Sadie stood stunned for a moment and then stepped to the right. Still no words came to her mind. Ms. Moses, feeling heat rise in her cheeks because of their previous encounter, also stepped to the right and again the two bumped into one another. Could this get any more awkward? Sadie thought, this time stepping to the left. Ms. Moses did the same. To any onlookers it might’ve looked like the two had begun to dance, but that would be a gross misinterpretation of the uncomfortable situation. With the silence starting to feel palpable, Sadie blurted out the first thing that came to mind. “Oh, Mrs. Moses, I’ve been praying so hard for you.” Ms. Moses froze. In what seemed like an eternity, she finally looked up at Sadie with piercing eyes, “you don’t even know me.” With that she stepped past Sadie and escaped out onto the street. She was in her wagon and on her way home before Sadie could respond.
Ugh! Why did I say that?? She chastened herself.
Sadie was still standing in front of the door when the clerk motioned for her to come to the counter. Stunned at what just happened, she walked over mindlessly and stood in front of him. What had been such a glorious day had suddenly turned sour. “Don’t mind her,” the clerk said quietly, “she’s been angry since her husband passed a while back. She didn’t used to be that way; she and Henry were two of the happiest people I’ve ever known. Henry could fix anything. He’d mend fences, fix roofs, clear property. He was a hard worker and one of the kindest souls you’d ever meet. He passed away of a heart attack and I think her heart died along with his.”
Sadie was taken back by his words. Her heart dead? That seemed like an overstatement; broken? Most certainly. Crushed, even.
Later that evening as she and Abe sat on the small porch watching the sun melt toward the earth, she told him of Ms. Moses and her broken heart. Tears fell as she thought of this small woman living in the woods by herself. She couldn’t imagine her life without Abe, it would be unbearable. She was telling her beloved exactly that when he took her hands and began to pray. “Father, we don’t know Mrs. Moses, but you do. We have no idea what to say, but you do. Comfort her in this time of loss, heal her heart and soften the anger she uses as a shield of protection. She must be lonely, Lord, please allow us to be your hands and feet, to minister as much as she will allow. In Jesus name, Amen.” Sadie wiped her tears and repeated after him, “Amen.”
Ms. Moses put away her bought goods and bedded the animals for the night. She couldn’t get that blonde haired girl off her mind. Why in the world did she have to run into her today? She felt the heat still in her cheeks since the incident. She never asked anyone to pray for her; the thought made her uncomfortable. She was private and tried to keep to herself, but it felt like this girl could see straight into her soul. Why does this hurt so much? She thought as she wiped away angry tears. She pulled out the cast iron skillet and threw a log into the pot belly stove and set about the task of cooking dinner. The bacon popped and crackled sending grease onto the front of her apron, but her mind wasn’t in the kitchen. She was remembering a conversation she’d had with Henry just before he died. “Hasn’t the Lord been good to us, Hazel?” He’d said with that famous smile on his face. She’d agreed wholeheartedly because it was true. But, now standing over the hot stove in a house that felt as empty as her heart, she wasn’t so sure. Why’d you take him, Lord? Why’d you leave me here by myself? Why’d you have to break my heart? How am I supposed to make it without him? This is too hard. These were the conversations she had so often with the Savior. She just wasn’t sure she’d ever be okay again.
“And this is why Sadie is praying for you, Hazel.”
She heard the voice in her mind but it may as well of been out loud. It was so clear and so certain it jarred her from her reminiscing. She looked around but knew instinctively no one was there. It had been a long time since she’d heard the Lord so clear, but she recognized his voice. Or maybe it was more like she felt his voice. Either way she stood frozen. The Lord had told Sadie to pray, how could she argue with that?
Abe could hear the crickets singing in perfect harmony through the thin walls of the cabin. The moon was shining through the window casting shadows over the bed. Sadie was sound asleep tucked into the quilt her mother had given her. He felt strangely awake. He knew from past experience being awake like this was often the Lord calling him to pray. He slipped out of bed and headed to the small living room and knelt by the chair. Lord, I know you’re stirring my spirit for a reason, what am I to pray about? Immediately Ms. Moses came to mind. Abe began to pray a second time for the elderly soul in the woods. His heart was tendered to her brokenness and he knew the Lord was keenly aware of her unimaginable loss. “How gracious you are to put us on the hearts of others,” he spoke softly into the darkness. He wasn’t sure how long he stayed kneeling there, but when he finally did rise his knees cracked and ached. He walked in the moon dripped shadows back to the bedroom and slipped under the covers and stared at the face of his beautiful bride.
The only thing more beautiful than her appearance was her heart was the last thought he had before he drifted into restful slumber.
Ms. Moses was up way into the night. She just couldn’t sleep. The fire danced as her crochet needles moved quickly in repetitive motion. She hummed softly “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and tears spilled down her cheeks. Every hymn brought back a memory. It seemed everything in her life brought back a memory. How many conversations had she and Henry been lost in in front of this very fire? Now his rocking chair sat next to hers empty, a constant reminder he was never coming back.
Her heart ached at the thought of it.
She plucked the hankie from her pocket as another droplet fell on the ball of yarn in her lap. Her customers would never know these carefully crafted pieces were baptized in her tears.
“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Psalm 13:1