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…

A Relational Theologian

              I am not the systematic theologian with letters in front of his name. I am a relational theologian; a son, a husband, a father, a brother, a friend – I am loved and I love. I’m not interested in debate but I aspire to...

Where is God?

We had less than ten dollars to our name, mostly in loose change, and we had about a gallon of gas in the van. Karen is amazing, her faith stunning. She is well acquainted with our Father’s good love and made a statement that highlights it: “We have food in the fridge. We are blessed and God is so good.”

The Chill

If you have experienced it, then you know. It’s the perfect moment when your sound, soul, and spirit combine to create aural ecstasy

How to Be Transformed

I interrupted again, “I’m not looking for what you know, here,” I said, pointing to my head. “When is the last time you experienced to the core of your being His unquestionable pleasure, His joy, His overwhelming love for you, here?” I pointed to my heart.

HAROLD & LINDA EBERLE / THE NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION

Harold and Linda Eberle share about the catalytic love of God that is transforming our western understanding of the church. They speak on victorious mindsets, kingdom thinking, the myth of separation, reconciliation through the death of Jesus, and salvation through his life; plus old elephants! This is a power packed interview full of profound insight.

Vulgar Grace

Yes, it’s crazy. And yes it’s wild, and outrageous, and vulgar. And any God who would do such a thing is a God who has no taste. And worst of all, it doesn’t sell worth beans. But it is Good News—the only permanent good news there is—and, therefore, I find it absolutely captivating.

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!