Elena smiled as she watched Katie twist strands of auburn curls around her index finger, like she had done since she was a little girl, lost in thought. Her daughter sat at the old kitchen table where they had shared so many memories.
Had it been only yesterday when the aching loss had shattered their lives?
“Deacon Thomas called to say he is coming by today with something important to tell us. He was the last person to talk with your dad,” Elena said softly.
Although Justin, her husband, had insisted she and Katie leave the hospital to get some rest, Elena wished with all heart, they had stayed.
Suddenly, Katie’s countenance seemed to glow.
“Do you think Dad told Deacon Thomas...maybe he...could he have...?”
Cupping her daughter’s hands in her own, Elena looked into the hopeful eyes that were so much like Justin’s. “‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’” She reminded Katie.
“Mom, I always have. My earliest memories are of the two of us kneeling beside your bed and praying for Dad’s safe return from the war.”
“Katie, do you remember the day we received the wooden cuckoo clock he sent to us from Germany?”
They both chuckled recalling when he returned home, he detested the noisy bird. One day it had annoyed him once too often. He took it from the living-room mantel and gave it to the man mowing the hayfield.
When I was small and would stand on the instep of Dad’s boots, we waltzed around the living-room while he whistled The Tennessee Waltz. I would like to find the old Polaroid pictures you took of us, Mom.
Elena looked wistfully at her daughter, “That was more than 20 years ago.”
Silence filled the room like the fragrance of Justin’s aftershave. Mother and daughter were lost in memories.
“I loved it when he played the harmonica,” Katie said. “Remember how he would make the sound of a freight train? I was grown before I realized he played only one song. I thought he was the most talented dad in the world.”
Then, Katie began to cry.
“Why wouldn’t Dad go to church with us? He always said ‘Not today, Angel.’” The sobs came from so deep within her soul, the words were a mere whisper.
Elena had anticipated this question for years, knowing it would eventually come. She dried her eyes with the dish towel she had been wringing in her hands, and tried to explain.
“When you were small, you and I attended All Saints Memorial Cathedral. They wouldn’t allow me to be a member of their church because I had been divorced.”
Katie blinked. “Mom, I didn’t know you had been divorced!”
“At the time, it wasn’t acceptable, and your dad made me promise not to tell you. But now, it’s something you should know. The divorce happened years before I met your dad.”
Katie gasped in disbelief. “Isn’t church supposed to be for sinners? You and I accepted Jesus as our Savior and we have been faithful members of Grace Chapel. We’ve been on mission trips. You have taught the teenage class for 14 years. I have been the organist since returning from college. Many people would say we are assets to the church.”
Elena took a deep breath.
“Your father didn’t want any part of a church that wouldn’t allow a divorced person, like me, to be a member. He would often say, ‘All Saints Memorial Cathedral’s loss was Grace Chapel’s gain.’ But the saddest part of all? A wonderful man grew to distrust organized churches. He wouldn’t let go of the resentment and anger in his heart. It festered like an abscess until he was consumed with hostility toward religion. I often tried to talk to him, but he turned a deaf ear. He hardened his heart.”
Katie looked at her mom and whispered, “Does that mean he’s not in Heaven?”
Their conversation was halted abruptly by a knock on the door. Katie placed her head in her hands and began to prayed.
As Elena made her way to the front door, her legs felt like a marathon runner trying to finish the last few yards of a race.
Later, she would not recall opening the door for Deacon Thomas, but she would never forget the miracle message, he delivered from Justin.
Matthew 21:22 KJV
The story is based on some actual events that occurred in the 1940s.
Names have been changed.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.