That evening, Paul needed to go to town and buy some things for the farm, and I decided to go with him. I didn’t think I could stand another minute of just sitting in the house. I couldn’t figure out what God was doing. Did He expect me to wait for the rest of my life for things to get better?
My leg hurt after the long day, so I grabbed my other crutch, and followed Paul to Dad’s truck.
Paul was totally quiet as we drove to town, and I felt glad. I didn’t want to talk either.
Rifton is five miles south of the Canadian border, and almost five miles south of us. Our farm was practically on the border, and several times Dad had pointed the line out to me so that I wouldn’t accidentally wander across illegally.
I enjoyed sitting and looking into Canada but sometimes, like today, I wished we could just move to Canada and start over. Things had gone from bad to worse and I was losing heart. I had been waiting on God for weeks and nothing had happened.
I followed Paul around the store as he looked for the best deals and stood patiently as he added things up in his head.
“Nice crutches!” a crude voice said. “They’re just perfect for a cripple like you.”
I turned around and found myself face to face with a guy not much older than myself. Although I could tell he wasn’t very old, he was stocky and didn’t look like he avoided fights. He also didn’t look like he lost many fights.
I turned back to the shelf expecting him to walk away. Instead he reached out and pulled my hair.
“Oww!” I spun around as fast as I could on my crutches.
“What ya gonna do, huh? Your daddy’s in jail, he can’t rescue you.”
Paul calmly stepped in front of me. “Leave,” he said simply.
“Well, if it isn’t the mute boy actually talking. I hear you don’t talk cause you got a stttttuuutttterrrrrrr,” the boy mocked. “And isn’t your sister the girl with that creepy white hair?”
Paul simply grabbed my arm and started walking away.
“What are you chicken or something?” he yelled after us.
I stopped and turned to face him. “Stop it!” I said.
“Aww, isn’t that sweet, you’re trying to protect your brother.”
“My brother can protect himself,” I said firmly, “but he doesn’t pick fights with losers like you.”
“Amy,” Paul’s voice came firm and low. “That’s enough.”
The boy stuck his tongue out at me and I started to pull my crutch up to hit him but Paul pulled me back. “Let’s go.”
The boy yelled insulting comments after us but Paul didn’t stop. He walked straight for the cashier counter, purchased his items, and we went back to the truck.
“Why didn’t you fight him?” I asked. “If I were a boy I would have punched his lights out.” I bit my lip the moment I said it. It sounded like something Sylvia would say and I regretted sounding so harsh.
“It wasn’t a fight worth fighting,” Paul said.
I stared at Paul. “Doesn’t it make you mad when people make fun of you?”
Paul nodded. “Sometimes, but it’s not worth fighting over.”
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“How do you stay so calm?” I asked. “You’re always calm!”
We were halfway home before Paul spoke. “Amy, I used to get mad when people made fun of my stutter, but then I realized that they just didn’t understand. It’s not my job to force people to understand. It’s my job to love people. It’s my job to be like Jesus. It’s my job to turn the other cheek.”
Like normal, Paul only said what he felt he had to and then he lapsed back into silence.
“Paul?” I paused and chewed on my bottom lip. “What exactly is worth fighting for? You said it wasn’t a fight worth fighting but what kinds of fights are worth fighting?”
Paul stared across the fields that rolled by. Finally he spoke. “The only fights worth fighting are the fights of faith.”
I frowned. “Like what?”
“Like when you believe in something. It’s always worth fighting for the things you believe in.”
Paul was silent again, and I sat thinking. Was I fighting any fights of faith? What did I believe in?