Jane’s Surprises

 Aunt Harriet owned a hotel in a much-visited
area of southern England and split her time between hotel business and the
upbringing of her niece, Jane. Jane helped guests at the hotel’s welcome desk,
while not in school, and attended parties with Uncle Robert, which didn’t
happen often. This worried Aunt Harriet. Jane was a lively girl with her family
but shy around strangers. For the social reputation of their family, Aunt
Harriet suggested that Jane attend a popular equestrian riding event called the
Badminton Horse Trials. Beforehand, Jane had prayed, “Lord, please, help me to
make a good impression on the people that I meet for Uncle Robert and Aunt
Harriet’s sake. Amen.” The stadium itself that day had crowds of people lined on
the bleachers like pigeons on a rooftop, let alone those who were waiting to be

felt overwhelmed. But Uncle Robert seemed impatient to see someone. Finally, he
called out, “Brookings! I am glad to see you! How are you, sir?” A gentleman in
a tweed suit came up and shook Uncle Robert’s hand. Jane was glad that
introductions were brief as the competitions were beginning. She was eager to
see all of the beautiful horses and their skillful riders. The horses were beautiful
with their arched necks, graceful legs, and eyes that were bright with
intelligence. But she didn’t pay them as much attention as she would have
liked. All of the courage that she had mustered before coming to the stadium
had vanished at the sight of so many distinguished looking strangers. She was
afraid of shaming Aunt Harriet and Uncle Robert. In spite of this, Mr. Brookings
kept trying to strike up a conversation with her.

they were watching the horses in the show jumping category, Mr. Brookings
shouted above the cheering, “Any particular favorites?” Jane thought hard and
said, “I find sporting events to be so tranquilizing that I often find myself unable
to give competitors the full benefit of my attention,” —“not through any
fault of their own,” Jane added as Uncle Robert looked at her oddly. But Mr.
Brookings only smiled at her and said, “Oh, indeed?” Jane quickly picked up a Badminton
to appear busy. Uncle Robert started laughing and said, “Janey, you
have quite a sense of humor, don’t you?” Out of desperation, Jane decided to
speak to God again. “Lord, I feel that I’m an embarrassment to my family. I’m
so graceless and awkward. What should I do?”

Jane heard a still, small voice. “Sweetheart,” the voice said gently, “You’re
not an embarrassment to your family. Don’t be afraid. I will help you to
succeed in this situation.”

how?” Jane asked in disbelief.

still, small voice said, “You could try talking to Mr. Brookings as a friend.”

said, “But, Lord, I couldn’t.”

still, small voice said, “Jane, please try it for me. I don’t think that you
will have cause to regret it. I will help you know what to say.” Eventually,
Jane agreed and decided to ask Mr. Brookings a question.

be continued…

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you enjoy it! love


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Jane’s Surprises

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