This story, written under the name, Sue Jeffrey, won the inaugural ‘Stories of Life’ competition, ‘Short’ section, and was published in the anthology, ‘A Chicken Can Make a Difference’, Morning Star Press, 2016.
It was 1984 and I was in the car with my teammate Jane on the way to play cricket. Jane was a bowler, and I was the wicket keeper; we both played for the University of Queensland B team. We had a great time chatting about all kinds of things as we drove to the playing field. The sky was blue, and the sun was warm on my skin. The car window was open, and the breeze helped blast away the Brisbane humidity. It was a lovely day to play sport—and we were especially happy because we knew we had a good chance of beating the other team.
We began to discuss strategy. How could we win? What was our edge? For some reason, we began talking about luck. Many sporting people are superstitious, and cricketers are no exception. Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar always put his left pad on before the right one. Former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh was once given a red handkerchief by his grandmother, and he made sure that it was in his pocket every time he played. On this sunny Saturday I confessed to Jane that I was wearing the same pair of undies and socks I’d worn the week before when we’d won, so that they would bring us good luck this week. I emphasised that I had washed them. Jane laughed and admitted she’d done the same thing. We giggled for a few minutes, then Jane tilted her head in a thoughtful way and said, ‘Mind you, I shouldn’t be superstitious—because I’m a Christian.’
My immediate response was: not another one!
I was surrounded by Christians. My main group of friends at university included two Catholics, a Baptist, a Pentecostal and a member of the Apostolic Church. At that stage in my life, I believed there was a God because I could see his hand in nature, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to ‘follow Jesus’. Even so, something was drawing me to him. The Christians in my year had a light in their life that neither I, nor my atheist friends, seemed to have.
In that moment I could see that Jane had the same light in her.
As we drove the rest of the way to the game in silence, I thought through the implications of my discovery. If she’s got this light, too, then I have to take this seriously. I have to research this. I want this light in me.
The cricket season ended shortly after, and I lost touch with Jane. I never got to tell her how that conversation proved a turning point in my life—how her simple witness in the midst of a crazy conversation made me seek Christ until I found him. I hope to meet her again in Heaven, if not before.
Then I’ll say, ‘Hey, Jane. You know that underwear? It wasn’t just lucky!’