Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chrsitmas Blessings for Natalie - part 2

The first half of this short story came out here on Friday. Today, as promised, here's the ending.

Please leave a comment & let me know if you enjoyed the story, or else, post on my Facebook author page, send me a tweet, or an e-mail. I would love some feed-back.

Thanks for taking a moment to read about God's work at healing a young girl with a hurt as big as Texas.

Christmas Blessings for Natalie - part 2

“That sure is a neat catcher’s mitt,” Jake said noticing what the young woman was holding.

“My husband had bought it for Bobby. That was my son’s name.” She looked at the grave again. “He’ll never grow up to use it now.”

The three stood silent. Natalie got lost in her own personal grief. A cold wind slapped her in the face.

The woman snapped out of her thoughts, turned, and introduced herself as Paige Huston. “Would you like the mitt, Jake?” She held it toward him.

Jake reached for the mitt. “I shouldn’t.” He dropped his hand. “I mean, would your husband mind?” He looked up at their new friend.

Paige smiled. “No, I think he would like to see it used.”

“Do you have lots of family around here?” Natalie didn’t know why she asked that. It just came out as if someone else spoke.

“No, just Bob and me. That’s my husband. We were going to have a Christmas tree for Bobby, but not now.” She knelt and straightened a ball on the little tree that topped a small mound of dirt. “This is Bobby’s tree.” Paige gulped and sniffed. Her hand swabbed her face.

Natalie swallowed her own tears. “I’ll ask my father if you could come for Christmas dinner with us. We’ll be lonely.”

“We need a mother around the table,” Jake said.

Natalie noticed his words brought a fresh bout of tears to the woman. She hoped they were a good kind of tears.

That night, they approached their father about having Paige and Bob for a Christmas dinner. At first he balked as Natalie had expected. Later he left his work and came to Natalie’s room. He stood at the door. “Maybe inviting that young couple would be a good idea. My company will give me a ham. We should share. That’s what your mom would have done.” Sobs welled up and shook his body for the first time since the funeral. He braced, grimaced, and walked out of the bedroom.

Natalie slid to her knees. “Thank you that prayers are beginning to be answered for us, Lord.” Once again she prayed for Jake, her dad and for Paige and Bob.

Four days later as the five of them bowed heads together over the ham dinner Paige and Natalie had prepared, Natalie felt her load lighten just a little. Her mother was still watching over her family. Natalie felt her presence as Paige peeled potatoes and Bob said grace.

Bob and Jake enticed Dad out for a game of catch. Paige and Natalie clasped hands while they watched out the window. Natalie sqeezed the hand of her new friend.

That evening the five of them attended a special candlelight service at the Huston’s church. As they sat together and listened to the carols, Natalie stole a glance at her father. He winked and patted her shoulder. Bob and Paige held hands. Natalie clasped Jake’s small hand. God’s presence filled the pew despite the pain.
“Thank you for new Christmas blessings, Lord,” she whispered.

This story was first published in Brio Magazine, Focus on the Family’s magazine for teen girls in the December, 2007 issue.

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