Only Two Kinds of Skaters

By Linda Porter Carlyle

MacKenzie Isabelle Evans moved the curtain aside so she could see better. “I don’t think anybody’s awake over there,” she announced.

“Well, the whole world doesn’t necessarily share your delight in getting up at the crack of dawn!” Dad responded, rinsing the last of the breakfast dishes.

“I guess I’ll have to go over and wake him up!” Mac ran out the back door, across the grass, and scampered like a squirrel up the ladder that leaned against the side of G.M.’s house. The window at the top was wide open to let in the night breezes. Mac leaned through it, put both hands on Joseph’s bed, and shook it. “What’s the matter with you?” she grumbled. “You promised you’d go ice skating with me this morning! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!”

Joseph sat up and tried to wipe the sleep from his eyes. “I’m awake,” he mumbled.

“Then get your clothes on! I’ll make you a sandwich you can eat in the car for breakfast. And don’t wear shorts!” she reminded him. “Wear long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt, and a vest. And gloves. The ice rink is cold as winter even though it’s summer outside!”

Mac and Dad were waiting in the car when Joseph came out the back door. They watched him stumble off the bottom porch step. “He doesn’t look like a real morning person,” Mr. Evans commented.

Joseph opened the car door and slid in. He fastened his seat belt.

“I think you forgot something,” Mr. Evans said sympathetically. He reached into his back pocket and handed Joseph his comb.

“Thanks!” Joseph said.

“I can hardly wait to get there!” Mac said, bouncing on the seat. I haven’t been ice skating for a long time. I hope I haven’t forgotten how! I probably haven’t. It’s probably like riding a bike. People say once you’ve learned that, you never forget it. Even if you don’t ride for years and years!”

Mr. Evans reached over and patted Mac’s knee. “I’m sure you’ll remember everything after the first couple of minutes,” he said encouragingly. “You know how to ice skate, don’t you, Joseph?”

“Um-hum,” Joseph answered, his mouth full of peanut butter, jam, and bread. He swallowed. “Mom and I used to go ice skating every week when I lived in the city. But I never went at 6:00 o’clock in the morning before,” he added.

“6:00 A.M. is when the serious skaters skate,” Mac informed him. “The rink isn’t full of school kids just goofing around. The figure skaters will be practicing. And the people who like to ice skate for their exercise like my friend Andi. She’s a nurse at the hospital. She works at night. Can you imagine working all night long? You’ll like her!”

Soon Mr. Evans pulled into the rink’s parking lot. He paid their entrance fees, and Mac and Joseph traded their shoes for skates at the counter. Mr. Evans knelt down to help Mac with her laces.

“Oh, good! There’s Andi!” Mac exclaimed, looking up.

“Hi, guys!” Andi gave Mac a beaming smile and sat down next to her on the wooden bench. “Who did you bring skating with you today?”

“This is my friend Joseph,” Mac explained.

“He lives next door to us. He lives with his grandmother and his mom.”

“I’m glad to meet you, Joseph. Any friend of Mac’s is a friend of mine!” Andi reached out her hand, and Joseph shook it. “If you’re a friend of Mac’s,” Andi went on, “you must know the Lord too.”

Joseph grinned at her. “Yup!” he said.

“I see Sasha’s here today,” Andi said, looking through the glass windows at the skaters already on the ice. “She’s a nurse who works with me. She doesn’t believe in God yet. But I share the Good News about Jesus with her every chance I get. And there’s Caroline, too! She works at a deli downtown. She’s a brand-new baby Christian.”

Andi stood up. “I’ll see you guys on the ice,” she said.

Joseph looked at Mac. “Does she ask everybody she meets if they know the Lord?” he wondered.

“I think so,” Mac said. “She shares Jesus with everybody. Sharing kind of bubbles out of her. She told me that’s one thing she likes about being a nurse. She gets to pray with people who are really sick or afraid. She gets to share Jesus with them.”

Mac and Joseph went through the heavy glass doors into the rink. The cold air enveloped them. They stepped carefully onto the ice. Joseph’s feet recognized the familiar smooth, slippery surface. He glided easily away from the wall.

Teen-aged figure skaters practiced their spirals and spins. A man and a little boy with hockey sticks chased a black hockey puck. An older man in a gray wool hat skated fast with long, long strides.

Joseph liked watching the other skaters. He saw Andi and one of her friends skating side by side, deep in conversation. Suddenly Joseph realized that he was looking at the skaters differently. He was seeing them all as people that God loved. And there were only two kinds of people skating—the ones who already knew that God loved them, and the ones who didn’t know it yet. Joseph wondered if he would have a chance to share the Good News about Jesus with anyone today.

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