I'm new here so please let me know what you think. I'm posting a little bit of a novel I'm working on. I write Inspirational stories. I hope you enjoy. Thanks in advance.
Why would anyone want to own a diner? Eden had been asking herself that very question for what seemed like days even though it had only been a few hours. That Saturday afternoon had been like all the others of the past 2 ˝ years but with the other task in her life, and the emotional tug of war she was losing, this day had her feeling particularly drained.
She has two children and a husband she loved dearly and a business she started only because she thought it would give her more time for family then a regular 9 to 5. Boy was she wrong!
Alan is her oldest, her rock, her reason. He was born 22 years ago and is all of 40 years old. He is wise and loving and inquisitive, just waiting on the next thing to come along and grab his attention. He has always been wiser than his years. Drew is 18 but has the soul of a 50 year old. If you never believed in reincarnation, then you need to meet Drew. Even at 18 you can tell he has been around many times before. He just kind of knows his way around already, you know?
Her husband, Michael is quiet and reserved. Nothing like what she is use to. This is her 3rd go around. She swore that after an abusive 1st marriage, and a 2nd husband who decided to take his own life, she would NEVER do it again. But she never thought she would meet a man like Michael. They started out has friends at work. She was single again and he had been married for 20 years. She was in the mindset that no man would ever get close to her again. He was sure he was stuck in a loveless marriage because staying was the right thing to do.
Sometimes life has its own plans for you, and Michael would soon find out when his first wife told him she had met someone else and she wanted out. So that was the end of his marriage and the beginning of a new relationship for both Eden and Michael.
They seemed like the perfect couple, if there is such a thing. Always laughing and if you looked at them you would swear they could get lost in each other’s eyes. People would remark about what a great couple they made and how you could just see the love from them both. In every paradise there is an “apple tree” that is off limits. In Eden’s paradise it was the being insensitive & inconsiderate towards her or her family. When Michael started enjoying the fruits of that tree, she was done, her heart was broke.
With the stress of life and the lack of consideration from a husband who sometimes acts like a typical man even though he loves her, (or so everyone including her thought) she just wished for a place to go where she could be alone. No attachments to anyone or anything. She longed for a place that no one knows her or her past. Unfortunately for her family, her wish is about to come true.
Has that most exhausting day was coming to an end, Eden couldn’t take any more. She told Mary and Sue goodnight has she let them leave early. She told them she would finish cleaning up and take care of the end of the day paperwork. They were both so excited to be getting out of there by 10 o’clock on a Saturday so they could go hang out with their boyfriends that neither of them thought to ask Eden if she was sure she didn’t need the help closing up. The girls grabbed their purses and jackets and giggled with enthusiasm all the way to the door.
The offer came from a place of selfishness even though it was nice for Eden’s employees. She know deep down it was time to make some changes even if the thought wasn’t forefront in her mind. Her soul knew and it was finally starting to take control over her busy mind.
Has she sit there trying to complete the task of ending the work week, the thoughts of her dream passed over her like warm sun. She had been dreaming more often of the place she so badly longed to be. This must be the reason why the past few hours had seemed like days.
She envisions herself lying in a hammock by a huge lake. It is late September and the leaves are showing their first signs of changing colors. The air is crisp and the sun is warm and inviting. There is no one else around, just her and what wildlife that dares invade the privacy she has made for herself.
The past 2 years had aged her 10. Earlier that year in April the doctors thought she had cancer. They found a “suspicious” growth on one of her ovaries. Thank God it was benign. The down side of the surgery was that they had to take both ovaries which caused early menopause. The result of menopause, quitting smoking, and turning 40 all in the matter of a few months was for her were depression, weight gain (with every effort to lose - a complete failure), loss of energy, couldn’t focus, loss of interest, all symptoms that age a person & require some understanding from the people who love her while she tries to recover. Unfortunately her husband didn’t understand how much she needed him now.
All Michael could see was that she was not the same pretty, upbeat, happy go lucky women he married. The result of his dissatisfaction of her changes was that he couldn’t hide his resulting feelings about her anymore. He hurt her feelings several times. He made remarks about her weight and questioned why she couldn’t be the women she used to be. Eden couldn’t understand why he didn’t love the women she had always been, and still was. He just couldn’t understand that she was getting older and some things were changing, but she was still the same soul.
She was devastated to find he was not the man she thought he was. For her it was like losing another husband to death. The man she loved was no more. She could see him, she couldn’t talk to him, she could hold him and whisper in his ear how her world would turn gray if he wasn’t in it because the man in front of her was a shell. This person standing there looking back at her had no compassion, no remorse for the pain he was causing. He had nothing inside him that resembled a man of God.
With every disapproving remark she was also changing. No longer the lady with a smile like medicine for any ailment, she was now the woman who faked being happy so others wouldn’t ask her if she was oRachel. She didn’t want to tell them what a mistake she’d made or how her husband didn’t love her or that he never really did. He like what he saw and he loved how she served him, taking care of the house, the business, the kids and him but she was just realizing he never loved the real her. Sadist of all was that he was so empty he didn’t know it either.
With her new enlightenment came a lot of heartache. Her choices where to fake the happiness she thought she once knew or relive the pain with every look from anyone that dared ask for that compassionate smile she once gave so freely. She would have to give it to them and hope they couldn’t see behind her mask or explain why she didn’t have the joy to share with them. Either way was going to take a lot of strength she wasn’t sure she had and she didn’t know what she was going to do just yet.
She was an imposter for as long as she could muster the strength which wasn’t long. It only took 4 months from the time she figured out she was in a loveless marriage until her soul stepped in and took the wheel. One can only imagine that her soul was dying a little each day and it was strong and might in what the Lord had in store for her. That’s where God dwelled in her. The soul is the essence of who we are. That is where we carry all the qualities that we draw from to show love and compassion to one another and if it dies you’re left with an empty shell like her husband was doomed to dwell in.
Has that night lingered on, the importance of fulfilling her destiny kept tugging at her like a wanting child pulling at its mothers garments. With the sun saying its good-byes to the hours of the day, she was faced once more with a choice. Pick up her keys and drive to the place she calls home, or go the other direction and find a place she would feel home, a place where she could get reacquainted with herself and God.
It seemed like someone was guiding her hand as she picked up the pin begin to write one of the hardest letters she had ever been obligated to write. It was a painful yet releasing letter of acceptance. Acceptance of the fact she was not walking in the will of God. She knew as much as she loved Michael and as badly as she wanted her marriage to work, she was not where she needed to be to do what he put her on this earth to do.
She writes to him of how she will never forget the earlier years when he was kind and supportive. That she was leaving before she started to resent him for hurting her. Not just by the remarks he made to her, but for being absent. For marring her for all the wrong reasons and for leaving her like her 2nd husband Charlie had done when he took his own life. The only difference was Charlie didn’t give her the chance to say goodbye and for the opportunity to do so with Michael she would forever be grateful. She told him she would always love the idea of him and she would remember him with gratitude in her heart for the life he had allowed her to live, a life that took some of the worries of being a single parent off her shoulders.
Now it was time for Eden to learn how to love herself, but first she would have to find out who the real Eden was and she couldn’t do that without spending time alone with her creator. On that day all she knew was her name was Eden Michelle Eaves, she was 42 years old, she has 2 boys, she was in an emotionless, loveless marriage, she wanted more. She hoped tomorrow would bring more answers.
She dropped the pen and picked up the keys that would lead her to her future. She made only one phone call before closing the door at the “Taste of Home” diner for the last time. She called the only person she knew she could trust to do what she needed her to do. By then it was after midnight but she had to call her best friend and tell her she was leaving for a while. When Rachel answered the phone with a quick “Hello”, she sounded like she had been awakened from a dream she didn’t want to return from. Eden asked, “Please listen and don‘t say anything just let me talk. It’s done. I have written the letter I told you I would one day write and I am not going back for my stuff Rachel. I’ll buy what I need when I get where I’m going. I need you to call Michael in the morning and tell him he needs him to go to the Diner tomorrow and to look for a letter on my desk.”
Rachel was now fully awake and worried about her friend, “Won’t he miss you tonight when you don’t come home Eden?” “No. He thinks I’m working all night at the diner on the accounting. I’ve put everything in order for him to do what he wants with the business. Besides, he’s never worried about me or where I was as long as I was there to take care of the things he needed when he needed them. He won’t miss me until he’s hungry or needs clean clothes.”
“Rachel, I’ll call the boys in a week or two, please tell them I love them and I am fine. If I talk to them now I’ll cry and want to turn around and I have to do this or I’m never going to be the person I’m meant to be. By the way Rachel, I love you like you are my sister and I know I couldn’t ask this of anyone else. Thank you.” Rachel reassured her friend, “I love you too Eden, be safe and I will take care of things here. Call when you can, I’ll miss you.” Now all she needed to do was decide which direction to start her journey. This would be the first choice in a long time that depended solely on her needs and no one else’s.
Leaving Kentucky wasn’t has hard has she thought it would be. Within a few hours she thought a lot about her boys and how they must be worrying about her. She drove for a while long then submitted to the quilt that goes along with being a mom; she stopped on the side of the road to text the boys to let them know she was fine. She just couldn’t bring herself to talk to anyone just yet. She had to find her voice again. She wrote that she would call them in a day or two and that Aunt Rachel would know where to reach her if they needed her.
Hours had passed as she got lost in the wind of the open road. Starting to feel the age of her bones, she decided to stop and check into one of those old road side hotels. The kind you see in scary movies. She didn’t notice though. So much was going through her head like; Am I doing the right thing? Are the boys going to be mad at me for leaving without seeing them first? Is Michael going to be mad or will he even care?
I was going to take some time for her to stop thinking about everyone else first. It was one of the qualities that made her who she was but for now she needed to stop and focus on herself and get back on her path with God. All the other stuff would work itself out. She slept in her clothes and woke up early with the excitement of a new life waiting for no one but her. She checked out and drove as the sun came up behind her.
With a renewed smile and her shades on, she drove until she reached a small town that she thought would suit her need to have something of her very own. She got out of her car and walked around. Noticing how quiet the town was only drew her into it more. The air there surrounded her like a warm blanket on a cool fall day. You know that feeling you get when you just know something is right? Like your walking in the will of God. She had that. She just knew this was the place, she was on the right path and she could feel it. It was almost like a hush had come over her busy life to quiet all the craziness that had once caused her to lose herself. Quiet just enough to miss the girl that was screaming to get out.
She walked into a little mercantile store on what was located on a street appropriately named New Ave. Her plan was to get a few necessities and ask a few questions. What she got was a name and a phone number about a cabin that was for rent on a lake just on the outside of town. It was like everything in her life had put her in this place at this moment like an episode of twilight zone.
The owners name was Luke Mason. He owned a cabin his dad left him in his will. Eden called the number and discovered Luke had a lot of questions like, “Will you be the only one living there?” “Where do you work?” “Will you have a lot of visitors?” Her first impression of Luke of that he was kind of rude. Even though they were questions most landlords would want to know, she thought they were personal and none of his business. After all she was trying to find a place where she could just be alone. She didn’t want to get to know anyone just yet.
She told him see was in town alone and that she didn’t know anyone, so no- no visitors. She let him know she had enough money to wait on a job and she would pay the rent for 3 months up front even though she had not seen the place yet. Thinking all of this was too good to be true and that for the first time in a long time she seemed to be in the right place at the right time, she decided she was going to test the situation and ask one question of Luke. “Is there a hammock anywhere on the property?” “Yeah actually there is one near the lake behind the cabin. Is that a problem?” With a kind of slow, soft reply she said, “No, that’s not a problem. I was just wondering.” They made arrangements to meet at the cabin and before she could say good-bye, Luke being kind of puzzled by her situation, asked Eden if she was hiding from someone. He said, “I don’t want any trouble you know. I’ve got enough goin’ on myself.” She replied, “No, I’m just trying to find someone.” has she hung up the phone.
As the sun was setting and night was making its approach know with a blanket of coolness riding in on the breeze, the two got their first glimpse of each other. Luke was waiting as Eden pulled into the dirt drive. She stepped out of her car with a new sense of owning her own life starting to show through and Luke slide out of his truck like he just wanted to get this over with. They shook hands and greeted one another with an air of chillness like the weather. He headed to the front door and she followed.
He let her know the electric had not been on for some time because no one had been there since his dad passed away but the water worked and there was wood to build a fire in the stove so she could have hot water for a bath and everything else she would need was furnished. The nights were getting cooler so the fire served a dual purpose. She embraced the thought of starting her live over in such a primitive way.
As she walked him back to his truck, Luke offered to start the fire for her but she insisted on taking care of it herself. He told her he’d have the lights turned on in a day or two, as soon as the electric company could schedule it. She thanked him, handed him the rent and smiled as she turned to walk back toward what would essentially be her home, at least for the next three months.
She kicked off her shoes and stood there on the porch soaking up the sights of a new found freedom. She noticed the darkness creeping in even faster now, and the air cooled around her bare feet. The stars were brighter than she had ever noticed them before. To her this was yet another sign that she had made the right choice however difficult it was to make.
Grabbing some wood from the pile she stepped inside and started a fire in the cast iron pot belly stove. It had rings on the top of it and she could only imagine they were there from the years of someone living the life she was just beginning. She found the old aluminum pots used for the purpose of heating water in the years past. She could tell because some of them had a white residue left in them that was reminiscent of her childhood days staying the night at her grandmothers house in the country.
She put the pots on top of the stove to boil and pulled the dust covered white sheets from the furniture to reveal what treasures Luke’s dad had left for her to find. What she uncovered was not only treasures from someone else’s past but also the tools to turn a dream into a reality.
The fire in the stove was warm and soothing which gave her permission to explore the rest of the cabin. She loved the way it was laid out. It wasn’t like any modern house she had been in. It had character. The living room where the stove was had a doorway that gained entrance the bathroom and another one that allowed access to the bedroom. The bathroom was the most amazing room in the house. One wall had been removed to expose the large bedroom. Luke’s dad had crafted the most beautiful wood work and framed out the missing wall and installed folding doors with slats in them so even when closed you still had some light to give a soft glow to the bedroom and of course for privacy.
The layout was perfect for relaxing in a hot bath then going straight to bed. She hadn’t slept well for years. It had been so long since she had slept for more than 4 hours at a time, at this point the thought of more than that was foreign to her. As she poured the hot water into the old eagle claw tub, she couldn’t help but smile thinking of how long it had been since she was able to relax in a tub without someone knocking on the door or without thoughts of what needed to be done taunting her. She was finding peace, and trying hard to let go of what was quickly becoming her past.
Eden soaked until the water became merely comfortable, she debated on getting out into the coldness of the room but she knew it would only get worse as the water cooled even more so she decided it was time to fill the stove with more wood to keep her warm till morning. Then it would be time for the thing she was most excited about in her new home, to be cradled by the feather bed and hand sewn quilts.
Has she slipped between the sheets, her mind went back in time to her grandmother’s house. She stayed the night with her grandma many times, along with a brother, a sister, and sometimes a number of cousins. In the cooler months she, along with at least 2 of the other children, would sleep in her grandma’s bedroom on a roll away bed that she had fitted with a homemade feather mattress. Only a wood stove to heart her grandma’s house, it would be extremely cold but once you got nestled in for the night you were so warm by the quilts and the love in that room, you had no idea how cold it actually was. There would be so many quilts on the bed you could barely move under the weight of them all.
She remembered that even with all those people in the house, her grandma always made her feel special by making time for Eden to practice different hair styles on her long hair and then she would dote over what Eden had created.
As Eden settled in, the kindness and caring of her grandma surrounded her like an embrace. She took a deep breath and from out of only God knows where the tears came like from a faucet. She sobbed so hard she was sure she would collapse but she couldn’t stop. All the thoughts, fears, anxiety, worries, wants and needs of others that had tried to follow her were fading away. Her body had giving way to the release of all of the things that had been plaguing her for years and it took her crying herself to sleep to shed most of what was trapped inside.
When she woke the next afternoon, she slowly stretched and opened her swollen eyes. She had been asleep for 10 hours! She was so pleased with herself she lay there for another 45 minutes just savoring the feeling. Knowing the day was slipping away she sit up and put her feet on the cold floor. She quickly grabbed the socks she purchased at the mercantile the day before. She opened the door to the wood stove she realized she slept through the warmth it offered the night before and she would need to clear out the ashes to start again. Eden was so pleased to know she was able to do these things for herself. She was able to depend on herself which was something a lot of her friends couldn’t do. They didn’t know how to start a fire or change a tire or any other task women tend to leave up to a man.
After starting the fire again she noticed yet another surprise. Luke had been thoughtful enough to bring a few things for the kitchen before Eden arrived to meet him. He brought things like coffee, cream, sugar, and a few goodies from his Aunt Emma’s diner, best of all was the homemade coffee cake. While waiting for her coffee to brew she nosed around in the cabin to familiarize herself with the rest of her home and happened upon an armoire. There with the musty smell of a forgotten home, hung a few items left behind and probable long forgotten. One of which was a man’s flannel jacket. It was worn and threadbare in spots. You could see the years of comfort it provided to someone that loved it. She assumed it belonged to Luke‘s dad and thoughts of what he might have looked like in it crossed her mind as she slipped it on.
The cabin was filled with the aroma of coffee and the scent of burning wood from the stove, and she was feeling a hunger not known to her before. She laughed to herself thinking she felt like her bellybutton was trying to eat her backbone. She had forgotten what it was like to laugh. Michael didn’t laugh much and he sure didn’t find her funny anymore.
She was letting go of all the things that had been weighing her down. For the first time in a long time she was smiling because she was happy, not faking a smile because she wanted everyone else to be happy. Right now she was only too happy to put that coffee cake first. She didn’t think about her weight, she didn’t think about someone knowing she was eating such a big piece, all she was thinking about was, she was smiling, her kids knew she was ok and she knew they were okay, and she knew Michael would eventually be okay. She had known in her heart for a while now that he only seen her as a burden. After the day he referred to her and her sons as “you people” and told her the day they married all he got was a dependent it was apparent. She was sure once he got over the shock of having to deal with the business, he would be glad she was gone.
She finished her breakfast and wandered outside as the day moved on. Sure enough, there, by the lake was the hammock she had envisioned so many times. She wasted no time getting to it but has she stood there admiring it, she couldn’t bring herself to just jump in it. This hammock was more than a swing to flop into. It was a symbol of a life that she had anticipated having for such a long time, one she never knew for sure she would have. Now that the time was at hand, she wanted to hold on to it for as long as she could stand the anticipation of taking that first step. So she did just that. She stood looking at it from all angles. She touched it and studied every thread. It was worn and comfortable looking. It had places that had been tired back together with rope of another color. With one look you knew this spot on God’s green earth had brought much joy to the ones who longed for it like she did.
She looked out at the lake from the trees it hung from so she could experience the view and take in the essence of others who had been there before her. Now that she had taken in everything she could, she lay down slowly in the hammock that had seen so many memories before hers.
She closed her eyes and drifted away to the memories that preceded her and belonged to someone else. She imagined the birthday parties, the family reunions, the weddings that had surely been visited upon this land. Though she was feeling surer of her decision by the minute she was still struggling with the effect her actions had on her love ones. Searching for comfort, she pulled the jacket tight around her and put her hands in the pockets to feel all the warmth it had to offer.
There was something there. She pulled a piece of worn and tattered paper from one of the deep pockets. It was so old she could see the ink that had bleed through to the other side. When she finished reading the letter, she knew God had used someone else’s hand to write this note to her as well. It read……
I am writing this letter in hopes that one day you will find it. I want you to know that this is the place on earth that I imagine to be most like heaven. When you decide to come home, I will keep you safe even when my flesh is gone. I will watch over you like I have all my children that came before you. I will be with you while you cry. Let the tears wash away what weighs heavy in your heart and feel my arms cradle you has you fall asleep. You will find peace of mind, joy in your heart and the unconditional love I have for you. I promise you all these things. Take time to find yourself then come home in your own time. Love yourself like I love you. Accept who you are, inside and out has I do. Know the beauty that has been in your soul since the day you arrived. When the time is right you will know and you will be able to feel me with you no matter where you are. Until you find that peace within yourself I will wait for you here I’ll never leave you alone. Carry me in your heart forever and know that without all of my children I am not whole. We are one, which is the way it was meant to be. I will be patient and wait for you no matter how many times you need to leave and come home. Wherever you go I will be near you because I promise to be there when you are ready. I love you completely.
After reading the letter, drying her eyes and feeling the warmth of a love like no other, she knew she had to find Luke. She called and asked him to come to the cabin. She was on the porch waiting for him when he pulled in the driveway. He asked her what was wrong, why did she look like she had been crying. She could only answer I’m fine, come with me for a minute and she smiled and took his hand. She walked him to the hammock, sat him in it and she asked him if he had a distant relationship with his father. He looked at her like he had seen a ghost and answered with some hesitation. He said “It could have been better; we didn’t talk for 2 ˝ years before he died. He left me this cabin and I have often wondered why.” “Since he passed, I haven’t been in it more than twice before you moved in.” “Why would you ask me such a personal question, and why in the world did I answer you?” Eden responded “I found this in your dad’s old jacket.” She smiled has she handed him the letter. “You know, I believe in God, and I believe he has a way of putting you on your back to make you look up.” “Let me know if you need some help up after you read your letter, I‘m just glad I was in that hammock when I read it.”
She walked down to the lake to give Luke some time alone to find his peace with what the letter had to say. At that moment Eden was sure she was in the one place she needed to be. She needed to find that letter, and she needed to help someone like Luke so that she would know she could still feel real love for another person. Not the kind of love that takes you to bed, but the kind that leads you home.
Luke opened the note and began to read this gift of a lifetime. When he saw his dad’s handwriting he felt a knot in his stomach start to form. As he started to read the message his father so badly wanted him to get Luke started to cry. He finished reading and then stood from the hammock and dropped to his knees in front of it as he sobbed like a child.
He thought of all the time he missed being with his dad before he passed. All that time wasted because of pride. Eden could see he was in need and she made her way back to him. She spent the next few hours in the hammock with Luke like old friends talking about his dad and his pain of lost time. She found herself wondering how she could feel such joy in her heart when the only world she had known was falling apart and this man in front of her was devastated. She soon realized it was because she was in the presence of God. He was with her and Luke both and they both were where they needed to be to find Grace, Healing and Mercy from the Lord. God was gently guiding her down the path she was meant to travel. She was lost no more.
Luke confessed to Eden that he loved his father very much, but like so many others, he let his pride get in the way of his heart. He told her that just a few years earlier he was happy and outgoing but he lost his faith when his father got sick. He couldn’t understand how someone so deserving of respect and admiration could be stricken with an illness that would eventually cause him such indignity and pain. His dad would end up depending on Luke’s sisters and a nurse to do everything for him.
Luke was angry but he didn’t know how or at who to direct it at and his pride wouldn’t allow him to say the words “I’m afraid.” He said he tried talking to his dad about it when his health started to fail. He asked his dad why they couldn’t help him, why they couldn’t fix him. His dad simply said “Son, it’s my choice. It’s time for me to go home. I have finished my work here and my father is coming to get me so I can be with your mom. I love you and your sisters and while guiding you through your life, I have learned very important lessons with you. The most valuable is that unconditional love is the purest of all gifts on earth, and you should never be afraid to tell someone you love them. Don’t let the fear of not getting it back keep you from giving it away freely. Remember son that feeling of giving love freely and without conditions is a reward much greater than the pain and disappointment you feel if you don’t get it back. If you don‘t take a chance on touching someone’s life, there is no chance of it happening.”
Luke opened his heart just a little more and told Eden that he knew it was selfish to turn away from his father when he refused treatment. He said that he was so angry and scared he didn’t know what else to do and he could set back and watch his dad welt away. He thought God was punishing him by taking his dad from him and he didn’t know what he had done to deserve and he didn’t know how to take it back even if he did. He said he wakes up every morning with regret in his heart for not being there for his dad’s last moments. He told her he can’t find joy in anything anymore. He said he once loved fishing with his dad down at the lake behind the cabin. The few times he has tried since inheriting the property, he could only sit on the bank and cry for him. That’s why he stayed away from the place. It hurt to bad to be reminded of the emptiness in his heart.
Eden took his hand softly in hers. “Luke, you have to know that God loves you and you are not being punished. God doesn’t work that way. He loves us all so much that he sent his perfect son to die a horrible death in order to save us. Does that sound like a love that wants to see you in pain? Try to remember what he has giving to us without taking anything in return. He only asks that we honor him by honoring his Son, our Brother who shed his blood for us. Even when we are at our worst and most damaged he is still with us and he is waiting for us to ask him to save us. Reach out to him Luke. He’s not hard to find because he is always reaching out to us.”
“He wants you to forgive yourself Luke. You have to let it go so you can heal and give your fathers memory the respect it deserves. I’m sure that your father is with you and he wants you to move on with your life and find peace. He would want your heart to heal. What better way to honor him than by remembering him with love and joy in your heart instead of sadness and sorrow?”
Eden told him she was going to leave him alone to explore his memories of a happier time in his father’s home. “Do yourself a favor and talk to him Luke. He can hear you and he will answer you, all you have to do is listen”. Luke asked with a shaky voice while looking thru misty eyes, “Are you talking about God or my Dad?” With the smile she thought she had lost, she hugged Luke and simply replied, “Yes” and she headed to the cabin to embrace the thoughts of God healing her by using her to help someone else.
Eden went inside to rebuild the fire one more time before getting ready for a trip to town. The night would be coming soon and with it would come all the briskness that fall weather had to suggest.
Changing her clothes she remembered the feeling of anxiety often felt because of her low self-esteem. For as long as she could remember, Eden had never been comfortable in her own skin. For most of her life, she had allowed people make her feel less than beautiful by way of their little remarks or a look that lingered a little too long (and not in a good way). Almost always being somewhat of a spiritual person, she knew that God had blessed her with a beautiful heart, but people don’t see what’s inside first and in her experience most of the time if they don’t like your outside they don’t want to know your inside.
Some years back Eden started to appreciate what attributes she did have. She has her father’s eyes, they are kind and compassionate. Her mothers’ nose, it is small and perky. Both parents hair, it laid in curls and waves and its dark which complimented her eyes. She is tall, which helped her hide some of the weight. But even having a little comfort in those things didn’t help find confidence in her as a whole. Part of her desire to be alone now resided in the want to figure out why other people couldn’t see the beauty inside others.
Outside beauty is just luck of the draw. It has nothing to do with what’s important. When someone dies, no one ever says “Oh, we are so sad they are gone. They brought so much to this world with their high set check bones and clear skin.”
A parent who goes without food so their child can eat. A daughter who wears last year’s dress to the dance and tells her dad it’s because it’s the most beautiful dress in the world, and she doesn’t mention she knows he lost his job. The neighbor who takes the time to mow the lawn next door without being asked, because after the funeral everyone will be coming back to that house. The friend who weeps with you, but is focused enough to wipe away your tears when you find out you may be dying. That’s the kind of beautiful that matters. As she got control of her thoughts, Eden made her way to the car and headed to town leaving Luke the opportunity to honor his father and enjoy the comfort of the hammock.
The dirt driveway lined with massive oaks blocking out a good part of the sun was also paved with the ability to entrance its traveler with the dancing shadows from what leaves were still hanging on the trees. She soon became lost in the memories of childhood again. Back in a time when a girl could be happy with just the thought of a tea parties, or walking around in her mom’s heels as she debated on a name for her new doll. She remembered thoughts of how one day she would grow up and have a real family that she would take care of and love with all her heart. She would tell her kids every hour how much she loved them! They would never wonder if they were loved and they would know that they were safe and how beautiful they were inside and out. She would give them the knowledge that they could accomplish whatever they imagined they could do.
Thinking of her childhood and the dreams of a family in waiting for all the love she had to give them quickly turned to the flashes of her present day family. Images of her sons danced in her mind like a silent film and see missed them so much she could feel her heart turn heavy. She longed to hear the sound of their voices but she knew she the temptation of wanting to see them would be to strong to resist once she did. She couldn’t chance going back until she and God had some time alone or she would be the same woman she was a few months ago that found out her marriage was a lie. She wanted her boys but she needed her God.
She was almost to town by the time the thoughts of a better tomorrow gave way to the sight of the small village she was now calling home. She parked in front of the Mason County courthouse located right smack dab in the middle of Storm TN. and walked the few blocks it took to get to a row of hidden shops masked by an air of yesteryear with their old style architecture and even older style names. First stop was “Dee’s Country Mart”. She took time to go down every isle as if she had never been in a grocery store. She admired even the dust on cans that people had walked by a million times on their way to the back of the store to get the forgotten gallon of milk, or the last minute loaf of bread until they could get to the Super Mart 30 minutes away. Eden didn’t miss the crowds of those places at all. She was appreciating a peace in her life she had not known for some time.
Soon she found herself exploring the town on foot as she gathered a few things from one of the shops. She carried the plan brown paper bag to her car in her arms like a child resting on her hip. She loved it there. Everything about a simpler time in her life could be found right there on the streets of this small, isolated town.
Still thinking about Luke and how good it felt to help him and how exciting it was going to be to watch him grow in his faith too. Maybe she was jumping the gun a little about what Luke was going to be doing with his new found enlightenment but she had so much hope for him. She wanted to see him experience the joy she had known when she first not only believed but understood what Jesus had down for her. After what Luke had experienced that day, she didn’t know how he could be anything but a believer in the love of Christ. Not that she wanted or enjoyed seeing him hurt but watching him be so lost in some way helped her see her path more clearly.
Having all this time to be alone and re-evaluate her life, Eden would either find what she thought she had been missing all these years, or the wide open space of what she had prayer for could fool her into missing that existence she was starting to recover from. If she let herself fall back into that familiar place this journey would then become pointless. It would only cause her to fall deeper into a life time of servitude to the wants of mankind and not of her God. Eden knew she had to stay focused on finding her Savior again or all the promises he made to her in his word would be thrown away by this crippled Christian. But for now, by the Grace of God, everything was falling into place as if he was working a gig saw puzzle.
On the ride back to the cabin she talked out loud as if she were two different people hoping that hearing it come out of her mouth would somehow make a difference. She said, “Eden you know this is where faith comes into play. Stop worrying about what’s going to happen. I know you are still a baby in your faith, but you have figured out that faith is not about asking questions, it’s about just telling God your concerns and letting it go. He will send you the answers to questions you didn’t even know you have; the right ones not the ones you conjure up in your own mind. Just like that letter you found. You know that you were meant to find that letter just as much as Luke was. Do you think your life is supposed to be about taking care of other people’s selfish egos and earthly wants instead of taking care of their souls and helping them develop a relationship with Jesus Christ? No mam you are not. You know God has a plan for you and it’s time you got your butt in gear and started listening to him tell you how much you are loved! And it is most definitely time for you to hear what it is he has in store for you to do in his name!”
With every word that came from her mouth she wondered where it originated. She felt uplifted and on fire with the passion of loving her God. For the first time she heard him speak to her. “Eden, what you are feeling is me. My love for you. I choose you. You are not a mistake nor is one moment of your life. I’ve known you since creation and it is my plan for you to be here at this very moment and I’m so proud of you. I am rejoicing because you have chosen me too. We have much work to do and we will do it together. As a Father and a child. Do you trust me?”
She pulled to the side of the rode and she put her face in her hands and she cried. She spoke his name through the tears and she told him out loud, “YES MY LORD, I TRUST YOU WITH EVERYTHING IN ME! I TRUST YOU WITH MY LIFE AND EVERY MOMENT IT HOLDS BECAUSE AT THIS MOMENT I KNOW WITH ALL I HAVE I BELONG TO YOU! USE ME LORD TO DO YOUR WORK. I AM YOUR SERVANT AND I WILL FOLLOW YOU TIL I DRAW MY LAST BREATH AND COME TO KNELL AT YOUR FEET AND WEEP WITH JOY. I LOVE YOU MY KING!”
Eden finally understood that he had been talking to her for many years but she always questioned what was happening. He talked to her in thought but her mind stayed so busy that when he talked she was deaf to what he had to say. This wasn’t like hearing voices or when her mind would stray. When he spoke to her she had no desire to question the message. As the days went on she was learning to listen for him and he became clearer in his communication with her. This was only the beginning.
What was coming would take her to places in her heart she thought she had buried a long time ago but God’s message was clear and she would do anything for her Lord. “IF YOU DO NOT TEND TO YOUR WOUNDS THEY WILL NEVER HEAL AND I WANT YOU TO BE WHOLE AND HEALTHY. NOT ONLY DID I CARRY YOUR SINS, I ALSO CARRIED YOUR PAINS AND ILLNESSES WITH ME TO MY EARTHLY END SO THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE TO AGONIZE OVER THEM. DO NOT LET MY SUFFERING BE IN VEIN. HIDING THE MARKS OF WHAT YOU HAVE SUFFERED FROM SIGHT DO NOT MAKE THEM GO AWAY MY CHILD. THIS WILL HURT BUT I WILL BE WITH YOU AND I WILL CARRY YOU WHEN YOU ARE TOO TIRED TO WALK BUT KNOW THIS FROM MY WORDS, YOU WILL NOT STAND STILL IN YOUR WALK WITH ME AND YOU WILL NEVER BE ALONE.”