Christian Short Stories

Web writes: "Information gathering for military intelligence when I was in the army and being a newspaper reeporter for a subsequent 40 years, does not liberate me from memories that won't go away completely. I've had to realize it is God's plan to set me up for as better life, one in which to serve Him better."

God Should Be First
By Web Ruble

There is something about old age that makes one nostalgic and warped, or nearly so. That is the case this time.

While getting a breath of fresh fall air on a stroll sometimes brings pleasant memories, I sometimes trigger a premonition just going out the door. There’s nothing wrong with the present, you understand, but sometimes that past just won’t go away -- completely.

Big eyes. I remember that about her – she had big eyes that you could drown in. Moreover, she had curves in the right places, and she had cutest personality this side of the Pecos. Not only that but our sensitive inner beings dove-tailed.

This side of the Pecos? What about the other side? I don’t know. I’ve never been there.

However, quite often when I retreat to the campus of that first college, my memory obsesses on that other classic gal that got away. Sheila. We had both transferred from that small college to the University of Oregon. And then when the army got me, she wrote to me while I was trooping and stomping down at Fort Ord.

I remember slouching and dozing in a muddy ditch when some sergeant came down the line with the mail. Apparently the then-existent command had decided to deliver the mail to us out there because we would be gone from post on a two-week maneuver.

Lettter from home? Wow. But wait a minute, there was another. ‘Twas from Sheila, that doll-face, cheerful, cheeky girl with the lovely cloying curls who had liberated my heart a few months earlier without me being completely aware of it.

I remember well reading her letter. My spirit soared. It lifted me right out of that dismal nitch. My soul went beyond the clouds. Oh, I was so taken! Surrounded by all of those heady guys on campus and she was writing to me in a dunce-cap uniform, far from anything, some 700 miles away. Incredible.

I knew then that she was the one for me. No question. I felt I couldn’t live without her. I had to have her in my life.

When I came home on leave and passed through Eugene, I had made arrangements to visit her. She was in a sorority house, and had cleared out her afternoon calendar for me.

I was levitating as we sat at fireside and for the first time we got into serious discussion. Usually, we just joked and giggled, talking about people we knew and funny things that had happened, as if we had known each other all our lives. But not this time. I said something like, “I’m trying to figure a way to keep you on ice until I get back from overseas.”

As expected, she retorted, “You’re not going to.”

So then I bravely asked, “Is there any chance you’ll still be available when I get back?” And with the most serious look on her face, she said, “Yes, I well may be!”

Oh, I thought the sky was going to break. My spirit zipped into the next galaxy. Just think, Sheila could one day be mine!

There has been no joy greater for me than at that moment.

I don’t remember leaving her sorority house, but I vaguely remember skipping up the 13th Street cobbles to the bus depot to catch a stage for the rest of my trip home.

That was the last time I saw her. We both married somebody else.
Disappointing? Yes. As a matter of fact, it was awful. Because I did a terrible thing -- I got married first -- leaving her hanging. There were many reasons for it, but no excuses and I won’t bother to go into the reasons.

However, whenever I think about the past and my early experiences, I am able to push aside my guilt-loaded moroseness and dream of the captivating Sheila.

That might be unfair. As a matter of fact, I am sure ‘tis.

Because the first one to tie my heart into a knot was Marova Vardof, a vivacious girl with big eyes at that same small college a year earlier.
She, too, is hard to forget when I allow myself to think about her.
The difference between the two is my romance with Marova lasted but a few months. Whereas, with Sheila, it had been at least two years, maybe more. Sheila had stolen my heart. However, beguiling Marova might have captured it had we stayed connected longer.

Like most relationships, it was complicated. But what ultimately ended the Marova mix was she never returned to that college.

Years later I heard she had transferred to Oregon State, and had become a rally girl. I am a little unsure of the latter. But I am sure she married some astute guy.

My problem, however, remains: days and nights still exist -- can you believe it? A good half century later? -- when I obsess and dream of Sheila. I just will never be able to get over her. And to a certain extent, the same holds for Marova.


I keep asking myself that. It sounds very selfish and otherwise doesn’t make sense.

It bothered me so much a decade ago, that one day I had to have a talk with a minister friend of mine, the Rev. Ken Kager. The Rev. Mr. Kager’s take on it was -- neither one was meant to be.

Huh? How could that be, when I was so convinced at the time? I told him that on that sort of thing I considered my world a holy triangle -- Sheila, me and God. And it is so spiritually crushing to have it not turn out.

He waved off my bourgeois analysis, saying that I obviously didn’t put God first in the “triangle.”

Nevertheless, I am heart-pounding thankful that God put those two wonderful young women in my path. His act of so doing, confirms for me that He is in my life. He jogged my heart and soul, and eventually made my life.

(© 2012 Web Ruble – All rights reserved. Written material may not be duplicated without permission.)

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