It’s that time of year, friends! I LOVE writing Christmas stories!! I hope you enjoy this one! But if you’re short on time and want to listen as I read it while you finish your wrapping, you can click here for the video.
Merry Christmas, God bless you, and I hope you enjoy this year’s story!
The Gift of Time
The waiting room was chilly, but at least I’d found a chair in the sunlight and the Christmas music wasn’t too loud.
My knees popped and my back ached as I stood.
The receptionist smiled behind the glass. “What brings you in today, Mr. Wiley?”
“I told you over the phone. I just need my prescription refilled. Don’t know why I had to come in for that.”
“I understand,” she said, typing. “The doctor is running late, but he should be here soon.”
I turned and hobbled back to my warm chair, noticing I was still the only one in the waiting room. Most people were probably out shopping for their Christmas hams or presents for their little ones. I had a small steak thawing on the counter, and I’d bought the expensive birdseed for the feeder. My shopping was done.
I spotted a magazine about men’s health on the table beside me, picked it up, and squinted at the article about lowering my cholesterol as the sunlight warmed the back of my neck. If I were at home, I’d probably fall asleep.
The office door opened and a slender man wearing a black fedora walked in and sat beside me. It never failed. Even when I parked at the far end of the lot to avoid door dings, someone would always park right beside me.
“Morning,” the man said, brushing against my arm. “You ready for Christmas?”
“How about the rapture?”
If I’d been chewing on a stick of gum, I would have swallowed it.
“Doesn’t take much,” the man said. “People put more time into decorating for Christmas than they do thinking about the reason for it all and getting ready for what’s coming.”
I closed the magazine. “Well, I don’t decorate. A bunch of nonsense if you ask me. And I know it’s about the birth of Jesus Christ. I accepted Him as my Savior when I was a boy. I’m not some simpleton.”
The man chuckled.
“What’s so funny?”
“You remind me of someone by the name of Ebenezer. Except he was willing to change.”
I sat up higher, trying to look him square in the eyes since he was a foot taller. “Look, buddy, you don’t know a thing about me, so you have no right.”
“You’re Samuel Wiley. Widower. You’ve got three kids you haven’t talked to in months. Not since you hit the side of your garage and they asked you to stop driving.”
“Who are you?”
His eyes glimmered under the brim of his hat. “Just someone who cares and wants you to be ready. And you’re not ready if you’re holding a grudge. You’ve got to forgive. You know that.”
“They treat me like I’m an imbecile. And I’m the one who taught them how to drive! My wife couldn’t handle it. She was always the nervous type.”
“You miss her?”
“What kind of idiotic question is that? Of course, I miss her.”
“Then why would you want to risk not seeing her? You’ve got to forgive or you’re not forgiven. It’s as simple as that.”
“But it’s not that simple.”
“Hmm. Not when your pride is more important.”
“Look, buddy, I’m doing the best I can.”
“Your best isn’t good enough, Sam. You know that too. Why else would you be so miserable? Especially when this was always your wife’s favorite time of the year. She decorated the whole house, didn’t she? The smell of gingerbread still takes you back when she had your living room looking like a tacky department store. You miss that too.”
“I never told anybody that. Who are you?”
“I told you. Someone who’s trying to help you. Do you see that door over there?”
At the far end of the room, a narrow door I hadn’t noticed opened and a golden light spilled out, bathing the entire room in its glow while heavenly music washed over me. I stood with no aches and pains and moved toward the door, the light illuminating my skin as well as my soul.
But when I was about to reach the threshold, the door slammed shut in my face, taking the light from the room. I tried to open it, but it was locked. The darkness enveloped me in a frightening chill. And instead of music, there was the sound of horrific weeping – my own. I needed to try and open the door again, but now I couldn’t even find it in the dark. It was too late.
“Mr. Wiley? Mr. Wiley, are you okay?” the receptionist asked, shaking me. “I think you dozed off.”
I straightened up and almost dropped the magazine. “Did you see the man who came in? Did you see where he went?”
“You’re the only one who’s come in. The doctor is ready for you now. Do you need some help standing?”
“Uh, yes,” I said, realizing my legs were weak. “I might need a little help.”
The woman looped her arm around mine. “Are you ready?”
My hands began to tremble at her question. “No, I’m not. Can you give me a minute?”
“Sure. I’ll let the doctor know.”
I pulled out the phone my daughter gave me last year for Christmas and punched in her number.
“Yes, sweetheart. It’s me. I need to talk to you and your brothers. Can I come over?”
Her voice softened. “Of course, you can. Do you need me to…pick you up?”
“Okay. I don’t know if you got my card, but we’re celebrating Christmas tonight. How about we all talk then?”
I choked up. “I would like that very much. Thank you. But I don’t have any gifts to bring.”
“Oh, Dad,” she said, her voice cracking. “Spending time with you will be the best gift any of us could ask for. Can you be ready by four?”
“I’m ready right now,” I said, smiling.
We ended the call, so I tucked my phone back into my pocket as a Christmas song filled the waiting room and the sunlight grew brighter. And as I stood, I spotted a man’s black fedora on the seat beside me and knew I’d been given a gift too – time to forgive.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed, “The Gift of Time.” And if you want to read (or listen) to another story, click on the writing tab and you’ll find a number of stories and videos of my fictional work.
Thank you for your time!