Ruth Senter, Startled by Silence
I heard the voice but couldn't see the person. She was on the other side of the locker, just coming in from her early morning swim. Her voice sounded like the morning itself- bright, cheerful, and full of life. At 6:15 in the morning, it would catch anyone's attention. I heard its affirming tone.
"Delores, I really appreciated the book you picked up for me last week. I know the library was out of your way. I haven't been able to put the book down. Solzhenitsyn is a great writer. I'm glad you suggested him to me."
"Good morning Pat," she greeted another swimmer. For a moment the melodious voice was silent, then I heard it again. "Have you ever seen such a gorgeous day? I spied a pari of meadowlarks as I walked over this morning. Makes you glad you're alive, doesn't it?"
The voice was too good to be true. Who can be that thankful at this time of the morning? Her voice had a note of refinement to it. Probably some rich woman who has nothing to do all day but sip tea on her verandah and read Solzhenitsyn. I suppose I could be cheerful at 6A.M. if I could swim and read my way through the day. Probably even owns a cottage in the north woods.
I rounded the corner toward the showers and came fact to face with the youthful voice. She was packing her gear. Her yellow housekeeping uniform hung crisp and neat on her fiftyish frame. It was a uniform I'd seen before- along the mops, brooms, dust, cloths, and buckets. An employee of the faciliyt at which I swam, She flashed a smile my way picked up her plastic K-mart shopping bag, and hurried out the door spreading "have a glorious day" benedictions as she went.
I still had the yellow uniform on my mind as I swam my laps and sank down among the foamy lather of the whirlpool. My two companions told tragic woes of arthritic knees, a heart aneurysm, sleepless nights and pain filled days.
Nothing was good or right. The water was too hot, the whirlpool jets weren't strong enough for his stiff knees, and his doctors had been too slow in diagnosing his case. With his diamond studded hand, he wiped the white suds out of his face. He looked ancient, but I suspected he too was fiftyish.
The yellow uniform and the diamond studded ring stood out in striking silent contrast, proof to me again that when God says, "Godliness with contentment is great gain," He really means it. This morning, I saw both contentment and discontent. I resolved never to forget.