Mary Stories
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Judy Smart had just returned from one of her numerous job hunts. Tired out and frustrated, she made her way to the kitchen. It was practically empty. She had run out of supplies Again and the thought of going back to Tracy and Tessy to ask them to lend her some money was mortifying. To think that she would have to again go through those rigorous lectures about taking her life in her own hands and all that tutorial about using what you have to get all that you need, including happiness, made her panic.

Since she graduated nearly three years ago, she had wandered from one organisation to another in search of a job. She had actually lost count of all the places her application had reached. At first, she had been very selective, but when she discovered that getting a job was harder than she had thought, she started to apply even to those places she had earlier considered as being out of bounds, yet, nothing happened.

In the beginning her family was very supportive. They encouraged her to keep the faith, that God would make a way soon. However, as they were helpless themselves, they could do nothing to help her with the job issue. Still, they never ceases to pray for and counsel her when necessary. After sometimes however, she decided to leave home. She was tired of being a burden to anyone. She just had to find a way to chart the course of her life, Even if it meant doing it without them.

Unfortunately, since she couldn't think of any other means of raising money, she had to keep going back to the only friends she knew could be of help. But they were not as unfriendly as she had feared. They gave her whatever she requested. To further heighten her surprise, on one of the occasions that she visited them, Tessy informed her that an arrangement had been made for her to see the General Manager of one insurance company the next day. She couldn't believe her ears. She thanked them profusely and left with high hopes. All the way home, she couldn't stop musing on how fortunate she was to be blessed with such wonderful friends.

' She could hardly wait for the morning;!

Just as she got out of bed the next morning, Tessy called and asked her to dress "Properly" she understood exactly what that meant and it made her a little uncomfortable. But she shrugged off every thought that would make her change her mind Against going for this one. Tessy said it was an appointment to see the General Manager of an insurance company. There couldn't be anything wrong with that. Besides, the ladies had been very nice to her. She was sure they meant no harm at all. With that encouragement, she left the house.

Next, they were in a very large office. It appeared like a reception. She was beginning to get jittery. With the occasional Pats from her friend however, she relaxed a little. A man, most likely in his sixties, approached them. The smile he wore was disarming. She relaxed completely now. She however tried to be in her best formal mood. She listened to the man talk for the next ten minutes. He said what he wanted was a Personal Assistant . He asked her a few questions and told her that she was just the right candidate for the job.

It all happened so fast. It seemed so much like a dream.

'She was P.A to the G.M!;

When he named the sum he intended to pay her as salary, she went wild with excitement. He however made it clear that there were no specifications regarding her work schedule. She couldn't care less about that. She could work for twenty-four hours on that kind of salary!

As soon as they were out of the place, Tessy drove them straight to a boutique. When she asked to know what they were doing there, she told her flatly that she needed new clothes for her new job. She tried to protest, but her protests made no difference. She had to dress in a way that befitted the Personal Assistant to the boss.

Later that day, Just called to inform her parents of the good news. When she gave the details, her father told her that she could not take up the appointment. He happened to have met a young lady who used to work there and from the facts he gathered about the place, he was convinced that a lady with strong Christian convictions couldn't work there. Everything her father said was met with a rebuff. She was past caring about convictions and all those religious nonsense. She resumed the appointment despite warning from her parents.

The first few weeks at work were very normal. Soon however, things started moving really fast. And she too had to move fast, she realized.

One night, she got a call from her boss to meet him at a party. One of their customers was throwing a party and they had to be in attendance; it was one way of keeping the relationship with their clients going. From then on, partying became a major part of her job specification.

Before long, she relaxed and started to enjoy it all. They attended one party after another. She was used as bait for getting clients that proved difficult. The same Judy who had not had men coming for her hand all the while she was jobless, now had countless number of them craving her attention. She basked in the euphoria of the moment. She had everything she desired. Thanks to her friends, she probably would still be roaming the streets in search of jobs that remained elusive.

One Night, however, something happened that was to open her eyes to one of the harsh realities of life. While returning from another party thrown by the company's latest client, her driver ran into a stationary truck. The impact was ghastly. The driver died on the spot while Judy was thrown halfway between life and death. When the news got to the company, both the G.M and the entire staff rallied round to help her get back on her feet. They could not afford to loose her at this time. She has become very instrumental to the growth of the company's client's base within a short time. For several months, the doctors battled to save her life. They succeeded in saving her eventually, but sadly, the accident had affected her spinal cord. She was paralyzed from waist down. She had to be confined to a wheel chair.

Few months after she was discharged from the hospital, she got a letter telling her that she had been relieved of her appointment. She called her boss to find out what the matter was. He lied to her (and she knew it) that the company was going through a tough time and some downsizing was necessary. She tried to appeal to him that she could still be useful to the company but her appeal was to no avail. Of what use would a spineless beauty be to him and the organization?

She tried to get Tessy and Tracy to help her talk to him but they told her bluntly that there was nothing they could do to help her. For sometime both ladies stayed around to help her financially and to assist with her house chores but that didn't last for long. They soon abandoned her completely, citing strenuous job schedules as an excuse. It was as if all her friends had connived to abandon her. The calls stopped coming in. All her numerous male callers ceased to call her; even those who had professed undying love for her were nowhere to be found. Many days she stared at her phone all day, Craving even a beep. But none ever came. The few times she managed (with the support of one of her unwilling neighbours) to visit Tessy and Tracy at home, she never went beyond the gate. Every attempt she made to reach them on phone proved completely useless.

When she saw that her friends had turned their backs on her, she decided to turn to her family. Her father insisted that there was nothing they could do to rescue her. Hers was a self inflicted calamity; and she had to bear the consequences alone. All her entreaties fell on deaf ears. At a time when she needed company the most; she was left to carry on alone.

With all her friends gone and no one to talk to, she tried to face life by herself. But she desperately needed help. She was miserable. She woke every night crying so bitterly. She craved company. She needed so badly to talk to someone, but she was never to have that opportunity Again.

There is good news for you, reader. There is a companion that never fails through the ups and downs of life or in death. That companion is God. He is able to restore the FADED GLORY.
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