She sighed. She was sorry this class was only three hours long.
His preaching had captivated her heart months ago, but now, as he passionately expounded on the scriptures in the book of Ruth, she couldn't help but feel that somehow she was being swept into the arid fields where Ruth was gleaning, and hearing the rich laugh of Boaz as he invited, not Ruth, but her, to come and rest herself a while, and enjoy his pleasant company. She blushed, embarrassed at her lack of focus. A question had tiptoed its way into her distracted thoughts: could Mr. Daniel T. Jacobs be the Boaz she had so longed for?
A sudden wave of conflicting emotions crashed over her conscience, until the reverberating tones of a male voice dragged her from the dreamy gleaning fields into the coolness of the lecture hall...
"Jordyn, are you all right? You look quite ill..."
"Um.....uh.....yes......YES! I'm fine," she lied. She asked if she could be excused for a moment and without waiting for an answer, she snatched her things from the well worn desk and rushed out the door. Jordyn didn't notice that Mr. Jacobs had followed her out.
"Good goin, Jordyn," she whispered to herself as her heels clacked down the hall of the Christian college. She doubted Ruth felt so fuzzy-headed laying at Boaz's feet as she herself did sitting under Daniel's teaching. And he'd noticed her distraction! Ugh, how embarrassing!
"Wait a second, hold up!"
Jordyn heard Daniel call her from down the hall. She stopped and turned, waiting on him.
He walked toward her. Not too close, she hoped. It was far easier to look him in the eye when he was ten feet away. That's the trouble with tall people.
"Have you selected your topic for your research paper?" He peered over his glasses. But then he squinted. Then he pushed his glasses back on his nose. "That's better. Your paper. Have you selected the topic yet?"
Jordyn was taken aback. The paper wasn't due for weeks. Why would he need to know now? Why is he so concerned? Did he chase other women out of his class to answer that question? Jordyn was nervous, nervous like she might say the wrong thing, like she do the wrong thing, like she might babble incoherently.
"I picked agricultural practices."
"That's a little broad, don't you think?" His glasses slipped down his face, but that couldn't be helped. He had to look down to talk to her.
She swallowed. "Specifically gleaning and how it builds togetherness."
"I mean, community." She swallowed again. He would read every word she wrote. "The gleaning was the central activity of the village. It's where people came together."
"Together." He smiled. "Look forward to reading it. See you Wednesday."
Then he turned and went back into the lecture hall.
Jordyn felt her legs go wobbly. Jordyn watched Mr. Jacobs walk back into his classroom without even a glance back in her direction.
"Why does he distract me so?" she wondered to herself. "I really need to get refocused here. I need to spend some time alone with Jesus.
Jordyn turned around and walked briskly to her car. She threw her books and things onto the seat next to her and just sat there. Jordyn's eyes closed as she prayed silently. She sat there for a long time and must have fallen asleep because she woke with a start to the sound of someone knocking on her window.
It was Rhonda.
Jordyn did not need her RA in her face again. Rhonda's face was scrunched up like a wad of paper.
Jordyn rolled down her car window. "Hi."
"You can't do that."
"I can't sit in my car?"
"You can't date instructors. You know this. You signed the honor code."
Rhonda's furrowed brow and little black widow's peak made her look evil. But Jordyn shouldn't think that. Rhonda was made in the image of God, even though she looked like she needed a slap.
"I'm not dating anybody, certainly not an instructor."
"Oh really?" Rhonda tilted her head in such a way that Jordyn wanted to pull her hair. That wasn't as bad as a slap, was it?
"Really! I have bigger and better things to for God than that!" Jordyn turned on the car's ignition and pulled out of the parking space. She cranked up Michael W. Smith and gunned her Escort as much as she thought was acceptable at their conservative little Bible College.
After five blocks and countless "cleansing breaths", Jordyn calmed down enough to realize she had carpooled to campus with her roommate Lilly . . . and had just left her stranded. As she headed back she found her Escort not threading through traffic, but sheaves. And a manly voice was saying "Glean in my field only, Daughter."
Wait, no. It was saying "Get a move on, Ditz!" She'd stopped at the green and held up a line of cars.
"Glean in my field only, Daughter."
If there was ever a confirmation for Jordyn that she should lay down her life for the unreached peoples of the world, this was it. The harvest was ready and the workers were few, right? She was going to go, right after graduation, right after she finished her language studies and missionary training. She was on her way, out of this little college town, out from under the watchful eyes of legalistic do-gooders like Rhonda, away from distracting Old Testament professors whose eyes were so distracting. Once she was in the mission field, doing big things for God, she wouldn't have any of this and God could use her to change lives.
Lilly was standing at the corner of Calvin and Knox Streets. Her arms were crossed and Jordyn could tell from a block away that she was angry.
"Wait!" Lilly pointed out the window. "Let me out here. I'll walk home later."
"Intramural football! See!" Lilly gathered her books.
"You're going to play?" Jordyn was confused. How could Lilly play in her skirt?
"No, dummy. I'm going to watch!" She was out the door before Jordyn has fully stopped the car. Of course she was going to watch. As much as they both hated the phrase, MRS degree, this was exactly what Lilly was after.
But not Jordyn. Not now. Not ever. Not even if Daniel, the very tall Old Testament professor chased down a million hallways.
Jordyn thought men should go to college to get their MRS degree like her dad had. He even bragged and told all his friends that he got the best degree of all when he became her mom's husband. Oh, for a man like that! A man after her own heart.
Could Mr. Daniel T. Jacobs perhaps be a man like that--a man like her dad? She would never know if she only saw him in class. She'd have to come up with a plan to bring them together in an acceptable way outside of class. How about if she ran an ad in the campus newspaper for...
A tutor! Yes,that would be a great idea except, Jordyn frowned. It was the last paper due. Easter week was over and there were only two weeks left of spring semester. Hmmm, she tapped her finger to her head, there must be something I can come up with. I don't want to leave school this year.
Wait! Could this be true? There it was in glowing flashing colors before her. Mr. Jacobs was planning a trip to the Holy Land this summer. Credits would be offered to those who chose to go, not only that but a school discount.
Before she had time to think, pray, or check with her parents, she signed in the number one spot.
Daniel T Jacobs swallowed back his eager reaction as he gaped at Jordyn Esquire filling in the first slot of his Holy Land Tour signup sheet.
What was it about that 5 foot female that set his blood on fire? She'd never held back after class to discuss the Torah or toss her pretty black mane while batting her eyes, like some of the other flirtatious freshmen. So why was there an electric current passing between them every time he peered at her over his glasses from the podium?
Why had he followed her out into the hall today? He'd kicked himself for being so impetuous and vowed to keep his distance. But now? Now they'd be sharing weeks together on a trip to Israel, and Daniel prayed there'd be plenty of other students joining them so he could easily avoid any private conversations with the beauty stirring his heart and clouding his judgement.
Daniel turned on his heel and marched down the corridor back toward the admissions office. He'd ask Gladys for...
a list of his student's needing extra credit. He'd try to convince as many of them as possible to go on the trip.
He heaved a heavy sigh and stopped. He knew better than to take matters into his own hands. Proverbs 3:5&6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart... from his devotions this morning. He needed to let God direct his path.
What was it about Jordyn that made his blood run hot and then cold? She wasn't Teresa, she was nothing like his old...
wife, the model-figured blonde who he could have stared at for hours. That was, until he found out she was cheating.
How could he ever trust another woman?
The truth was, he couldn't. Yet there was Jordyn.
Teresa had been more interested in Daniel's position than in him as a man. She said all of the right things, but her actions didn't match her words, long before she cheated on Daniel with the mediocre quarterback from their mediocre college football team. In fact Daniel P. Jacobs had been bored with Teresa almost from the day he put the ring on her finger. It was as though Teresa lost every personal ambition as soon as became Mrs. Daniel P. Jacobs.
Danial shook his head, best to leave the past where it belonged... in the past. He pushed open the door to Gladys' office. His heart plummeted.
Leaning against the admissions counter was Teresa. Her long blond hair hung loose, flowing around her shoulders. The bright red nail polish she wore held her attention. She did not look up when he opened the door.
Maybe she hadn't seen him.Should he turn and run?
Just then the fire alarm sounded. Dozens of students crammed through their classroom doors and packed the hallways, mobbing each other to get out of the building. Teresa screamed as the overhead sprinklers blanketed her in a shower of drizzle that left her looking like a drowned rat. She hopped from one foot to another looking more like a toddler doing the potty-dance than an elegant upscale woman.
Daniel cackled, and she scowled at him before elbowing past and disappearing among the herd of bodies exiting the building. Daniel, ever cool-headed, walked calmly to the doors and waited for the students to finish filing out before stepping outside himself.
Nothing like a fire scare to literally dampen the high-energy emotions he'd been cursed with enduring this afternoon.
All in a day's work.
Brooke R Busse