We continue the story of Fran and Jesus on the Job. For many years now, I’ve been telling this story of a workplace woman named Fran, who is forced back into the job market when her husband is suddenly killed. With two young children, Fran has faced many struggles as a single working mom, but through it all she is learning to practice the presence of Jesus. That is the purpose of these stories—to encourage all of us to be continually aware of the presence of our Lord, because when we’re born from above, he is with us always.
This is a busy week for Fran because her church is sponsoring a weekend retreat for the women, and she’s in charge of registration. Drew and Alice are staying with her folks while she is away, and on Friday afternoon she leaves work a little early to take the kids over and get them settled. Then she meets some friends at the church, where they car pool to the camp grounds, about 30 miles out of the city.
Friday evening is a fun time, and Fran is well-prepared to welcome the women and help them get settled. Over 150 women have registered to come, and the fellowship is really wonderful.
Saturday morning, they have a general session with great music and a wonderful speaker who talks about putting our past behind us. Afterwards, they form small groups to discuss the topic.
Fran begins the discussion by saying, “Even though it’s been six years since Jim was killed, I still find myself living in the past and dreaming of the way my life used to be.”
Her friend, Andrea, joins in. “I know. . .it seems so hard sometimes to let go of the past—whether it’s the good past or the bad past.”
The conversation continues, but Fran notices that one woman in the group is very quiet. Her name is Cynthia. She’s new to Fran, and she just seems to be miserable. As the group breaks up, Fran makes a point to walk with Cynthia and start a conversation.
“We’re so glad you joined us for our retreat. Is this your first time?” Fran asks.
“Yes,” replies Cynthia, but says nothing more.
Not knowing what to say, Fran finally asks, “Are you okay? Is there anything I can do to help you?”
At this, Cynthia covers her face with her hands and tries to control her sobs. Fran guides her to a secluded place where they can talk privately. Somehow Fran senses that God has ordained this meeting, but she wonders what in the world could be upsetting Cynthia so much.