Reverend Abe Henderson pulled the old Chevrolet into the driveway of the small home he shared with his bride, Sadie. He turned off the ignition and sat in silence. This was his first official day of paying house calls to his parishioners and he felt utterly spent. How did you do it, Lord? How did you minister to so many and never seem to lose heart? He was thinking specifically of the last home he’d visited, there wasn’t enough food for the family to have dinner; or at least that how is seemed. How could five potatoes and one onion feed three little mouths not to mention Mom and Dad? And yet, they’d invited him in and offered him water with grateful hearts. Such a stark contrast to his former life. Food, or the lack thereof, was never a thought back then. There was always plenty.
He pushed the car door open, the scraping metal breaking his train of thought. Again, he thanked the Lord for the old automobile, having it was a small miracle. Never mind the gas station was miles and miles away, he kept a gas can behind the chicken coop in case of emergency. He willed his legs to move, stepped onto the sparse grass and made his way to the front door. He could smell dinner as he walked up the porch steps. His countenance lifted before he ever opened the door. Sadie would be just inside. He knew the moment he walked in she would capture him with her big, beautiful smile. The light in her baby blue eyes still made his knees weak. How in the world she ever fell for a guy like him remained a mystery. She was way out of his league; he was glad she had no idea. He was blessed more than he deserved, he surmised. He thanked the Lord often.
She didn’t disappoint.
Once she heard the rusty hinges on the front door, she put down the pot she was holding, wiped her hands on the hand-me-down apron from her Mother and headed for him. Her smile was contagious and her hug made all the burdens of the day melt away. He loved this woman more than his own life, and he told her often. He’d been honest with her, she knew when she married him things would not be easy. He felt called to minister, and to minister to the least of these. Wealth would be highly unlikely and yet she still said yes. She was used to so much more, yet she never complained. I don’t deserve her, Lord, but I am so glad she’s mine. This was the exact thought on his mind when she leaned back, noses touching, and told him it was eggs again for dinner. He could hardly wait for Spring when they could plant a garden, but for now he’d thank the good Lord for her chickens.
And for her heart.
Abe sat at the table as Sadie piled a generous portion of eggs onto two plates. She placed one in front of Abe and the other for herself. She then filled two glasses of water from the sink and took her place beside him. Abe watched her move back and forth and then finally sit down. He took her hand and bowed his head. “Father, thank you for this food. Thank you for my beautiful Sadie. Thank you Henrietta, Daisy and Stella and Lucille. Thank you for a home to live in and for your provision. We give thanks in all things. In Jesus name, Amen.” “Amen.” Sadie repeated after him.
Their dinner conversation consisted of concerns and hopes for this new place. They talked of weather and of the folks Abe had visited. It was such a poor community but he’d never seen such gratitude as he went from house to house. Sadie looked forward to the garden she and Abe dreamed about, she imagined sending baskets of vegetables to those who needed them.
It was after the conversation lulled that Sadie stood up and lit a candle. Then, she picked up the plates and headed to the sink to start the dishes. Abe was right behind her carrying the empty glasses. It was in the candlelight they stood over the sink, one washing and the other drying, that she brought up the subject of Ms. Moses. She shared how she’d gone out for a walk and took a trail that was less traveled. She told him of the butterflies and the raccoon. Abe’s eyes danced with the flicker of the candle as she spun her tale. Then, she took a deep breath and told him of her encounter with Ms. Moses. Abe stopped wiping the table and stood straight facing Sadie with deep concern on his face.
“That could’ve gone really badly, Sadie.”
“I know, but it didn’t.” Sadie paused and then said thoughtfully, “she seemed so hurt, something in her eyes, they looked hollow, like her soul was tucked away somewhere deep inside for no one to see.”
Abe tried to listen but his mind kept going to what could have happened instead of what did. “I don’t want you going out there anymore, not by yourself. It could be dangerous,” he said with finality in his voice.
Sadie’s heart fell, she was afraid he might say something like that and she desperately wanted to honor her husband. He had her best interest at heart and she knew it.
Long after their conversation, she lay in bed listening to his rhythmic breathing silently praying for this peculiar lady in the woods. Something about her wouldn’t be forgotten, something in her eyes begged for understanding. She felt in her spirit God has caused their paths to cross, she was sure of it. But, Abe was so clear, she was not to go out there alone. She couldn’t think of another human being in those parts she could ask to go with her. So, she did what she knew, she prayed.
“Father, I know you see all of us just as we are. There is no hiding from you. If it is meant for Mrs. Moses and me to be friends, please make it possible. Does she know you, Lord? I hope she does. Help me to find a way to be a blessing to this soul without being indifferent to the concerns of my husband. Please help Henrietta, Daisy and Stella to lay plenty of eggs for tomorrow and it would be such a blessing if Lucille had enough milk to last the day. Thank you, Lord, Amen.”
“Oh, and if you could find a way for this little place to have electricity, I would be so grateful. Amen.”
“Not that I’m complaining, Lord, I’m grateful for all we have, really I am. Amen.”
That’s how it went so often for her, she never seemed to quite be done talking to her Savior and friend.
These were simple days and there was not a care in the world she didn’t take to Jesus.
She rolled over gently not to wake Abe and the felt warmth of moonbeams spill across her face. She closed her eyes and listened to the crickets play a full symphony as she drifted off into peaceful sleep.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3