of wrongness? Do you find yourself looking out windows into other people’s windows? Have you lost touch with the important people in your life?

    God’s providential touch may already be working to help you rebuild broken relationships.

Do you need to call somebody?
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HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-97, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
© 1997 John William Smith. Excerpted from Hugs for the Hurting, Howard Publishing Company. Used by permission.
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