Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

#15: Get the Point?

A Character story about obedience.

The Jensens were all tired by the time they pulled into the driveway of Uncle John's house near Tucson, Arizona. They got their bags and Uncle John parked his van under the carport. The air was still warm and short sleeves were just right.

"Oh how good to see you!" Nancy greeted them as they entered. (Jason hated that part because of the hugging and kissing.) "It is such a treat to have you visit us. Becky should be home any time, Julie. You are going to stay with her in the first bedroom on the right. You can just go and make yourself at home. But I'm sorry we don't have any boys to play with you, Jason."

"That's OK," Jason assured her. "I like to go exploring and there's lots of places to do that around here."

"Just stay within shouting distance, Son," Mr. Jensen requested. "And watch out for those cacti."

Jason laughed. "You don't have to worry about me." He made sure he had his pocket knife and disappeared through the front door.

Julie took her bags into the bedroom and set them on the floor. Since she wouldn't be needing her coat for awhile, she threw it on one of the beds and then began looking for some books to read. It was no time before she was absorbed in a story.

"Hi, Julie!"

Julie's head shot up. "Oh, hi, Becky. I was so involved in this story that I didn't hear you come in." She jumped up and the girls hugged.

"Yah. Looks like I scared you some," Becky chuckled. "Boy, am I glad you came for a visit. It's boring around here with no one to play with."

"I'm really excited to be here. But don't you ever play with Teresa?"

"Her? No way. She says she's too old for me now." Becky sneered. "But guess what? Next week I can take three whole days off of school so we can do stuff together. Isn't that neat?"

"Oh, that's great!" Julie beamed. "Maybe we can go to the Grand Canyon."

"I don't think so. That's a long ways from here . . . like hundreds of miles. But there's fun stuff to do around here too. Oh, let me show you my dolls. Supper won't be for fifteen minutes or so." The girls spread the dolls over the floor as Becky told Julie the name of each one and where she got it. Suddenly the bedroom door banged open and in walked Becky's sister. Julie was surprised at her very tight jeans and the heavy makeup on her face.

"Hi, Julie. Good to see you again," Teresa said in a matter-of-fact tone. Then turning toward her bed, her face turned to a scowl. "You little brat," she snarled at Becky. "I told you a thousand times to keep your clothes on your side of the room." She grabbed the coat on her bed and flung it across the room.

"I'm sorry, Teresa," Julie apologized. "I didn't mean to put my coat on your bed."

Teresa blushed. "Oh. Well . . . that's OK. I just have to work all the time to keep this room halfway decent. My bratty sister loves to make it as messy as she can."

"I do not!" Becky defended. "You're the one who never hangs up your clothes 'cause you're in such a hurry to see Ralph," she mocked.

"Oh shut up! See, Julie, I told you she was a bratty sister. And keep your stupid dolls on your own side of the room," she barked, kicking several of them under Becky's bed.

Becky began to cry. "I'm telling Daddy on you . . ."

"Save your breath, Tattle Tale. I'm leaving anyhow." Teresa grabbed a sweater from the closet and slammed the door behind her. There followed some loud words from the living room but Julie didn't hear what was said. She just sat on the floor, embarrassed and stunned. Then she heard a door slam again and then some crying.

Becky crawled under the bed and retrieved her dolls. "You can be glad you don't have a sister like her. She's always bossy like that. And you should hear the music she listens to when Dad and Mom aren't around! She sure has changed since last year," Becky sighed. "Well, come on. I'm starved. It should be about time for supper."

The girls walked into the living room where they found Jason crying and holding his leg. Julie ran over to him.

"What's wrong, Jason? Did you hurt yourself?"

"Yes," Mrs. Jensen interrupted, "but it doesn't look like to should be too serious. He just got surrounded I guess."

"Surrounded?" Becky asked, puzzled.

"Yes, by some of the not-so-friendly residents here. He got too close to one those cactus and when he jumped back, he ran right into another one."

"And they are sharp!" Jason asserted through his whimpers.

"Must be one of those jumping cholla (pronounced 'choi-ya')," Uncle John suggested. "They don't really jump, but they are so sharp that even the slight brush against one and you thought for sure it did jump right out and poke you on purpose. They look kind of soft and inviting, but you have to watch out. Looks can be deceiving."

Jason dried his eyes and the two families sat down to a delicious supper of meat loaf, French fries, carrots and pecan pie. Julie noticed a place had been set for Teresa but she had left. She asked her dad about it later when they were alone.

"Well, this is a special prayer request that Uncle John would like us to remember. Teresa had been taught the right ways from her parents, but right now she has been spending too much time with the wrong friends and has gotten away from the Lord. She is not obeying much and spends little time at home. We don't want to be critical, but we can pray for her, can't we?"

"Sure, Daddy. I couldn't believe how ugly she acted when she came in. I'm never going to act that way . . ever!"

"I'm glad you feel that way, Sissy. But wrong friends can have a very strong influence on us. In 1 Corinthians chapter fifteen Paul said that evil company will corrupt good behaviour. It's kind of like what happened to Jason, remember, with the cactus? They looked friendly enough but spending too much time around them only hurt him. That's the way it is with wrong friends. If the people we are with make us more willing to do wrong, then we had better limit our time with them. Do you get the point?"

Julie started to giggle. "That's a funny one, Daddy. 'Get the point.' That's what Jason got . . and I guess Teresa too. I want to always be the right kind of friend to others, 'cause then I can be the very best example for my new baby sister in September."