Elmer's Fortune

 

 

 

 

Elmer ate Chinese alone in a corner booth of Taste of NY Restaurant; chicken and broccoli with string beans.

Elmer used a plastic fork.

He watched a neighboring table of young people; early twenties. They were hanging all over each other, familiar in the way of youth. One girl, in a yellow sweater, was reading a fortune from her cookie. Elmer couldn’t make it out but heard the last words

“in bed.”

Everyone laughed and Elmer smiled, tiredly.

He knew the game.

Elmer noted the fortune cookie on his table, he hadn’t even realized it was there. And his smile faded. He never ate the cookie, to Elmer they tasted like stale burnt vanilla waffles. But he used to love opening them. Especially with friends, especially with her. He realized it had been years since he’d read his fortune.

Suddenly Elmer felt a deep sadness. The kind you can only experience with age and loss. The young people’s oblivious hope was contagious and he missed that feeling, the sense of wonder and expectation in the simple act of opening and then reading a fortune. The feeling that anything was possible, that the future was going to be, somehow, better.

Elmer reached for his cookie. He worried the cellophane packaging open and cracked his fortune free.

Unfolding the small slip of paper, he read, “You can’t get there from here.”

“In bed” he whispered almost subconsciously and he smiled. Just then the girl in the yellow sweater laughed at some random jest. “There is only here,” he thought, reveling a moment longer in the wonderful stubborn naivete of youth.

His mind turned to the hospital across the street, the future he couldn’t know.

He got up and fumbled a five-dollar bill out of his pocket for the Asian daughter who had brought out his food. He whispered a prayer for her and the kids at the booth; that kindness would find them before life did.

He looked down at his fortune one last time. “You can’t get there from here.”

Elmer nodded.

He had often wondered at the infuriating mystery of a God who puts such longing for “there” within the stubborn heart of the man traveling headlong down the wrong road.

“There is only here,” he thought, “And I can’t stay.”

Elmer walked out of the Chinese restaurant.

 


Jason Clark
is a writer, producer, speaker, and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children, Madeleine, Ethan, and Eva.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE…

Bible Words

Repentance: is not about religious penance. In the Greek it suggests a radical mind shift; it is to realize God’s amazing thoughts towards us!

You Are the Coin

Coins bear an image. You carry the image and imprint and poetry and signature of the divine, who has engraved you on the palms of His hands.

Papa Was A Minister

After Papa dies, he was a better man; full of grace and love. My Papa was a minister. He was a good man before he died.

A Religious Ass

When I go to sleep I’m His favorite! When I wake up I’m still His favorite! Whether I behave well or fail miserably I’m still His favorite! This union, oh this union is the game changer! Christ in me and me in Him!

Repent! The Kingdom of God is Within You

Yes, repent! Change the way you think until “righteousness, peace, and joy” are your reality; until the confidence of “on earth as it is in heaven” is your perspective; until you sense the arms of your kind and loving Father enveloping you and you grow sure in His nature to work all things to our good.

DALE HOWIE / UNSPOKEN SERMONS ON THE GOOD NEWS OF INCLUSION

Paraphrasing the sermons of George MacDonald, Dale Howie shares his sometimes painful, often beautiful, journey of awakening to the irreducible truth of life discovered in relationship. He speaks to grace, our common Fatherhood, our inclusion in Christ’s life, death and resurrection, our union, and the wonder of our humanity. A humble storyteller and relational theologian, Dale speaks as a father on behalf of Our Father, who loves all His children with a reconciling love.

Sovereign Love

God Is (Not) In Control / Six-Part Teaching Series FREE
Learn More

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!