Laura couldn’t wait to go home. The smell of ground coffee and espresso had worked its way so well into her clothes and skin, that even showers with the strongest soap couldn’t get rid of it. And after a year of being a barista, the once yummy smell of coffee wasn’t quite so nice anymore: more like irritating. Especially now.
But she needed a job, and the café was within walking distance. Laura took off her apron and clocked out. “See you tomorrow,” she said to her coworkers, and stepped outside, practically running to get to the road that took her home.
Fall had come to her town quite suddenly, and walks home were never more beautiful, or more reminiscent. She wrapped her sweater around her shoulders and scanned the trees that led her off the main road and to a short-cut that led her home. The forest beckoned and nearly swallowed her in with her first step off the asphalt.
The smell of damp earth and the coolness of the new season met her. The sycamores were changing color, full of yellows and oranges now. And the oak trees were fading just as much. Before long they would all be bare and seemingly lifeless; dead to the world, even if they were very much alive inside – and even if no one could see it.
Laura tried not to think about what she was really feeling. She felt like one of the trees, dying just like them, from the outside in. And although it had been a year since the miscarriage, nothing quite felt the same after that. It was like her life – and desire for it- left with the child.
She closed her eyes and breathed deeply. She had to stay positive; to look at all the good. That it was fall was pleasant; it was the crispest, coolest, not-cold-yet, not-hot-anymore time of year; the best time. She had walked this way so many times she could keep her eyes shut and still find her way home.
But in spite of its glorious beauty, it had become a place she didn’t want to revisit, a time when death seemed to be in her heart, and all around her. Though she loved fall the way she loved chocolate ice cream, it now reminded her of the life that wasn’t to be; the fading away of a wanted thing that left her alone.
And here she was, a year later, still asking God why. “I don’t know what I did to deserve it,” she said, still with her eyes closed. She crossed her arms and a wave of coffee wafted to her nose. “Ugh,” and she covered her nose with her hand, “What is going on?” Lately, the smell had been overwhelming. She even called in sick this week so she wouldn’t have to deal the espresso oozing from her pores when she got home. Maybe she was working too much.
She walked along, watching the sunlight through the back of her eye lids, and waiting for when it brightened. Then she knew she was at the clearing in front of her home. “Home sweet home,” she murmured. Laura opened her eyes, and went in, listening to the messages on the machine. She made herself a cup of tea.
The smell of peppermint and ginger soothed her anxiety and Laura sat down on the biggest, comfiest chair in the front room: one that stared out at the oaks, and made her ever-thankful and ever-aware that God still cared … even if it didn’t feel like it. “Why would God make such beautiful trees, and such resplendent nature, if he didn’t care about us? The very ones who look at it?” she said with a smile.
She took a sip and glanced at the side table. There was a note, written from her husband:
You left in a hurry this morning, but I think you want to see this.
She lifted the note to find a set of two blue lines staring at her from a pregnancy test. After nearly dropping the mug of tea, and dancing around the room, she called Joe gripping the test tightly, as if it would disappear. And then she laughed, with tears of joy, until he came home.
*Job 1:21- The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised. (NIV)
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