My Hope is Built: Visitation (Part Seven)

Sadie stood and wiped her brow.  The coolness of the morning was slowly being stifled by the rising sun, it had already begun its daily march across the pale blue sky.  Morning dew was evaporating causing a misty steam to rise from the earth.  Sadie could feel the temperature rising and realized she’d lost track of time. She loved working in the garden; it was her very first one.  Abe had tilled up the soil with a second-hand hoe he’d picked up from a church member.  She’d spent long hours planting seeds and keeping the rows watered while pulling weeds.  They’d put up a fence to keep the critters from feasting on newly sprouted vegetables.  She loved this soft earth, she loved how tending to the plants helped them to produce and grow.  She’d often thought her relationship with Christ looked strikingly similar.  He’d tend to her, fill her with living water and provide room for growth.  She also saw the parallel in relationships around her.  How a friendship or marriage could grow deep roots and produce fruit if properly tended.  But, this morning, her mind wasn’t on any of those things.  She was thinking of Ms. Moses.  She and Abe had begun visiting her weekly after they’d had a run in at the mercantile.  That same evening Abe had prayed for Ms. Moses on the porch with Sadie and again during the night when God had awoken him.  It was a few days later Abe surprised her with the idea of visiting Ms.  Moses together.  They would take her a loaf of fresh bread Sadie had learned to make and properly introduce themselves.

Since that first visit, when Abe boldly stood on Ms. Moses’s porch trying unsuccessfully to make small talk, they’d been back nearly every week to check on her and bring bread.  They were never invited inside, but that was okay, at least she didn’t point a shot gun at them.

Sadie, satisfied with her morning work, turned and headed to the little cabin.  She hollered to Henrietta, Daisy and Stella, “see you later, ladies, we’re headed to visit Mrs. Moses.”   She was sure they clucked in response.  She closed the door of the small home and made a beeline to the bedroom to change into her simple blue skirt.  These days it was getting harder and harder to button, she had suspicions but hadn’t said anything to Abe about the possibility…the car door closing interrupted her thoughts.  Why’d you linger in the garden, Sadie, she scolded herself.  Abe would have to wait a few minutes before she’d be ready, her hair was a fright and she hadn’t put on her shoes. 

Abe pulled into the grass in front of their small dwelling.  Their weekly visits to Ms. Moses’s house were made on foot, down a trail less traveled. He had been praying about this visit today, it seemed the old lady never warmed up to them.   She’d take the fresh loaf of bread and stand staring, barely speaking, until Sadie and Abe dismissed themselves.  He’d decided the best part of the entire event was the pleasant walk with Sadie through the woods.  They’d pick wild daisies and occasionally see a critter stumble across the path.  They were sweet times and no amount of sour treatment from anyone could spoil them.

Abe opened the front door and Sadie was hopping on one foot out of the bedroom trying to get her shoe on quickly.  “Almost ready” she declared.  Abe couldn’t help but smile at his beautiful, innocent, loving bride.  If Sadie couldn’t find a way into Ms. Moses’s heart, he’d have to question if she even had one. 

Ms. Moses was sweeping off the small front porch, getting ready for the preacher and his wife to visit.  They probably had no idea how she’d come to appreciate those few minutes of kindness.  Every week she’d tell herself she was going to invite them in for tea steeped in the sunlight, but every week she’d stammer over a few words and be glad when they were gone.  Henry always handled company when he was alive, another reminder of how very much she missed him. 

Today would be different though, today she would be brave ask them in.

Abe stopped Sadie and bowed his head for a quick prayer before they were within eyesight of the cabin.  “Lord, give us words to say, fill our mouths with good things just like you promise in Isaiah 81:10.  Mrs. Moses is such a hurting soul, but you’ve never left her alone in her pain.  Teach us to be your hands and feet.  In Jesus name, Amen.”  “Amen.”  Sadie whispered. She had long been praying for Ms. Moses and she had dreams of a friendship one day.  She couldn’t explain it, but her soul felt drawn to this older woman, she wanted to learn from her.  She sensed beneath the hard shell of hurt was a lifetime of wisdom and Sadie wanted deeply to know more.

When they arrived Ms. Moses was already on the porch looking for them.   Abe was glad she seemed receptive to these little visits.  “Good morning, Mrs. Moses,” he said through his smile.  “Good mornin’,” she responded as she swayed lightly from side to side.  She was so uncomfortable.  But, she’d made up her mind, and Henry told her more than once she was as stubborn as a mule when she’d decided on something.  “Won’t ya come in?”  There. She’d said it.  The words hung heavy in the air.  Sadie and Abe stood shocked with mouths hanging slightly open.  Abe quickly regained his composure.  “Why, yes, Mrs. Moses, we’d love to.”   “Alrighty then,” she turned on a dime and headed into the house.  Abe gave Sadie a gentle push queuing her to follow Ms. Moses.  She took a step and looked at Abe eyes wide, he gave her a little wink in response.  Praise the Lord, we’re making some progress, he thought and prayed simultaneously.

Ms. Moses set a couple of saucers at the small wooden table.  Henry made it for them years ago, he could make or fix anything she reckoned.  It was the first time in so long anyone sat there, she’d been sitting by the fire to eat.  The table held too many memories.  She took the bread Sadie had given her and set about cutting it into slices thick enough to hold a generous portion of creamy butter and then topped it with homemade strawberry jam.  She poured two mason jars full of golden sun steeped tea and placed them on the serving board and brought her offerings to the table. 

Sadie and Abe ate and drank in awe, so thankful God had opened Ms. Moses’s heart enough to invite them in.

The conversation was slow, at best.  But, Sadie didn’t mind.  They talked of chickens and gardens, and Abe invited her to church.  It wasn’t long until the tea glasses were empty and Abe announced they needed to take their leave.  He had some church business to attend to. 

Sadie walked on a sunbeam all the way home.  She chattered and stopped to pick wildflowers.  She still couldn’t believe how far they’d come from her first experience with Ms. Moses to now.  She was watching a miracle unfold and was keenly aware that God wasn’t done yet.  Oh, Lord, you’re always working even when I can’t see, she prayed silently. 

“Hallelujah!”  She squealed and Abe agreed.

She flew into the door when they arrived home and headed straight for the cabinet where she kept her favorite vase. It was another heirloom from her mother.  She took her time and arranged the flowers she’d picked on the trail, humming while she worked.  After fussing over them a while, she sat the finished product on the table and stepped back to admire her work.   

“They’re daisies, Momma,” she whispered under her breath, “your favorite.” 

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