“Honey, I’m going to take this guide to Mrs. Schwartz. She needs it to lead Soup and Study on Thursday,” Natalie said to her husband.
Rev. Porter said “It’s too bad you have to be at that family session at the lawyer’s office and can’t lead the study.”
“I know, but it can’t be helped. We have to hash out the problems with mom’s will. If we don’t, everything could go to charity. I would hate that the girls might end up with nothing to help remember their Grandma by!”
He hugged her. “Be careful on the bridge. It’s foggy tonight.”
Natalie had thought of nothing but the bridge for weeks. It had a 90 degree turn near the end. If drivers were driving too fast, they crashed instead of making the turn. Sometimes they just flew off the end and landed in the river below. That’s what Natalie intended to do. She hadn’t left a note! No one knew how much pain and anxiety she hid. They would just assume that the pastor’s wife was going a little too fast and didn’t see the end of the bridge in the fog. It would be better that way for the girls. Jenny and Laney would think that their mom died in a tragic accident. They would be spared the reality that she had taken her own life. She knew the church would help her family. She knew they would be taken care of.
Her mother had died three months ago! Her best friend and confidante gone! Natalie could always go to her mother for encouragement. Not only had she lost that, but Natalie had suddenly been thrust in the roll of peacemaker for her warring family. Natalie felt like screaming “Don’t you all understand? Our mother is dead! She’s not coming back! Don’t you care?”
The church expected her to do so much. Why couldn’t they understand that her husband was the pastor not her? She was in charge of the women’s ministry. She was in charge of scheduling the special music for Sunday mornings. She was in charge of the children’s Sunday School. They had her so busy, that she never had time to get spiritual nurturing for herself. All of that was besides having a preschooler still at home 3-4 days a week and a daughter in a Christian Prep School with at least two hours of homework a night.
There was so much to do at home. Do dishes! Do laundry! Dust and Vaccum, and then start over again. They were always having people drop in, and they seemed to expect a stunning, sparkling house.
It was just too much. She couldn’t find peace anymore. It felt like God had abandoned her. She couldn’t keep everything perfect! It was all crashing down around her!
The cell phone rang as she approached the bridge. She tried to turn it off but managed to turn it on speaker instead. “Mom, are you there?” She could hear Jenny’s quiet voice. She mumbled yes, and pulled off in the Park and Ride lot just before the bridge.
“It’s time for bed, and you didn’t listen to my Bible verses for school tomorrow. I’m going to say it over the phone. That way I can tell Sister Jones that you heard it.”
“We’re only supposed to know half of the Psalm tomorrow. We’ll learn the rest of it next week. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me. “
“Laney wants to talk to you too!”
“Hi mama!” Laney always had a smile on her face and in her voice. “I learnded a verse today at preschool too! I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
“That’s great honey!”
“Mama are you crying? Jenny, Mama’s crying!”
“Mom, what’s wrong?” Jenny sounded worried.
“Nothing honey! I’m just so proud of you both for learning Bible verses. I’ll see you in a little while. I’ll come and give you both a kiss before I go to bed.”
Natalie pulled out of the parking lot and drove slowly and carefully across the bridge.
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