Blue Book Value
By Corinne Smelker
"He’s leavin’ on that midnight train to Georgia," Kelly bellowed, blonde hair billowing as her convertible sped along the open road. She turned the radio up, trying to drown out her own thoughts.
"Where are you headed?" Stacy enquired.
"Dunno – don’t care." Kelly replied, typing busily.
"You’re kidding? By yourself? Aren’t you scared? Are you sure it’s safe? Won’t you get lonely?" Stacy sputtered to a stop.
"No, I’m not kidding, yes, by myself. No, I’m not scared, and no I’m not sure it’s safe, and I probably will get lonely." Calmly Kelly shut down her computer.
Stacy stared at her in amazement. "Man, I could never do that!"
"Well, then it’s a good thing you’re not going then isn’t it?" Kelly snapped.
"Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that."
"That’s ok." Stacy said.
Together they walked to the parking lot and Stacy climbed into her sensible Dodge Neon. Kelly moved to her Mustang. She had no idea where she was going. Not for nothing was her nickname Rambling Rose Gypsy! She felt she’d been born 400 years too late; everything had already been mapped, explored and in many cases exploited. But one did what one could, and this road trip was sorely needed.
"I got to go, I got to go." The lyrics reminded her of the last words to her soon-to-be-ex-husband.
"How dare you serve me divorce papers!" He’d come storming into the house.
"How dare you have several affairs behind my back, and then lie!" she flared back. "It’s over. I’ve got to go."
She slammed the door, not caring that Reese was still there. Most of the furniture belonged to him, and he thought too highly of it to destroy it.
That was two days ago, and was partly the reason she’d decided on the road trip. She needed to think about her future – one that didn’t include Reese. Two years of marriage, gone just like that. Well, only the first three months were good. Reese always had a wandering eye, but the wandering had gone further afield. So often she went to bed, only to be woken by his stumbling in and pathetic excuses of, "Had to work late, sorry."
As she drove along the quiet country road, dusk playing idly with the horizon, she was surprised to find tears threatening. She had loved Reese; she never got married thinking she would divorce.
Freedom! This was her idea of freedom. But, she had a niggling feeling she was missing something. She’d spent a month in China, a week in Japan, a fortnight in Kenya, and every time was left wanting more. Would this trip be any different? Oh, the thrill of the open road was compelling, but some spark, some magic always seemed elusive.
She slowed as a signpost came into view. She was on Route 38, heading west. Bringing the silver vehicle to a halt, she scanned the atlas. She saw a town, Ollie’s Pass, about 20 miles ahead. Kelly took off, leaving dust in her wake, towards the coming darkness. Within a few minutes she saw lights ahead of her, interspersed along the main road. Ollie’s Pass was obviously not well-inhabited, but if they had a motel she’d spend the night.
Ollie’s Pass was indeed a one-horse town, with just one four way crossing. There was however, a gas station. On enquiring, the attendant told her there was a motel about six miles from town.
There were no streetlights and she’d been warned the motel was off the beaten track. More like off the face of the planet, Kelly thought as the headlights caught snatches of red eyes. Eventually, she saw the neon lights that heralded the motel. Surprisingly, it was in much better shape than she expected. The driveway was unmarred by potholes, there was ample parking, and the front office cheery. She was given a room key, informed of all amenities, including a pool and a hot tub. "Thanks" she smiled; then caught herself short. That was the first smile that day – perhaps in weeks – that she’d given. Boy, this trip was already working!
She moved the convertible, grabbed her duffel – she always traveled light – and opened the door. Soft lights on either side of the king-size bed greeted her. Yeah, like I need that much room! The room had a Hawaiian theme, with rattan chairs and tropical colors that lent an air of the ocean to a room that was at least 1,000 miles from any salt water.
Flinging the duffel down, Kelly headed for a refreshing shower. Emerging damply, she ran a comb through her honey-blonde hair and idly flicked on the TV, opening drawers preparatory to stuffing in her clothes. Her attention was caught by a small blue book. She pulled it out. "Oh right. One of those Gideon Bibles. I didn’t think they still had them." She threw it on the bed, and filled the drawer with some necessities.
She plunked herself down and channel surfed looking for something to watch, but her mind wasn’t able to focus, not even on distractions. With a sigh of disgust, she turned off the TV. Perhaps she should pull out a book, she’d brought along a good supply. Or perhaps make plans to meet the "natives". On every other trip, she’d made it a point to discover all she could about the people she met. But this trip just felt different. Maybe it’s time to find out about me. Here I am, about to be divorced, and can I truly say I’m happy? Oh, I like my job, I have a lovely home, even if is about to be stripped bare by Reese; I have no kids, no responsibility, but who am I truly? What do I really want?
These questions had plagued her ever since she was little, but now more than ever. She thought she’d find happiness with Reese; that was a mistake. There was enjoyment with her job, still, there was something missing.
She espied the book she’d discarded earlier and picked it up, but it slipped out of her grasp and fell open on the bed. Curiously she looked at the text: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
The language was old-fashioned and it took her a moment to get the full import of the words. This can’t be true! There must be a catch. She continued to flick through the book, having no idea what the numbers meant, but now intrigued. Being raised in a post-modern society, she’d seen Bibles, but her only knowledge of Christians was what she saw on TV, and that was less than flattering! Once again she stopped. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Her attention was drawn to ‘eternal life’. Wasn’t that what everyone wanted?
Frantically now she read wherever her eyes fell, and although the language was hard to follow, the intent wasn’t. She had never heard the stuff that was contained in these pages. She lost sense of time, as she continued to flip through; gaining a greater understanding of this God whom she thought was at a distance. But according to this, not only was He up close, He wanted to get personal with her!
She saw a printed insert at the back, and turned to it. It was an invitation to get to know this God. It can’t be that simple? Everything within her screamed this was too easy, there had to be a catch, someone somewhere was going to want something, probably money. She read through the invitation again. It was very straightforward and explained things with a clarity that appealed to her.
"What the heck. I have nothing to lose. Lord. I don’t know whether you’re real or not, but my name is Kelly, although you probably already know that. Ok, um, well let’s see. This paper tells me if I invite you to be my Savior, you’ll do just that. And I think more than anything I need a Savior, ‘cos I’m surely not doing too well on my own. So, I would like you to be my Lord and Savior." Hesitantly she looked around, fearing something would come and engulf her, but nothing changed. Well, except for a flood of relief and peace like she’d never felt before.
"Is this for real? What’s happening? God. You are real. You are real!" Kelly squealed. She knew instinctively she was cutting her road trip short and would head back to town in the morning and find a church. She had to share this incredible story with someone!
She pulled back the covers, nestled under the blanket, cradling her new prized possession, an unprepossessing little blue book. One road trip might be cut short, but a journey of another kind was just beginning.
*All Scripture references are Kings James Version, as used by the Gideon Organisation.*
Corinne Smelker is the mom to five kids and wife of one husband. She is a self-employed writer and also the administrator for Prophetic Life Ministry, a Christian Ministry located in San Antonio. Cori also writes and posts daily devotionals to that site.
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