She called me a hypocrite. Richard thought as he walked.
Richard often came to this place just to think. The salty scent of the great pacific hung in the air. Waves slowly swept upon the sandy shoreline, their endless quiet crashing adding to the tranquillity of this place. In the distance, like a child’s toy kaleidoscope that changes colours, the skyline was painted with hues of forever changing oranges, reds and purples. A sense of peace overcame Richard as he walked, and yet he was troubled at the decision he needed to make.
Is she right? The question came to him.
“I don’t know; the whole situation is so confusing. Why does this have to be my responsibility?” Richard spoke to himself as he walked.
Peering up the beach at the source of his trouble Richard watched as the boy dug in the sand. It had been three weeks ago that Richard and his wife Glenna had taken the boy and his mother in. It wasn’t an unusual situation for them really. Many times over the past ten years they had helped the homeless, taking in those in need. “God put them in our way,” his wife liked to say whenever they began to help someone knew. This time it hadn’t turned out as they had expected. The boy’s mother had been sick, very sick, and after two weeks with them had died despite the doctors attempts to save her. The question of what to do with the boy was the cause of his confusion this day.
The woman had no family to speak of, which left the boy an orphan. His mother had been his only support in the cruel harsh world of the streets, and now she too was gone.
Richard watched the boy digging in the sand. The five year old seemed so carefree, even after all that he had been through these past few weeks. The conversation Richard and his wife had the night before ran through his mind again.
“We have to call someone from social services, Glenna.” Richard had said as the boy slept in the spare room.
“Caleb is a good boy, Richard, and he has no one. We can’t just throw him to the wolves like that. You know as well as I what the life of an orphan can be like.” His wife had replied.
“So you think he should stay here?” Richard started, already knowing her answer. “We aren’t young anymore, Hun; we have no business raising babies anymore.”
“I am not old, thank you, and you know I am right Richard.” His wife had retorted. “You know, it’s you who is always telling me that we need to help others. Now you have a chance to really make a difference for this boy, and you are going to choose the easy way out? I guess maybe it is too hard to help, when it requires giving of yourself, right Richard? The cheque book, some food, a bed, those are easy to give. When it comes to really making a difference you are going to abandon your own morals? You’re being a hypocrite Richard!”
God put him in your way, hypocrite! The words of an unspoken voice, seemingly carried on the wind, or maybe from within, came to him as he walked.
“I should be retiring soon, Lord, not taking care of children.” Richard said as he walked.
Hypocrite! The unspoken voice pushed again.
“I can’t do this,” Richard argued.
Richard sat and watched the Caleb digging, and placing the clams in the bucket. The boy’s blonde hair blew across his face from the evening breeze. He watched as the boy ran up.
“Richard, I got some clams just like you wanted.” A look of pride was painted on the boys face. “I filled the whole bucket."
Something moved within Richard then. The happy carefree look of this boy moved him. He knew that his wife was right, that the voice was right. With that his confusion subsided, he knew what he must do.
“That’s great, why don’t we go see if Glenna can’t cook those up for supper.” Richard replied. He almost laughed at the look of disgust that came across Caleb’s face, but instead added, “They’ll be good I promise.”
Richard took the boys hand as they walked back towards the car, in his mind’s eye he pictured the years ahead and smiled; God had put Caleb in Richard’s way for a reason indeed.
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