Chicago Warriors: Joe Finally Lets Go

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Marilyn got home, put her gear in the front closet, and then collapsed on the couch. What a day, she thought! It was all just now sinking in...I could be dead! Gary was not unlike some of the psychos that she had studied in behavioral psychology classes. How could she have been so blind to who he really was? But one other thing became glaringly obvious to her...if she had died, if the Father had called her home, she was ready. That revelation, the fact that although she didn't want to die, but that if she did she wasn't afraid to, gave her more comfort than she could have ever imagined.

This past year had opened up a whole new chapter in her life; one in which she had finally found the real Marilyn-one that put God above all else. She had never really reflected on anything spiritual before, had never contemplated her blessings. Now it was all that she could think about. Her thirst for more of His love, to please Him in all that she did, to help others and to recognize that everyone was a child of God, had finally taken its rightful place in her life. Even the manner in which she prayed-not just Hail Marys and Our Fathers, but more prayers of gratitude-just talking with Him and thanking Him. Simple things like seeing a sunrise moved her to give thanks. She liked the new Marilyn much more than the woman that she had been before. She imagined that she had become the "Prodigal Daughter". She had squandered all her spiritual riches, and had finally returned home to find the loving, welcoming arms of a Father's love that has no end. It was good to be home.

She looked over on the coffee table-her Bible. She picked it up and read her favorite Psalm-Psalm 27:

The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I will confident.

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.

I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Finishing her reading and reflecting on her blessings, she got up to make some dinner for herself. She walked into the kitchen and saw the message light blinking on the phone on the counter. She hit the message button...you have five new messages, first message: "Marilyn, its Joe. I just saw the news about what happened today-are you okay? Please call." The next four messages were all from Joe as well. Her cell phone battery had been separated from her phone during the struggle causing the voicemails to be lost. I guess that I should call Joe and let him know that I'm okay, she thought.

She dialed his number; he answered on the first ring. "Marilyn, talk to me, are you alright? I saw the news and I've been worried about you all day."
"I'm fine Joe, mostly tired and a little sore but I'm okay. I'm sorry I didn't return your calls; I just got home."

"I was calling your cell too."
"I figured that you had. The battery became dislodged during the battle...sorry."

"No, it's okay, I understand. Listen...I don't know if I'm out of line saying this, but I figure that I've got nothing to lose if I do. I have been thinking about you a lot since we had coffee together you. I've wanted to call and set up a date, but I've been afraid."
"Of what?"

"About having my heart broken again...of caring about another person the way that I cared about my wife-I didn't want that pain again. But then when I heard about what happened today, it was like God was sending me a sign."
"What sign Joe; what do you mean?"

"A sign to let me know that it was okay for me to get on with my life...that Pat was with Him and she would want me to share myself with someone. I thought about you and began to pray that He would take care of you and heal you of any injuries you may have sustained. I asked Him to protect you and to please allow me to be a part of your life."

"Oh Joe...that makes me feel so good. And He answered your prayers by the way; they thought that I had a cracked cheek bone, but it turned out to be just a bad bruise."
"'Thank God for that. But that's another thing...since I met you last week I've had the urge...the need to pray. I've missed Him the past couple of years, but meeting you and seeing Pete and his family again has given me a wakeup call. I need Him in my life, every second of every day."
"Joe you are making inroads into my heart. I was just about to make myself some dinner, but if you haven't eaten already may I ask you to join me?"

Are you kidding? I've been chomping at the bit to see you all day...for that matter the moment that we left the coffee shop. Yes; what time?"

"Just give me an hour to clean up and get something started."

"No problem," he said. "I'll bring dessert."
"No way-I'm competing in a week. I'm still on my contest diet."

"Holy cow! You're still in the contest after what you went through today? You are an extraordinary woman Marilyn."

"I'm nothing special Joe, but I am a child of the most awesome God!"

"Yes you are...can't wait to see you."

"Me too. See you in a little while Joe...thanks for your prayers and concern."

"You're welcome Marilyn-bye."
She hung up the phone and reflected on the conversation. Joe was really concerned about her-about her!-her safety and well being, not just something physical. He wanted, no, he was anxious to see her...and truth be known, she was anxious to see him as well. In just one short week something had developed between them ... Things were coming together. Was it based in faith? Maybe, but for whatever reason they were heading down a path together and it felt good.

Marilyn got into the shower with a sense of comfort and satisfaction, knowing that her best days were still ahead of her. She was a victor...not a victim. God's promises were coming true in her life.

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John Wills spent 2 years in the U.S. Army before serving 12 years with the Chicago Police Department (CPD). He left the CPD to become an FBI Special Agent, working organized crime, violent crime, and drugs.  John Wills is an author of Chicago Warriors: Midnight Battles in the Windy City published by TotalRecallPress.com

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