To begin, I suppose you need to know that I died. They said such kind things at my funeral. “Thankfulness has been a hallmark of Miss Hepzibah’s life, and it often overflowed into exuberant good works.” That’s what the sweet young pastor said , and I reckon it’s true. I’ve loved the Lord for as long as I’ve had sense enough to know Him. Oh but I had to sit back and laugh at the deacon board’s reaction to my latest project! I gave ‘em a little over a million dollars to start a home for “the fatherless and stranger in the land”. I’d been saving my whole life, an waitin’ and praying for the right time for the Lord to let me stir up a little mischief at the ole Community Church. He didn’t let me do it while I was alive, but I’ve been very graciously been given a front row seat to the action now that I’ve passed.
And quite a show it’s been…
Pastor Don tried to stifle a yawn as he walked up to the podium. “So tired,” he thought. It had been a rough week. He’d had a funeral, and subsequently, several meetings with a befuddled deacon board over the peculiar bequest of Miss Hepzibah Dawes. On Thursday, he rallied to sit at the bedside of a 17 year old youth group member who’d been in a car accident.
Thankfully, the boy would live, but Don hadn’t had much time to prepare his sermon. He e-mailed the church secretary the lessons straight from the lectionary and prayed for inspiration.Don was ashamed to admit that he had not yet actually looked at the verses. He’d meant to,he was usually prepared for Sunday mornings, but then he’d gotten that call from Sal…
Salvador D’Angelo walked to the podium with as much haste as his aching muscles would allow . He made eye contact with the little boy sitting in the front row. His grandson sat alone on the pew. Sal gave the boy another stern look and began to read. He had a deep, sonorous voice and a few of the older members of the congregation began nodding off at his opening words. “Psalm 10. Why do you stand a far off, O Lord…”
“Oh Lord,” thought Betsy. They were going to be here all day. Sal was such a slow reader, and this was such a long psalm. It wasn’t even one of the good ones. It was one of those diatribes against the wicked. Wasn’t even practical. No folks “lying in wait” in Shady Grove, just a nice group of country people wondering if winter would ever end and itching to get back
into their gardens. A small scuffle broke out in a pew somewhere behind Betsy. She remembered when her son, Hank, was that age. It’d been a while since she’d seen Hank, and it seemed longer and longer between each visit. He was busy. She knew. He had an important job in the city and a
beautiful wife and little time to come help her till her little garden or listen to her country gossip. He was a busy man. Still, she wondered, how long…?
“How much longer can I do this?,” Fionna thought as she sat her squirmy son on the bench next to his sister. With Matt on the road so much, she felt like a single mother. Why did she even bother bringing their five young children to church? She spent the whole service just trying to keep them from making too much of a disruption. Her movement woke the baby on her
shoulder. He began to wail. She stood and swayed him gently back to sleep, thinking “When Matt gets home…”
Home. The word filled Matt with all the scent and longing of every holiday that ever was. He missed his wife and children. Bills had to be paid, and work was scarce. So, when his family was at church Sunday morning, he was finishing his 5 day shift driving a truck for Lowes. “Must be tired,” he thought as his eyes blurred with more then just sleep. It was starting to rain, and though Matt hated to stop this close to home, he knew he needed to pull over, if only to grab another coffee.
He passed a young girl holding a sign as he pulled into the rest stop. Broke his heart every time, seeing these young girls trading favors to truck drivers for a little bit of money. Lot Lizards they called them. He did his best to steer clear of the desperate girls that made a meager living off of lonely truckers. He dismissed her from his thoughts as he walked toward the diner. Some coffee and a big plate of hash sounded really good right about now…
“Now what?,” the girl thought, her hands unconsciously drawn to her slightly swollen
belly. “Now what?” She should have gotten the abortion when she had a chance. She should have never gotten involved with Rick. She should have left at the first sign of trouble. She should have had a better plan for when she aged out of foster care. It was too late now. She was screwed and nobody cared. She stood in the rain, holding up a sign that said “headed to DC. Please Help Me!”
The cardboard was getting soggy and the girl was ready to give up. She’d seen some girls working the lot, and wondered if that was what she’d have to resort to for a hot meal and a warm
place to sit for a while…
“Just a little while till I’m home,” Matt thought as he tried to balance his coffee on his knee while he pulled the cab door shut. He shrieked as the hot liquid poured into his lap.
“You scream like a girl”, a voice came from behind him. Matt saw that it was the soggy girl from the off ramp.
“Yup”, he offered her a pained smile.
“Can I get a ride” she asked.
“Sorry, it’s against policy. No hitchhikers. I could lose my job”
“I figured” the girl shrugged and started to walk off. Suddenly she turned, stuck out her chin and
her eyes went hard. “Do you want a little company?” she asked in a defiant voice.
“Uhhn, no. I’m married and on the way home to my wife”.
Matt heard the tears in her voice. He slammed the door and offered up a little prayer for the girl as he started his truck. Tears stung his own eyes, and this time he wasn’t sure why. He watched the girl walk away, noticing the swelling around her midsection. After 5 kids, he didn’t have to ask.
He knew. Damn. He already dropped his lode, so he rationalized that he wasn’t really on the clock. Matt knew he had to bring this girl home. He swung back around to pick up the girl, praying that Fionna would understand.
© Kim Shank 2014