A Bench


Vorona Photography

She only had 30 minutes left for lunch after making a quick stop at the bank.  The small park across the street from her office was a favorite place to rest in the middle of her busy day.  The honking of the geese was actually a pleasant sound that drown out the noise of her life.

On the only bench with room left to sit was a bearded man.  She’d seen him there many times.  He always sat as silent as she, only he seemed to be in another world, or maybe from another world.  Cleo sat on the empty side of the bench, opened her purse, and pulled out a spoon and a container of blueberry yogurt.

“So what would you give up for love?” the man asked slowly and without turning his face from the pond.  She looked around, wondering if he was talking to her.  He spoke again, this time his deep green eyes looking straight into her own.  “So what would you give up for love?”  It was a strange question, especially to a total stranger, but there was something about the man that put Cleo at ease.

As her spoon scraped against the side of the plastic container, Cleo wasn’t sure how to answer.  She’d been in love before, or so she thought, but it had never worked out well.  Love was just another emotion so easily fallen into, but impossible to find someone to fall into it with.  “I don’t know,” she stammered, still thinking as she mouthed each word.

“I suppose if it was real love … true love … I’d give up just about anything.”  The spoon lingered on her tongue.  She’d lived with Brad the past three years and she liked him a lot.  They had a lot in common, but true love it wasn’t.  It was more of a convenience; friends with benefits.  Someone to watch a movie with, take to the company Christmas party, share household expenses, occasional sex.

The two sat silent for a long time.  Then Cleo looked at her watch.  Time to get back to the grind.  She picked up her purse and started to stand.  The bearded man gently put his hand on her forearm and Cleo paused.  “What would you give up for love?”

She pulled away from his hand and shook her head.  “I don’t know” she blurted out.  “I suppose I’d give up just about any … no … I’d give up everything.”  The desperation and longing in her heart was as real as the fear of being late.  Cleo stood and hurried toward the street feeling more empty than when she woke up that morning.  Before reaching the sidewalk, she turned to look again at the man whose gaze seemed to know her every thought.  He was gone.

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her (Ephesians 5:2, 25).

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