Where does one find the inner strength to go on when it seems that all hope is lost? When all one has, or at least believes they have to look forward too, is a never-ending struggle to simply survive in a seemingly futile and meaningless existence…
Joe looks around at the all too familiar surroundings. “Whatever trick is being played on us, I’m beginning to grow tired of the whole thing.”
Timmy looks hurt.
“No, no, no. I didn’t mean it that way.” Joe puts his arm around his son. “I’m so thankful for the change in you that I’ve witnessed these last few days. You’re…a miracle. It’s just that,” he looks around again, “why here? Why now?”
Timmy shrugs as he puts one foot and then another forward. He looks back, waiting. Joe reluctantly follows. “I’ve haven’t been here in a long time.” He turns to his dad. “You?”
“No, once you left my visits became less frequent, until I stopped coming at all. It was too…hard.”
“I’m sorry, Dad.” Timmy stares at the semi-healed marks on the inside of his arms. “I’m sorry for a lot of things.”
Joe catches up with Timmy and they walk side by side in silence, each lost in their own thoughts. Suddenly Timmy slows his pace, and Joe walks on ahead. He comes upon a grave marker, and, bending over, wipes away the leaves and dirt, until he can read the writing. In one painful and emotional moment, all the memories come flooding back.
Timmy walks up and stands beside his father – his turn to put his arm around him, his turn to console. “Max said something about the past and finding closure.”
Joe whispers. “That we are to look to each other…” His words trail off.
Timmy quietly finishes the sentence for him. “…and we are to look to God.”
It’s too much. “I can’t Tim, I can’t do it.” Joe shakes his head back and forth as he continues to stare at the words on the ground. “How can I look to God for answers when he’s the one who took her from me?”
Timmy doesn’t know how to respond, not having the answers himself. And it was that lack of knowledge that set him on his own course of denial and self-destruction. “I don’t know. But, all of this is happening for a reason, and like Max said, there comes a time when we have to let go. We must learn to trust, instead of doubt. I think Max is on our side, Dad. God sent him to us, and for whatever reason, we have to go through this…together.”
“But…to what end?” A touch of anger and confusion in Joe’s voice now. “What am I supposed to learn from all of this?”
Timmy’s own frustration mounts as he puts himself in his dad’s place. For Timmy, the last few days have been life-changing. But now, to see his dad go through his own personal battle, it kills him inside that he’s not able to help. And what confuses him most of all, is the absence of Max. If he were here now, maybe he could help them understand all of this.
“My life means nothing without her. I live day-to-day, leaving an empty house to go to work, and then back to the empty house again. It’s always the same thing, and I’m tired Timmy. I’m tired.”
“Maybe I could come home with you?”
Joe’s face brightens for a moment. “I’d like that son, I really would.”
Timmy smiles. “Like old times, huh?” His father’s expression changes, and, knowing it’s too late the take the words back, Timmy wishes he’d never said them. He knows as well as anyone, that it will never be like it was. “I’m sorry, Dad. I just meant that…”
“It’s okay, it really is.” But it is too late, and the sorrow and pain become too much for Joe to bear. Looking at the tombstone, his legs buckle and he falls to his knees, crying. “Why God, why did you take her from me? How could you tear my family apart like you did?”
A little further up the path, Max sits quietly on a concrete bench, reverently taking in the whole scene. And just beyond him, almost out of site, but barely visible still…stands an old rugged cross…
Max is featured in my ebook, Whispers, available at the FaithWriters ebook store: