Sarah understood that it was a word of caution rather than notification.
Ruth leapt off the bed. “Aunty Tracey!” She hollered.
Dashing down the stairs, Ruthie ran into her arms. Staggering back from the impact, Tracey held on to her shoulders for support. Her silver bangles clung together as her small hands smoothed Ruth’s dark loose curls back.
“Happy Birthday.” Tracey said with a fainted smile. Ruth had always loved her voice. When she was a toddler, she read stories to her when they visited. When she ended one, Ruth would beg for one more story that turned into many. She thought too Uncle Ray was the luckiest man to have her. To Ruth, she was the most beautiful woman she knew.
“I brought something for you.” Tracey said holding out the purple gift bag. Ruth gasped. “For me!? Thank you!”
Her father, who had been sitting in the corner chair of the hall, interrupted the exchange and asked Ruth to give them a moment.
By this, Grace had entered the hall and offered Tracey a drink.
“I heard what happened on the news this morning.” she started. Tears were already gathering on her lower eyelids.
Malcolm immediately looked down.
“I should have said something, I …” she said.
Grace gave her the drink and noticed how Tracey’s hands were shaking.
“It’s all right dear. It wasn’t your fault.” Grace said.
“But what if it was?” She shot back.
Malcom straightened in his chair, “What do you mean exactly Tracey?”
Tracey took a struggled breath.
“I have been experiencing some abdominal pains over a year now and it has made every thing down there unbearable.” Grace reached out her hand to her.
“The doctors say they are not sure what it is and they are still running some test. They have a feeling that it is some form of cancer.”
Malcolm stood up. He felt he no longer knew his brother. What kind of man would do this to his wife? “No, no, no.“ He thought. She must be guilty somehow.
“What about the night he came here? What was the argument between you two.” He roared.
Grace wished her husband would talk more calmly, the woman’s dispair was obvious.
“He started staying out late, coming home drunk. When he was home, he was irritated with everything. The kids became withdrawn. That night he hit Jacob so bad with his belt that it left marks. I told him he needed to take some time to sort out whatever was going on, then he came..here.”
“I should have know he would have done something like this.” She said, with tears streaming down her face.
Grace hugged her and whispered in her ears. Malcolm didn’t linger. Instead he said good night and slipped away.
“We will get through this Tracey.” Grace assured her. She left and Grace went to her room.
“How could you talk to her like that Malcom?“ Grace said.
“Please Grace, can we talk about this tomorrow? A lot has happened today and I would just like to get to bed.”
Grace looked dead in his eyes and said, “Tomorrow? Tomorrow might be too late.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Malcolm asked.
“We will discuss it tomorrow.” She said, turning off the light and turned her back to him.
The sun peered through Sarah’s windows. The light played on her skin as she turned in her bed. She stood up and grabbed a robe. There was a slight throbbing of her temple. The fact that she never left her room after her aunt’s visit should have meant that she got some rest. Instead she was up fixating on what their relationship would be like going forward.
She didn’t have the answers. She didn’t have peace and the one person who she knew she could get it from was deadly silent.
Her home had a back yard garden that held her heart. Walking through it on the stone pavement always helped to relieve her mind. She sat on the garden chair, staring off into the distance, she sighed heavily.
“What could she say to make the pain all go away?” She thought.
Not one word came to mind, not one word accurately embodied her thoughts. She whispered ever so softly, “Jesus.”
She noticed a lavender flower zipped tight in it’s bud. A hummingbird was buzzing around trying to get the pollen. Without success, it moved on to another flower. She watched it for a while until she heard her mother’s voice.
“AAhh, you’ve found my loves.” She said with a smile.
“You won’t see their beauty yet, it isn’t their season.” She shared.
Sarah gazed even more intently at the delicate sprout. She wasn’t quite sure what was special about it but it imprinted on her heart.
Things were calm at the house. Her father had gone back to work, Benjamin and Ruth went to school too.
It was 12 pm and Sarah finally sat down to complete the application. She hit print and leaned back in the chair. She heard a strange vibration and turned her head quizically. “Oh, yes! My phone.”
She hadn’t seen it in days. When she finally found it far under her bed, she heard Rachel on the other line. She practically reprimanded her for her avoidance. It was after she had calmed down that she asked her about the details. Sarah found it extremely hilarious that she cussed her out first. “Only Rachel” she thought.
She told her every thing, it was no use trying to hide anymore. Rachel listened intently. She only asked this question at the end, “Have you talked to God?”
Sarah wasn’t prepared for her response. “I think you mean if he wants to talk to me.” she said angrily.
Rachel asked her to explain.
“I understand how you feel. But your faith has to be greater than what you feel. Knowledge should always trump emotions.” she said.
Sarah agreed reluctantly. She wasn’t in the mood for a lecture but held on to the fact that she tried.
She told her about her break from school and Rachel queried if church was included. She wasn’t sure she could face every one just yet. She told her that she would let her know.
Sarah enquired about her family and Rachel realized she hadn’t told her about ‘the father’ encounter yet.
“Will you reach out to him?” Sarah asked.
“I will have to. But I actually want to this time. I hope he can forgive me.”
They ended the call. Rachel lay paralyzed in bed. She thought, “God things are getting really out of control, what are you up to?”
She had a class in the evening so she got dressed and left.
“Rachel! Rachel!” a voice startled her.
“Is it true? Tell me it isn’t!” he said. Mark looked ruffled and wild.
Rachel stared at him. She couldn’t be the one to tell him. She didn’t want to but look in his eyes told her he would find out either way.
“Yes Mark, he did.” Rachel said in a whisper.
He sat on the lush grass underneath him and rested his hands on his head. He just started bawling.
Rachel couldn’t believe her eyes. He didn’t care who saw him or how loud he sobbed. People had started to gather when she knelt beside him and held on to one of his shoulders that jerked between the sobs.
“I am sorry Mark” she managed to say.
He wiped his tears frantically and stood up. “Thanks.” He said and walked away with his shoulders bent.
Rachel walked absent mindly to class. She knew she wouldn’t be learning today.
Malcolm had a stressful day, it seemed every one at work knew and every one had an opinion. It was all he could think about as it was all he was asked about. He pulled up in the drive way and stared at his home. “ Have I failed as a father?” He thought. He was startled by a call from one of his friends at the station. “What now? Will they be releasing him now?” He thought sadly.
“Reverend Maxwell?” The detective said.
“Could you drive down to the station now?” he continued.
Malcolm said yes instantly. He called his wife and told her that he will be there after visiting the station.
“He rushed through the door and said, “What’s going on? Are you letting him out?”
The detective said something but Malcolm didn’t believe. “Are you serious?!” He said. “Oh my God!”
A Time and A Season
This social distancing has me talking to people I hadn’t spoken to before and going places I have never gone. Today, I am by an unfinished house. It’s foundation is way lower than the land mass. So, as I sit on what would be a window sill, I am looking directly at sediments of rocks. The expanse demonstrates to me that it was conjured up over time. It needed time to be firm. It needed to pass through seasons.
The Perfecting Work of Patience
I struggle with patience. I would have rather God not tell me some things. I would have preferred him just doing a thing when the time is right. But promises, that takes faith and endurance. I have learnt over the years that God is always trying to mold me to conform to his image. One of his attributes is long suffering. I have realized it’s in the moments when I had to wait that he was most seen in me.
Our bible study at church has been focusing on Romans. Every Thursday, I am learning that our salvation is about faith. It’s about waiting for the promises of God. That’s what was so attractive to God in Abraham, his faith. He declared him righteous because of it.
Do you have faith?
Has present circumstances caused you to waver in faith? Are you troubled, weary and doubt his presence? There is no other solution that allowing him to hold even more tightly to you. Be reminded we are governed by seasons, a time to weep, a time to laugh. A time to leap and a time to bow. A time to repent and a time to rejoice. A time to be tempted and a time to be free from temptation. A time to rest and a time to war. Your desires might not be in the right place right now but they can be. Let grace do its work. Know the season you are in and trust in God. Remember you are precious.