Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Achievement (03/08/12)
TITLE: Hummingbird Hope
By Sarah Elisabeth
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She smiled. “Just the right colors to match the back deck.” How did he manage that?
“Yeah, it’ll go great. You’ve done a proud job with your place.” His grin felt like when her car heater finally kicked in on a frosty day. He’d complimented her.
“How about I make sandwiches while you set it up? We can eat out there.”
Twenty minutes later, they settled on the deck. Rachel had left her cell inside so nothing could interrupt one of the most comfortable moments she’d had with her dad.
HC nodded at the feeder. “That’s what you needed. Won’t be long before the darlings will start fluttering around your yard.”
“So…what got you into all this religious stuff?”
There went a peaceful afternoon. But it was the opportunity Rachel had prayed for. She settled back and didn’t take her eyes off the feeder. “Happened a few years ago, after college and getting a job with the Sun.”
“You went to college?” The surprise in HC’s voice cut deep.
“Journalism. But nothing made me—content.” Rachel fidgeted with her empty cup, debating whether to use it as an excuse to go inside for a minute.
She had blamed her dad for most of the bad things in her life. He still hadn’t offer an apology or even recognition of his part.
“Every story I covered…there’s so much despair. I was spiraling into depression.”
Darkness, the suicidal thoughts. No family, true friends, no hope. She lived each day like a machine someone flipped the switch on each morning and flipped it off each night. That’s when she felt human, in the indigo blue of night, when emotions were no longer suppressed by the mechanics of performing her role in society.
But she said none of this aloud. HC liked people to get to the point.
“One day, I covered a church fire. No one knew until later two teens had been trapped inside. I was there when they told the parents.”
Rachel bowed her head. “I don’t think I was ever angrier at God. How could He let them die? The very ones who had dedicated their lives to Him.” She raised her head and glanced at HC. His dull eyes stared at the feeder.
Since he wasn’t really listening, Rachel ventured into more detail.
“I went home that night, hollered, screamed, cried. So surrounded by injustice in the world, I wanted answers. I wanted someone to explain life and its cruelties to me.
“A week later, I called the pastor on the pretense of a follow up story. I asked him straight out how he could worship God when He let bad things happen to good people. His own people.”
Rachel fumbled the plastic cup and it hit the wood deck with a resounding echo. She bent to retrieve it and set it on the table, folded her hands in her lap. “He said God’s Word had the answers. He told me to read Genesis, about the fall of man and the misery we bring on ourselves through sin. After that, he said read the book of John about God’s answer to our sin. About His overwhelming love and grace.”
She licked her dry lips and tried to insert a chuckle, but failed. “I hung up on him. I didn’t want to go to the very One who was the problem for my answers. But I did. And I found the answers. I found the truth. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.”
HC stood and stepped to the feeder, made adjustments and sat back down. “So that means you forgive me, right?”
Rachel’s head lightened, not her heart. Splinters of glass needled it as she recalled all the things this man had done. Not only to her, but her mother and sister. God had healed her—she recovered. Mom and Andee had not.
HC wasn’t asking for the forgiveness, yet in his own way, he did admit wrong on his part. That was enough for now. But it was hard to let go. In the end, only one word came out.
Her heart lightened and tears came. Without glancing at her, HC leaned forward and pointed. “Look.”
At the feeder, a single hummingbird found its meal for the day.
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