“Go away. Just go away,” Lucy whispered, her forehead touching the glass. “No more food or religion, please!”
She watched from the window, as her sister-in-law, struggling with a picnic basket, flowers and a box, eventually slammed the car doors shut.
Can I pretend I’m not here? If I say I was having an afternoon nap, will God visit me with more horror for fibbing?
The doorbell rang, and with a cold lump lodged in her heart, Lucy steeled herself again.
“Hi Honey, just me” said Holly as she handed Lucy the basket, stepping into the air-conditioned house. “It’s blistering hot outside, and I didn’t want to make another trip to the car so I brought everything in one go.”
She leaned over to kiss Lucy’s cheek, before following her into the kitchen, placing the box on the table.
“Yellow roses from me! I saw them on my way here and couldn’t resist.”
Great. More flowers to add to the rotting bouquets all over the house.
“ And in that basket there’s a casserole from the church food bank. It was frozen, but most likely it’s thawed in my car on the way here. It probably won’t even need reheating,” she joked, pushing her sunglasses to rest on top of her head.
Lucy didn’t even smile. Her spirit of generosity it seemed, had dried up, along with most of her tears.
As if there isn’t enough tragedy, now I’m supposed to poison myself, with frozen macaroni and other unidentified lumps.
“I think there’s some iced tea,” Lucy said, turning away in an attempt to put distance between them. Her skin was crawling with perspiration already. She longed for a bath, and the calm of a darkened room. And quite possibly a 24 hour nap. Among the unfamiliar dishes and pans trespassing in her fridge, she fished out a jug and poured them both a cold drink.
Holly was sitting at the table with the gift box.
Why did she look so pink and determined? If I smacked her, would she just keep talking?
“Last night, Pastor Dave called me, to ask if I might deliver a gift to you.” Holly began gently. “Some of the ladies at my church have been praying for you. Don’t roll your eyes Lucy. I know you’re not interested in church right now or God, but these people feel our pain and want to help us.”
“Look, I appreciate the food and flowers, and yes,” she looked at the ceiling, “even the prayers, OK? But these people don’t know me, and they certainly never knew Daniel. I don’t understand, why do strangers care?”
Holly touched her hand. “They care because they are under the shadow of God’s love, and are fired up to share that. Knowing my brother has died and left you behind, compels us all to cover you in love.” She smiled through her tears.
Taking the box onto her lap Lucy opened the lid. In a bed of tissue, lay what looked like a small, hand knitted blanket.
“It’s a prayer shawl,” Holly said. “Made by a beautiful lady at church, Agatha, who lives to knit. Anyway, when she heard about Daniel, she started knitting this shawl. And the whole time she prayed for you, and our family. But mainly you.”
Lucy swallowed, caressing the feathery wool, a mixture of creams and golden honey.
“It’s so soft,” she said.
“Agatha’s a whizz at crafts like this,” said Holly, sipping her iced tea. “She makes a shawl every few weeks, for people God puts on her heart. There’s a card too,” she said looking at the clock on the wall.
“I have to fly so I’ll let you read it in peace, but I’ll check on you tomorrow.” She bent to kiss Lucy’s head. “I’ll see myself out.”
In the silence, Lucy waited, for the ever-present chill to lurk and drag.
Finally, she reached for the card.
Please know, I have prayed for you along every row of stitching on this shawl, asking God to bring people into your life daily, to comfort, nurture and sustain you. And when those people are not there, be assured, that God is, and He will lever leave you.
Daring to feel its weighty warmth, Lucy gingerly wrapped herself in the shawl, its fringe settling on her like wings. A hot, abandoned luxury, invaded her icy depths, cracking it’s way through shifting glaciers to melt her frozen heart.
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