School secretary, Miranda Wilkins is thrilled when Paul Green walks into her life. The handsome gym coach is everything she wants in a man--except for one problem. He's stopped trusting in a loving God. As she attempts to persuade Paul to trust, her own faith is tested. Her mother is gradually becoming mentally and physically incapacitated by a mysterious illness, and her father and sister are suffering from a strain that threatens to tear the family apart. Will Miranda have the strength to be a witness to Paul, or will her tribulations and his anger at God cause him to drift from her?
Miranda stuffed the last memo into a teacher’s drawer. In a few minutes the bell would ring. Streams of children would pour in the doors.
She moved to her desk to make sure the morning announcements were in order and noticed two pages were unstapled. A two-second task turned into exasperation as the stapler jammed. “Don’t cross me today,” she threatened, prying the staple with her fingernail. She whacked the stapler across the desk after her first approach succeeded only in breaking her nail.
A male voice broke the silence. “I hate those things when they don’t work.”
She spun around. She surveyed the tall blond man who stood at the counter, impressed by the good natured face and most intense blue eyes she had ever seen. She felt her cheeks flush at the knowledge that the fit of temper had been observed.
He smiled and a small cleft appeared in his chin. He looked like the outdoors type.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t see you standing there. May I help you?” she asked.
He nodded. “I’m Paul Green. I’m here to see Mrs. Walters. I believe she’s expecting me.”
Miranda buzzed the principal.
“Mr. Green is here to see you.”
“Send him in,” came the cheerful reply.
“She can see you now.” She caught a scent of his aftershave as she closed the door. Her curiosity flamed. She lingered near the door for a moment, hoping to make out words.
Reluctantly, she went back to her task of unjamming the balky stapler, wondering what brought Mr. Green into the office this morning.
He was probably a parent. The thought of him belonging to another woman was oddly disturbing. For the few seconds their gaze met, she wanted to keep looking forever, to take in every detail of his well-structured face. Paul Green had deep blue eyes, short-cropped blond hair, a cleft in his chin, and a slightly mischievous grin. Why were the good ones always off-limits to her?
Hearing him chuckle, she wondered if he discussed his child with Mrs. Walters and if the child had those same blue eyes. What would it be like to have a child who reminded one of a handsome husband? She gave the stapler a disgusted bang on her desk, wondering if she’d ever find out.
The door opened and Paul walked out with the principal.
Miranda’s pulse quickened.
“Have you met our school secretary, Miranda Wilkins?” Mrs. Walters asked. “Not officially. Miranda is a pretty name. It suits you.” Paul smiled at Miranda.
“Thanks.” She felt the flush again.
“Paul’s starting an after school athletic program two days a week for our extended day kids,” Mrs. Walters continued. “He’s the baseball and P.E. coach at
the high school.”
The opening bell rang and a teacher walked in holding two scuffed-up boys by the arms. “They were fighting again. I told them their parents would have to be called.”
“Right. I’ll take care of it,” said the principal. She turned to Miranda. “Would you show Paul to the gym and introduce him to the PE teachers? They’re expecting him.”
He wasn’t wearing a ring. Maybe he didn’t like rings or perhaps it was dangerous to wear one when teaching sports. Maybe, though, he was single.
Stop being an idiot, she told herself firmly as she took a deep breath. She was just showing him to the gym. She led him down a corridor full of children and saw him glance along the walls at the student papers and artwork.
“This takes me back. I remember how excited I was the first time I got a gold star on a math paper. The teacher put it up on the wall,” he said.
“I know what you mean. I had a third grade teacher who used to put my art papers up.”
“Do you still like art?” He looked down at her, full of genuine interest.
“Yes. I love to paint.” She caught the scent of his aftershave. The cinnamon was more pleasant than the pine cleaner that lingered on the linoleum floor.
One of the P.E. coaches, was busy loading kick-balls into a wire carrying case. When she saw Miranda, she paused expectantly.
“Jean, this is Paul Green,” Miranda said. “He’s here to talk to you about the after school athletic program.”
“Oh yes. Come on in. I’ll show you our equipment.”
“Thanks for guiding me.” Paul smiled at Miranda, touching her lightly on the shoulder before he strode off across the gym floor. As she turned to walk back, she could still feel the pressure of his fingertips on her shoulder and was filled with a school-girl sense of anticipation. Why, she wasn’t sure.
Back in the office, she noticed Emilie, the attendance clerk, had arrived. She was a stout woman in her mid-thirties, divorced and re-married, with two young kids who attended the school. She was plagued by problems with her new husband, as well as the ex-husband.
“I thought I’d never get the car to start this morning. It needs work, but Ed’s running late with child support again and there’s not enough money for repairs.”
“It must be hard for you and the kids.” Miranda said in sympathy.
“I try not to talk about him in front of them, but its hard when things like this happen.”
Miranda and Emilie got back to work and the hours flew by in the busy office. Soon it was time to go home. Miranda cleared the paperwork off her desk and waved as Emilie departed.
She glanced up to see Mrs. Walters lock her office door. “I hope your plans for tonight are more fun than mine,” she told Miranda as she patted her satchel full of paperwork.
Paul’s face danced in the back of her mind. Blond hair, blue eyes, and an engaging smile she could not erase from her memory. Would she see him tomorrow?
She hoped she would.
Q1. Do you believe that it is best to protect your loved ones from your problems?
A1. The heroine in Forget Me Not tried to do so and found that those who love us do not want to be protected. They want to have a choice of helping us through our crises.
Q2. Do you think you would feel guilty if you could not continue to care for a loved one at home?
A2. Miranda's father struggled with this guilt and realized he could no longer give his wife the care she needed. God provides others to help us when we are at the end of our strength.
Q3. Do you ever wished you would could never be hurt by death or separation of a loved one? Would it be better not to have loved at all?
A3. We get so much out of relationships that we would be empty shells without them. Remember that separation by distance or death is not final. We are reuinted with those who love God in Heaven.
Q4. Paul was angry with God when his brother died? Have you ever been angry with God?
A4. God understands our feelings. It is best to be honest with Him and ask his help for healing.
Q5. Emilie was in an abusive marriage. Did she do the right thing by leaving?
A5. Sometimes the only way to shock a loved one out of destructive behavior is to refuse to be the victime any more.
Q6. Do you believe that God has blessed you with a gift you are not using?
A6. Though Miranda's passion for painting was not her profession, she blessed others with her work.