by Susan Sage
Chatter, laughter, and music overwhelmed Maggie’s hearing when she treaded into the salon. She stepped behind a woman waiting at the counter to be helped. After several moments, she moved forward to speak to the greeter and looked into deep brown, almond-shaped eyes surrounded by straight black hair.
“May I help you?”
“I have an appointment for a manicure. My name is Maggie.”
“Please take a seat at one of the tables. Someone will be with you soon.”
With her eyes, Maggie followed the pointing finger, saw square, glossy tables, and moved toward one. Narrow, tall windows allowed light to flood the room and catch on dangling sun catchers or suncatchers causing colors to bounce off the stark, white walls. Maggie wished she felt that bright. Once seated, she watched the colors dance as the prisms swayed on the edge of the lines.
Someone sat down across from her, and Maggie realized it was the young woman who checked her in.
“God told me to talk to you, so I will do your nails. I am Sheila.” She reached across and pulled Maggie’s hand toward her. “I see in your eyes you are sad.”
Maggie raised her eyebrows and tilted her head to the side. Suddenly, a sense of peace filled her, and her shoulders lowered for the first time in several days. She felt her face relax.
Sheila handed over a tissue and continued. “Usually I do pedicures, but God said you needed encouragement so I came. You talk. I’ll listen.”
Maggie surprised herself when words stumbled out. “I feel lost facing the new year. This was the most difficult Christmas I’ve ever had, and I don’t know if I can keep going like I am.”
Sheila’s words shocked Maggie, and she felt her eyes open wider.
“I don’t know if I have a choice.”
“We always have choices.”
Maggie moved her head from side-to-side. “You don’t understand.”
“What do you need to change?”
“I don’t know.”
A deep sigh escaped Maggie’s mouth, and she slowly drew in another breath. “I am alone. My husband is on deployment and won’t be home for many months. My parents both died this year, my brother and his wife are with their own family, and my business just closed.” She leaned her head against the back of the chair not caring about the moisture running down her cheeks.
“I haven’t been for too long.”
Maggie crinkled her nose and set her jaw. “Maybe.”
“If I can help you grasp one thing, it is this: you are not alone. Do you know God?”
“I used to. I don’t know anymore.”
Sheila reached for Maggie’s other hand and massaged both hands at once. “Good thing God still knows you. You are clinging to things and people. Circumstances change. People come and go. Do you know the parable in the Bible of the house builders? One built his house on sand and the other on rock.”
“Yes, I remember that one. Storms came and destroyed the house on the sand but not on the rock.”
“Exactly, a storm can hit and hurt a person who has a good foundation but can’t destroy them. If our foundation shifts, we have nothing sturdy to rely on or trust when storms happen, and they happen to everyone.”
The two women sat in silence. Maggie watched as Sheila worked. After several moments, Sheila looked up. “You know why I needed to do your nails?”
Maggie smiled. “Why?”
“To remind you God is your home and your foundation. With Him, you are never alone. Go home and rediscover how much He loves you and how trustworthy He is to carry you through your storms.” Sheila rubbed Maggie’s hand again and then moved back and stood. “Don’t let go of the truth you know.”
“I’m so glad I didn’t cancel this appointment.” Maggie hugged Sheila, paid, and headed for the door.
“It was your decision to come. Here, take my umbrella.” Sheila handed a small black and purple bag to Maggie. “There’s a storm coming. Decide to be prepared.”
Maggie walked outside and smiled at the rain clouds. “All right, God, it’s time I get to know you all over again.”
About the Author
New to north Idaho, Susan Sage and her husband are enjoying getting to know the new area. She continues to work on her craft writing about God’s purpose and sovereignty in all aspects of life. She enjoys writing devotionals and flash fiction. She enjoys mentoring other writers who are new to the craft.
You can read Susan’s flash fiction column on the 2nd Thursday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.