Monday, May 7, 1917 – Direction
Mr. Branson came home with a telegram today, couldn't wait to show Mrs. Branson. It was from their son, George. Told them he enlisted to help end all this fuss over in Europe. Mr. Branson was so proud. He's been in a fine mood since he got home.
A knock rapped at May's door. She placed her pen next to her journal. “Come in.”
The door creaked open. Mrs. Branson poked her head through. “Dinner in about fifteen minutes, dear.”
“Thank you, ma'am,” May replied. She noted the tense expression. “Need any help?”
“Oh, no, not tonight. I've been in such a tizzy since Mr. Branson came home my hands are happy to have something to work with.” Mrs. Branson nervously rubbed them together, then realizing she had betrayed her emotions she put them to her side and patted her dress. “I'll be alright. I know somebody's got to go over there and end all this nonsense. It's just that mother in me that gets all worried, I guess.” She breathed a deep sigh. “Well, no sense fretting about something good my boy has decided to do. Could be lots worse. I think I'll get back to dinner.”
Once the latch to the door clicked shut, May smiled with empathy and whispered, “Give her peace, Lord.” Her heart brewed on the concern Mrs. Branson had shown, the diligence that called her but no direction.
I feel as if the hardest choices are some of the easiest to make. God gives some people such clarity that the path they are to take is laid before their feet, and they need only walk, no, run down it. But what of those who hit the crossroads? Should they keep running to the evil of presumption, or halt to the evil of idleness?
“My brother's a marine now!” one of the boys from May's class beamed earlier that day, his thumbs in the straps of his overalls, his stance so proud as if it were his own accomplishment. “Enlisted over the weekend, he did.”
“My sister is a nurse, so she joined the Red Cross,” another boy added.
“Well, my brother is going to pilot airplanes,” a little girl said.
“What about you, Miss Gibman?” another girl asked, raising her hand. “Are you going to do anything?”
“Of course,” May had replied. “Everyone should do something to help.”
The little girl instinctively raised her hand again. “What are you going to do?”
May sat in her room, staring at her journal. “What am I?”
The call for men and women to rise and help the nation fight for the freedom of democracy in the world had been sounded. Men were commissioned to enlist, to defeat the tyranny of the Germans and their Kaiser and to plow the fields for liberty. But what should she do? She was no nurse, only a teacher. Should she continue to teach? And if not, then what? May was certainly not the kind of girl to sell war bonds, although her friends teased that the boys would buy from her just because of her looks.
And what of Richie? May had been able to talk with him for a while the night before. He was just as she figured him: young, rugged and single, all of which were prime for the war. What were his thoughts about all this? If he was already planning on shipping over to France, then it seemed a pointless pursuit for her to seek to get to know him more. But what if he was staying? That would change every circumstance she was considering. She felt as though she had to know what he was going to do before she could act, but that she would have to act on something before knowing what he was going to do.
May looked down at her page. She picked up her pen and placed her other hand on the desk empty and open.
I do not ask for the clarity of the path before me, Lord, but only that my steps be guided. Let Your word be a lamp to my feet. Abba, Father, hold my hand, and as You lead do not take me to temptation. I need You to steer away from the paths of selfishness or obligation and lead me by the still waters. I know that is where I can find peace in Your Will.
Another abrupt tap at the door sounded. “Yes?”
Mrs. Branson's voice called from the other side. “I thought I'd let you know, dear. Mr. Branson invited a guest for dinner, a hand who helped him on a project in the barn today. Nice lad from church. Richard, was it? Anyway, he's downstairs now so don't let the company wait too long.”
May's heart jumped. “I won't,” she managed to get out of her suddenly tightened throat. She picked up her pen again to jot one more thing before heading downstairs. Direction, Lord. Give me direction.