As we left our story, Fran attended a singles dinner at her church, and sat at a table with a single man named David, new to the city and to the church, who invited her out for a cup of coffee afterwards. She found David attractive and is hoping to hear from him again. In fact, he asked for her number and said he’d call.
It’s the next day, and Fran has had a hard time concentrating at work today, as she thinks about David and anticipates his call. She’s thought of nothing else all day and Jesus has had a hard time getting her attention throughout the day.
That evening as she’s doing a load of laundry, her phone rings, and Fran’s heart stops. Maybe it’s David! She rushes to pick up her phone, and then let’s it rings one more time. Then she tries to casually answer, only to discover it’s not David, it’s Patsy. They chat a few minutes, and she hangs up. Her mother calls and wants to chat, but Fran pretends to be busy in order to get her off the phone and free it up. Finally at 11:00 she drags herself to bed, feeling disappointed. She really thought David would call tonight.
Finally she talks to the Lord about it: “Lord, it felt so good to have that male attention,” Fran says, brushing away a couple of tears.
“I know,” Jesus responds. “I understand your need for male attention; but you can trust me to meet your needs in other ways, if necessary, and even if there isn’t another man in your future, I am capable of fulfilling you and making your life very meaningful. Can you trust me?”
“Yes,” Fran says, with the tears trickling down her face, “I can trust you, but I can’t imagine living the rest of my life without a husband. I’m lonely; it’s not fun being a single in a married world.”
“Well, you don’t have to live the rest of your life, Fran,” Jesus says very kindly, “just today. I’ve gotten you through the last few years; I can get you through today.”
As the week progresses, Fran finds herself still thinking about David, but with more perspective. But she is still hoping he will call, and every time the phone rings, her heart skips a couple of beats. But Thursday and Friday evening come and go without a call from David.
As she’s busy cleaning house on Saturday the phone rings, and Fran picks it up absentmindedly. “Hi, Fran, this is David. Remember me?” she hears from the other end. She truly did not expect it to be David, and it catches her by surprise.
“Oh, David, hi,” she finally manages to say. “Sure I remember you, of course. I just wasn’t expecting… Yes, I enjoyed our conversation, David. What? Tonight? Well, it would be nice to have dinner with you, but you see, I have two kids and to find a baby-sitter this late—well, I don’t see how I could.”
After a pause, Fran says, “Well, sure, I guess I could try. Yeah, okay, call me back in an hour or so. I’ll let you know.”
As she hangs up the phone, her heart is beating a mile a minute. Dinner tonight! She calls a couple of her teenage sitters, but they’re busy.
Finally she gets up the nerve to ask her mother if she can bring the kids over to her house and let them sleep over. Her mother is glad to have her grandchildren for the evening, but skeptical about Fran’s last minute invitation. Fran ignores her concern, and agrees to bring the kids over at 6:00.
David calls in a few minutes, Fran confirms she can have dinner with him, and then she looks at the clock. Almost noon. Wow, she’s going to have to get busy to get everything done and be ready for dinner. As she sits down to give her nails a quick going over, for the first time since David’s call she remembers that Jesus is there. “Well, Jesus, I guess you’re not happy with my date with David, either,” she says, trying to make light of it.
“I’ve been watching you all morning Fran. You’re really excited about this date, aren’t you,” Jesus says, ignoring her other remark.
“Surely there’s nothing wrong with that, is there? Don’t I have a right to some fun?” Fran replies, defensively.
“A right?” Jesus asks. “You’re still super concerned about your rights, Fran.”
“Well, I just used the wrong word. I mean, don’t I have—uh, don’t I deserve—I mean, what’s wrong with a date? You made men and women for each other, and David and I are attracted to each other. It’s just that simple,” Fran responds.
“Oh, Fran, I understand your feelings,” Jesus responds slowly. “But what I’m not happy with is your over-reaction to this invitation—to this man. You’ve shown very little caution or discernment, and you really don’t know him.”
The air is rather heavy between them, and Fran just leaves it at that point. Pretty soon it’s time to get her shower, fix her hair and find the right thing to wear. Then she hastily gets the kids ready, puts them in the car, and heads out to her mother’s house.
Back at her house, she checks her hair one more time, and sits down to wait for David. David is thirty minutes late, but finally the doorbell rings. David makes no mention of being late, and they head out to the restaurant. The conversation goes along smoothly, picking up where they left off Tuesday evening. Fran tells David more about her family, her job. Then David starts talking about his marriage.
“My ex-wife tried to take me for everything I’m worth when we divorced. I’ve taken her to court twice to get the payments reduced, but it doesn’t work. She tells lies and they always believe what the woman says,” David says, with bitterness in his voice.
Fran is very uncomfortable with the conversation, and feels an uneasiness in her spirit about his attitude toward his ex-wife. Trying to change the subject, she says, “How about your sons? Do you get to see them often?”
“Well, before I moved here I saw them once or twice a month. Now, it’ll be a little harder,” David says, “but they’re busy teenagers. They don’t have a lot of time for anything but soccer and girls!”
Again, a bell goes off in Fran’s head. Only saw his sons once or twice a month? Wow, doesn’t say a lot for his role as a father.
“Fran,” Jesus says quietly, “I hope you’re listening.”
Fran squirms in her seat. Being reminded that Jesus is there makes her a bit uncomfortable, but there’s no denying that David is not making the best impression. However, she changes the subject, and the evening continues nicely.
In this nice setting, with the music and the good food, Fran thinks, “He really is a nice looking man.” He smiles at her warmly, and reaches for her hand.
“I’m so glad I met you, Fran,” David says, as the waiter is pouring their coffee. “You don’t know how lonely it’s been to move to a city where you don’t know anybody. I’m glad you could be with me tonight.”
The touch of his hand feels good. It’s been a long time and Fran enjoys the feeling. “Well, I’m glad we met, too, David. Since Jim’s death I’ve been terribly lonely, but I’ve also learned that Jesus can fill up some of the lonely places. He’s become more of a friend to me than ever before.”
“Yeah, right,” David responds. It’s the first reference to anything spiritual all evening and David doesn’t seem too comfortable. After paying the bill, they head out to his car. As he opens the door for her, before she realizes it, his arm goes around her and he is kissing her firmly. She tries to pull away without being obvious, but it catches her by surprise.
“Sorry if I surprised you, Fran,” David says, with his arm still around her, “but you’re a beautiful woman and I’ve wanted to do that all evening.”
“Well,” Fran stammers, “yeah, well—we better get on home, David.” All the way home, while keeping up some small talk, Fran feels that kiss. The chemistry starts fast, and from David’s rather nervous chatter, she gets the feeling that he’s thinking about it, too.
As they get to her door, she starts to say goodnight. It’s an awkward moment. She doesn’t intend for him to kiss her again, but in a way she hopes he’ll try. Fishing for her keys, she says, “Well, I hope to see you in church tomorrow. And thanks again, David. It was a really lovely evening.”
“Your kids aren’t here, are they?” David asks, as he holds the screen door.
“No, they’re at my mom’s for the night,” Fran replies.
“Well, then no reason I have to rush off, is there? Can we drum up another cup of coffee?” he asks with a disarming smile.
Fran feels obligated, but she knows it’s not smart to be alone with him. “Well, it’s kinda late; maybe another time,” she says.
“Oh, come on Fran, we’re both adults,” David says, moving closer to her. “And the house is empty. You have needs, so do I; why don’t we enjoy the evening.”
Seven hundred alarms now go off in Fran’s head. “David,” she says, “I don’t know what you have in mind, but the answer is no.”
He actually starts to push the door open as Fran unlocks it, and go in. “David,” she repeats, “I said goodnight.”
“Fran, I didn’t take you out just to have someone to eat with,” he looks her in the eyes, and the charm has vanished. “Now, come on. You got rid of the kids tonight so we could be alone—admit it.”
“David,” Fran says with alarm, “what are you saying? I certainly had no intention of anything more than dinner.”
“Fran, let’s just have some fun,” David says. “You’re single; I’m single; what difference does it make.”
“David, I thought you were a Christian,” Fran says with shock.
“I am, but that doesn’t mean I’m a monk! I am a man, after all,” he replies.
At this point, he starts to push the door open again, and Fran remembers to call for help. “Lord, help, please help!”
“Pull the door shut again, Fran. It will then automatically lock. And stay on the porch until he drives off,” Jesus whispers in her ear.
Quickly, before David realizes what she’s doing, Fran pulls the door shut. “David, I will stand here on this porch until you drive off. Goodnight,” she says, and the finality in her voice finally gets the message across.
“Fran, I’m sorry I wasted your time. I thought you were a woman who knows the score. Obviously I was wrong,” he says over his shoulder.
Fran leans against the door as her knees start to buckle. “Oh, Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you. If you hadn’t given me that idea, who knows what would have happened.”
Fran goes into the house and sinks down on the sofa. The tears start rushing down her cheeks as she realizes what happened. “Oh no, oh no, how could I have been so stupid. Oh, Lord, I think he would have raped me if I hadn’t gotten that door closed. Did you see the look in his eye?”
“I saw his heart, Fran; that’s why I wanted you to get to know him better before you were alone with him,” Jesus says to her gently.
“I’m sorry, Lord, I didn’t listen to you or mom or anybody,” Fran says sobbing. “I just wanted to be with a man so badly that I lost all reasoning and all my sensibilities. Oh, I’m sorry.”
“Now, Fran, don’t cry anymore. You’re safe. I know you never intended for the evening to go like this. You’ve learned some good lessons you won’t forget,” Jesus says.
As she crawls in bed, she surveys her room and thinks about her kids. “Oh, I love those kids. And I hardly gave them any time today,” she remembers, and the tears start to trickle again.
“Now, Fran,” Jesus says quietly, “don’t start wallowing in guilt. You made some basic mistakes; but no harm has been done. So, learn from it, grow from it, and let it go.”more