Reading, “Flowers in February”

If you’re struggling with loss or discouragement during this cold and dark season, I pray my short story, “Flowers in February” reminds you of the unending hope you have in the Lord. ♥️

Be blessed, and thank you for watching!

(If you’d rather read the story instead of watching this video, click here.

One Cookie at a Time

Thank you for reading, my dear friends. I pray this year’s fictional Christmas story blesses you. And I pray you have a blessed and very Merry Christmas as you remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who came to save us all.

One Cookie at a Time

I nibbled on stale candy corn while my fingers hovered over my laptop. I hesitated to send the email, knowing it would make everything so final. But the truth was, the numbers were bad, and I’d already lost hope in my bakery. There was no point in dragging out the inevitable. I had to tell my faithful client list I would be closing at the end of the year. And I had to tell my daughter, Jenna, there would be no business to return to after graduating from college. I just couldn’t hold on anymore.

It was Christmas Eve, and it took everything I had not to close my doors permanently tonight, to hold out and wait for a miracle. But I knew that stuff only happened in Christmas movies to happy people with happy lives. Not the kind of life I’d lived—an ugly divorce, bankruptcy, and struggling to make a fresh start with only a dream and a box of my own recipes.

“It’s freezing out!” Jenna said, the bakery door jingling as she came in blowing on her hands.

I closed my laptop.

“Are you ready to go? The snow is really coming down.”

I sighed. “I’m ready. I just need to grab these last few boxes.”

“Deliveries?”

“No. Cookies that didn’t sell. No one will want to buy stale Christmas cookies after Christmas.”

“Mom, what have you always told me? ‘Pray and trust.’”

I couldn’t tell her I was too tired to pray, and I didn’t know how to hold onto trust when it seemed like grasping at sugar in a sandstorm. So instead, I put on a smile for my daughter, knowing when the time came to tell her the truth, maybe then she’d understand.

We loaded the white boxes onto the backseat of Jenna’s pickup and climbed into the cab. With my laptop and unwanted cookies in tow, I turned to see my bakery, dark and shrouded in a heavy snowfall. I was thankful the wind was bitter—it could explain the tears in my eyes.

Jenna steered away from the curb and whispered something.

“What was that?”

“I was praying.”

At least I’d done something right. Train up a child…

As we headed across town, the snow stopped falling, leaving the sidewalk as a satin ribbon of white. Evergreen wreaths dangled from the streetlights as their timid colored lights cast a glow into the night.

“Look over there,” Jenna said, motioning to a church parking lot with people spilling out of the building.

She pulled the truck over, reached around to the backseat, and lifted two boxes. She hopped out and handed one to a man and woman with three small children—all with scarves covering most of their faces. The other box she handed to an elderly couple. Their words of gratitude floated in the night air in a puff of white as Jenna returned to the truck.

“Come on, Mom. We’ve got more deliveries.”

“What are you talking about? It’s Christmas Eve.”

“Exactly.”

I tried not to laugh as my twenty-year-old daughter bent over the steering wheel with fierce determination like she’d done when she’d first learned to ride a bike.

“Over there.” Jenna gave a nod before parking at the community center. A man had just stepped out, silver keys shining in his hand.

She grabbed more boxes, jumped from the cab, and hurried to the man who chuckled at her offer while rubbing the back of his neck. She followed him inside and moments later, returned without the boxes. She hoisted herself into the truck, giggling.

“What in the world are you up to?”

“The community Christmas dinner is tomorrow. He told me donations were low this year, and they need cookies.”

My mouth slipped open. “Really?”

“Uh huh.”

Moments later, Jenna steered onto a dimly lit street. The stretch of houses, lonely without Christmas lights hanging from the porches or inflatable snowmen waving in the yards.

“I need your help, Mom. Take a box and leave it.”

I turned to inspect the backseat. “But we only have a few left. And leave it where?”

“At each house. Until we run out.”

I did just that, feeling a surge of adrenaline each time I bent to leave a box of cookies and hurrying away before anyone spotted me. As I was about to leave my last box on a dark porch, a light came on and the door creaked opened. I stepped back when a woman glared from her screen door. A little girl in pigtails ran to her side, but after spotting me, hid behind the woman’s leg.

“I’m sorry to bother you. I was leaving a box of Christmas cookies. I own the bakery down the street, and, well, I have enough to share.”

The woman reached out to take it, the hard lines of her face softening. “Thank you.”

I smiled, and as I turned for the truck, the woman gasped.

“Is something wrong?”

The little girl ran off to another part of the house, her feet thumping on the floor, while the woman gently held the opened box to her chest.

“It’s been a rough year,” she whispered. “A really rough year. My husband lost his job. Two weeks later, my sister passed away. I prayed God would help. Just give me a word to hold onto to get through everything, you know? Just a word. I wanted to believe He was going to help us, but it’s hard to believe when things seem so dark.” She paused to stare into the box. “But then you brought me this.”

I didn’t understand. They were just sugar cookies – frosted stockings, Christmas bulbs, and snowflakes with assorted sprinkles. That sort of thing. Nothing special.

The woman’s eyes filled as she carefully lifted one of the round bulbs from the box. It was frosted in red with white sugar crystals like a gentle dusting of snow. And written in the center in gold was one word: Believe.

I’d forgotten each Christmas bulb proclaimed that word like the angels announcing Jesus’ birth. Or maybe I’d forgotten the word altogether because I’d also found it hard to believe. It was hard to believe God hadn’t given up on me when everything seemed to be falling apart. I’d lost hope in so many things this year. I hadn’t realized until that moment that I’d even lost hope in Him.

“Are you ready, Mom?” Jenna asked from the sidewalk.

“Thank you,” the woman whispered. “Thank you for bringing me hope.”

The words I wanted to say lodged in my throat, so I simply nodded as my eyes began to fill.

I started for the truck, willing my tears to stop, as I peered down the street. We were able to leave a box of cookies at each house. It didn’t make sense. We didn’t have that many to share.

Later that night, Jenna curled up in the living room to watch a Christmas movie with a bowl of popcorn in her lap while I sat at the kitchen table. Reluctantly, I reached for my laptop to finish the email to my customers—those faithful clients who’d been so supportive but also struggled this year.

But when I opened my email, a message appeared in my inbox from the mayor, thanking us for sharing hope with so many—he was amazed the cookies had reached from one end of town to the other.

But we didn’t go that far.

Suddenly I remembered the One who multiplied a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread to feed thousands. And tonight, He’d multiplied hope and stretched it clear across town at a time when we all needed it. When I needed it. God wasn’t far away. He hadn’t given up on me or any of us. He was still the God of godly miracles and mighty rescues. Even if it meant using one cookie at a time.

I smiled and closed my laptop without finishing the email to my customers, knowing I needed to pray and trust. Even though things seemed dark, I found myself believing God still had a plan for us. And I couldn’t wait to see it light up the world.     

Thank you for reading! If you’d like to read another one of my Christmas stories, you can click on A Touch of Fiction at the top of the page, and you’ll find more of them there.

As I do every year, I’d like to bless someone through this Christmas story, but I’m doing something a little different this year. I’d like to give a shout-out to a local bakery owner, Amanda, at Ginger’s Bakery in Uhrichsville, Ohio. If you are blessed by this story, maybe you can give this wonderful bakery a shout-out of your own by ordering some of their delicious Christmas cookies – everything is made from scratch! To order, call (330) 691-7201. Thank you!

Merry Christmas!

          

Amber’s Drawing

This is another fictional story to touch your life. I hope you enjoy it!

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Amber’s Drawing

Little Amber Melancholy was usually nothing like her name. She was the happiest child I’d ever seen in all my years of teaching elementary school. Not only did her hazel eyes resemble ballerinas twirling in morning sunbeams, but the rest of her sparkled like she was a walking gem reflecting some great light.

But one Monday morning, things were different for Amber. As my first-graders brought their giggles and chatter into the classroom along with the smell of exhaust fumes from the buses and the chill that clung to their coats, Amber brought a heaviness with her. She didn’t smile, keeping those dimples that framed her smile hidden, and she didn’t wave to me from her desk or offer me a hug like most mornings. Instead, she quietly slipped into her chair without a peep. Something was terribly wrong, and I wondered if it had to do with her grandpa. Amber’s mom had told me that the child’s grandpa was terminally ill.

While some of the children compared weekend stories in the back of the classroom as they hung up their coats and tucked away their lunch boxes in their cubbies, I took the opportunity to talk to her, stooping down at her desk.

“Good morning, Amber.”

Her chin sunk low, nearly touching her chest.

“Is everything okay? You seem sad.”

She didn’t budge.

“Is there anything I can do? Would you like to talk?”

She shrugged. “Mommy said they weren’t always like that. That they used to be just like me.”

“Who are you talking about, sweetheart?”

“The people in wheelchairs.”

I knew Amber’s mom was a nurse at the hospital, so I asked, “Are you talking about patients at the hospital?”

She shook her head. “No. The place where my grandpa lives now with all the other people that stay in wheelchairs and beds all the time. He had to move there yesterday.”

I sighed, realizing they’d probably taken him to a place to receive palliative care.

“Oh, sweetheart. I’m so sorry.”

As the other children took their seats, I whispered to her, “Can we talk more about it later?”

Again, she shrugged.

As I returned to my desk in the front of the classroom, I silently prayed that God would show me how I could help this sweet child with such a tender heart. So young to carry such a heaviness. Class hadn’t even started when I felt a nudge to change what I’d planned for their art project.

Okay, Lord. Lead the way.   

Later that day, the children were in the cafeteria while I was alone in the classroom. I took a stack of drawing paper from the cabinet beside my desk. I had originally planned to have the children make lions and lambs from the cardstock patterns to hang beside the large “March” in the hallway but knew that would have to wait. Today it seemed God had something else in mind.

The classroom filled up quickly and it took a moment to quiet everyone down.

“Okay, children. It’s time for an art project.”

Usually when I made this announcement, Amber was on the edge of her seat with her hand in the air, pleading to help pass out materials. But today she chewed on her fingernail as she stared at the floor.

I took the stack of paper and handed each student a piece. “I’m going to ask you to draw something special for me today, so please wait to begin until I’ve given you my directions. And you can use whatever you’d like: pencils, markers, or crayons.”

After everyone had their paper and all eyes were on me, I began.

“I’d like you to pretend you’re someone else, and I’d like you to draw what you would see if you were looking through their eyes. For example,” I said, picking up the lamb pattern and showing it to the class, “if you were a lamb, what would you see?”

“Lots of grass,” one child said.

“And dirt,” another shouted, “with worms!”

I smiled. “Probably. And if you’re looking through the eyes of an ant, would things look really big or really small to you?”

“Really big!” they shouted.

“That’s right. So whose eyes are you going to look through? It can be anyone. An animal. A person. When you decide, draw what they might see.”

This had been an idea I’d gotten for an art project last year when a student asked me if eagles thought we looked like bugs or rocks when they were up in the sky really, really high. I’d loved the idea and knew God had reminded me of it today. Only, I wasn’t exactly sure how it might help Amber.

I returned to my desk, giving the children time before making my rounds to encourage them, and realized some of them seemed a little bored with the idea. Thankfully, Amber was not one of them. She was busy drawing, her hand moving quickly as she switched back and forth between markers and crayons, her tongue sticking out slightly as she focused.

When a few had finished, I weaved my way through the rows of desks to have a look.

“Whose eyes am I looking through?” I asked Maize, noticing her drawing of what appeared to be a room with a purple blanket on the bed and dolls and boxes on the floor.

“Beanie’s eyes,” she said. “He’s the bunny I got when I got my ears pierced, and he waits on my bed when I’m at school.”

“That’s wonderful, Maize! I feel like I’m really looking through Beanie’s eyes while he’s sitting in your room. Good job.”

She beamed, the freckles stretching across the tops of her cheeks.

“What about your drawing, Trevor? Whose eyes am I looking through?” I was guessing a fish or some other water creature because of the blue waves and the other fish in the picture.

“A bird. He’s swooping down for his lunch.”

“Oh, very good! I can see he has a lot of fish to choose from. I wonder which one he’ll pick.”

He considered the idea and started adding more to his picture, perhaps to make one fish look more appetizing than the others.

As I made my way through the class, nodding and offering praises to my budding artists, I had circled back around and was at Amber’s desk. I didn’t see her drawing because she held it to her chest as if it were extremely private.

“Would you like to share your drawing with me?” I asked.

I expected her to shake her head or maybe shrug. I even wondered if I might see a few tears, but she did something that surprised me. She smiled. My sweet, tender-hearted Amber Melancholy smiled, those gorgeous dimples making their long-awaited appearance. I felt myself exhaling slowly without even realizing I’d been holding my breath.

She held out her drawing to me, and I studied it. She’d drawn an open gate in the foreground with a whole crowd of children running to it. They had messy hair, dirty knees, and great big smiles on their faces. Some were holding hands and others were, it appeared, sprinting straight to the gate.

Before I could ask, she said, “This is what it’s like to look through God’s eyes.”

I was shocked and without words.

“The people that are sick and hurt,” she said, pointing to their knees, “are still little kids to Him. They’re not old or hurt or anything. And they’re smiling really big because they see Him.” She paused, looking back at her own drawing. “You can’t see God in the picture because you’re looking through His eyes, but He’s smiling even bigger than they are because they’re home. And they’re not sick anymore.”

“It’s lovely, Amber,” I whispered.

Her hazel eyes danced in their own light. “Can I take it home? I need to show my grandpa so he’ll know God is waiting for him and he doesn’t have to be sad. He’s going to get out of bed and run.” She stopped and pointed to a child that was eagerly running in the drawing. “That’s him right there. He’s the fastest one.”

I knew Amber had a great light shining from within her, and I had no doubt that light was from the One who’d helped her to see through His eyes that her grandpa was going to be just fine.

And I thanked God because I knew Amber was going to be just fine, too.

 

Thank you for reading this short story.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Also, another great big “Thank you!” to one amazing editor, Julie Schultz, for allowing this story to be a part of The Outreacher. God bless you, Julie, for all you do to further His Kingdom!

If you’re interested in reading more short stories, please click here

 

(Photo from pexels.com.)

Flowers in February

This is a fictional story I wrote a number of years ago and recently felt led to rewrite it and share it again. I hope you enjoy it!

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Flowers in February

I met Walter after his wife died in February. It was a week after the funeral, and I arrived right on time with a bucket of supplies to clean the house he swore he’d never cleaned in the forty-eight years they’d lived there.

“Margaret always took care of it,” he explained when he greeted me at the door.

I nodded. I knew Walter needed more than a clean house.

“Can I fix you a cup of coffee or tea before I get started, Mr. Peterson?”

“Please, call me Walter. And coffee would be fine,” he said, moving to the recliner in the living room. “Margaret loves tea, but I’ve always been a coffee drinker.”

In the kitchen, I found everything I needed to make coffee, but I couldn’t find any cream or sugar. And the refrigerator was nearly empty with only a carton of expired milk and a few eggs. Just as I thought.

“I was going to fix some toast to go with your coffee, but I didn’t see any bread.”

“No. Margaret does all of the shopping.” He slipped off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

“I can take care of the shopping for you. If you’d like?”  I set his coffee down beside him, hoping he liked it black. I sat down on the couch with my own cup. “I hope you don’t mind if I join you before I start cleaning.”

“Margaret likes to clean… I mean, she liked to clean in the morning.”

“After her tea?”

“Yes. Tea was always first. She would have a cup and watch the birds empty the birdfeeder.” He took a sip from his cup, returning it to the table. “I was always filling those feeders. I didn’t mind. It was no trouble.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, how did you two meet?”

Walter’s eyes softened. “Her father owned the hardware store, and I was a carpenter. She said it was God’s plan all along.” He rubbed his hands together, the rough calluses sounding like sandpaper on wood. “The first time I saw her she had her hair pinned up, but it was slipping and falling in her face, and she was covered from head to toe in dust from working in the basement. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.”

He stared out the window before continuing. “When I was in Africa during World War II, she would write me letters. She had beautiful handwriting.” He paused. “When I saw my name in her handwriting and felt that crinkly blue stationery in my hands, I felt like the luckiest man in the world.”

“I’m sure she missed you.”

He nodded. “When I got home, I realized she had been working on paintings for me, of everything she wanted to share with me while I was gone.”

“Do you have a favorite painting?”

His brows furrowed. “Actually, there was one. The lake. She painted it in February, a few months before I came home.”

His gaze went to the ceiling as if he could see it there. “The lake at her parents’ house was frozen over, but she painted it as if it were a spring day. The water was bluer than blue and there were wildflowers, all different colors, and all around the lake and covering the field.”

“But she painted it in February?”

“Yes. It had been a very cold winter. But Margaret told me, ‘There is hope in color.’  When I got home, she said she never lost hope that I’d come back to her.”

I knew he was getting tired, so I took both of our empty cups to the sink and rinsed them and started cleaning in the den. I dusted the bookshelves and the framed photographs that hung on the walls. Each had a layer of thick dust coating the glass, perhaps when Margaret had been too sick to clean. There were pictures of a younger Walter with unruly, dark hair poking out from underneath his wool cap. And Margaret was elegant in her wedding gown, her smile lighting up the dark walls. There was no doubt her death was going to be a real struggle for Walter.

The following morning, I arrived right on time with a couple bags of groceries; some essentials and of course, sugar. I knocked on the door and waited.

“You again?” Walter asked. “I didn’t know if the agency would send someone every day. I’m not sure how this works. My son, William, arranged it. He lives in Florida.”

I stepped inside. “Well, you’re stuck with me again.”

As he went to the recliner, I noticed he was wearing the same brown cardigan and blue shirt. I hurried off to the kitchen to put away the groceries and cook breakfast, so I could sit with Walter. We ate scrambled eggs and toast while enjoying fresh coffee with sugar.

“I see you’ve got new neighbors,” I said.

“Neighbors?”

“There’s a moving van parked next door.”

“That’s the Conner’s old place,” he said. “They moved out last spring.”

I set my cup down, noticing a painting of a worn barn nestled in autumn leaves hanging on the wall. “What a beautiful painting. Is that one of Margaret’s?”

He shook his head. “I bought that for her after the fire.”

“Fire?”

“Our old farmhouse burned to the ground. We lost everything. More than I realized at the time.”

“What do you mean?”

“It felt like the devil was reaching for us with his fiery hands, and I just wanted to grab Margaret and William and get out of there. It was awful, just awful. William was only nine, but he was trying to console his mother who kept crying. We stood in the cornfield and watched it all burn up. And the wind took hold before any help came, and we lost the barn too. We lost it all.”  He shook his head. “If only I could have grabbed one of her paintings. Just one. I think it would have saved a piece of her.”

He rubbed his forehead as if he were trying to soothe the painful memory. “I lost a part of my wife that day. All the memories while we were apart, all her passion, all her spirit, had been reduced to ash just like our house. I begged her to try to paint again, told her it was still inside her. But she just couldn’t. I think she felt like she’d lost a child or maybe a part of her soul. She used to tell me the devil was after her, and the day he took her paintings was the day he won.”

I shook my head. “But that’s not true.”

“Well that’s just it,” he said. “I think she believed it, so she let him take that from her. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t think of the right thing to say.” He pressed his hands together. “I’ve never been good at that sort of thing.”

“So she never tried to paint again?”

He didn’t answer but stood. “You know, I’m not feeling very good. I think I’m going to go upstairs and lie down.”

“Okay,” I said, standing.

I watched him shuffle up the stairs before I began working in silence. Hours later while I scrubbed the kitchen floor on my hands and knees, I prayed and talked with God. Depression was sinking into Walter’s bones, and I needed to act quickly.

As I approached Walter’s house the next morning, I noticed a boy watching me from the house where the moving van had been. He was peeking out the window and when he realized I’d spotted him, he ducked down and disappeared.

I stepped onto Walter’s porch, but before I could even knock, he opened the door.

“Good morning,” he said, straightening a black tie.

“You look nice this morning.”

“I’m going to see Margaret. Is it okay that I leave?” he asked.

“Of course. I’ll get to work right away.”

After he left, I went upstairs to clean. There was one room I hadn’t been in yet. When I opened the door, the scent of baby powder greeted me as sunlight streamed through the lacy white curtains. A sewing machine sat abandoned with pieces of fabric stacked beside it and spools of thread lined up like loyal soldiers. But on the other side of the room, well, that was why I was here. I’d found it.

Resting in an easel was Margaret’s final painting. I knew it was true that she hadn’t painted since the fire, but here it was, the one she needed to paint for her own peace. The one she needed to paint for Walter’s peace as well. Perhaps the cancer made her realize how precious life is, and when God has given you a talent, you mustn’t waste it. Or perhaps she realized Satan couldn’t touch her. Maybe her faith had grown in the foreshadowing of her death, and she wanted to make a final portrait of the hope she found in God; a portrait that would be pleasing to her heavenly Father and crucial for her husband.

I had to sit down. The colors were mesmerizing. It was a beautiful and inspiring vision, and I couldn’t wait for Walter to see it.

He was gone most of the morning, and I was deeply concerned as I dusted and swept his bedroom and the guest room. I knew all about depression and what it can do to a person. I’d seen it many times, especially this time of year. It seemed Satan was busiest January through March. Perhaps it was because every December the world remembers and celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and the hope He offers, and Satan wants to try and steal that hope while the earth is cold and dark.

The front door opened, and the frigid air followed Walter inside as I was folding the stack of newspapers by his recliner. It was obvious he’d been crying and was in a great deal of pain.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“I miss my wife.”  He held on to the back of the couch. “I miss her so much. I have this void in my soul.”

I spoke as tenderly as I could. “Let God fill that void.”

“How?” he whispered.

“Come with me.” I led him upstairs to Margaret’s sewing room.

He stopped outside the door. “I can’t go in there.”

“Why?”

His eyes filled. “Because I like to think she’s busy in there making a quilt for someone at church and that’s why I haven’t seen her in a while.” A tear broke free and traced a line down his weathered cheek.

“Please,” I said. “Please.”

I’d made certain not to touch a thing so the scent of baby powder and Margaret’s perfume would still be there. He closed his eyes, and I knew he could smell her. I also knew he was afraid to open his eyes, afraid to see an empty chair in front of the sewing machine. But he did open them and when his eyes found the painting, I watched as his tears fell from a place that must have ached beyond comprehension.

Walter neared Margaret’s last painting, slowly, as if he were afraid to move too quickly or it might disappear. He knelt in front of it, carefully reaching to touch it. So very tenderly, as if he were touching his wife’s hand, he allowed his fingertips to rest on the flowers. There, in front of him, Margaret had created a new image of hope for her husband, one that even surpassed her first painting of the lake. Once again, it was a painting of the lake at her parents’ house, and again, there were flowers surrounding the water’s edge and flowing across the field. But unlike the original painting, the field not only had wildflowers in every shade of yellow and red but a familiar farmhouse. And sitting on the porch was a woman in a rocking chair and at her side, an empty chair. Margaret was showing Walter that she was waiting for him; she was waiting for him in Heaven.

I moved in closer to speak to him.

“Margaret didn’t let Satan steal her hope and neither should you. You have to trust God and let Him fill that void.” I gently touched his shoulder. “And you have to understand that there is always hope, like Margaret found in her paintings. She saw it even in the coldest snows in February, even when she battled cancer. She realized her hope was in God all along.”

He nodded, not taking his eyes from the painting. He sat like that for a long time. Finally, he wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and standing said, “I need to get this to the living room.”

A few hours later, after Margaret’s painting found a permanent place on the living room wall across from his recliner, after Walter and I ate pancakes lathered in butter and syrup while admiring the painting, and after I packed up all my cleaning supplies, the phone rang.

“Hello, William,” Walter spoke into the receiver. “I’ve got something wonderful… What delay?  But I don’t understand.”

Walter looked at me from the kitchen, and I knew it was time to go. I slipped into my coat, picked up my bucket, and started for the door.

“Just a minute,” Walter said as he hung up the phone. His lips pressed together as if he were angry, or perhaps he felt betrayed. “My son said the agency was sending someone over tomorrow to start cleaning, and they’re sorry for the delay in service.”

I took a deep breath before I began. “Walter, the agency didn’t send me.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I wasn’t really sent to clean your house but to minister to you.”

“Minister to me?”

“I was sent to help you find your way back. Back to hope and back to God.”

He thought for a moment. “Well, you’ve certainly done a good job of that.”

I smiled. “And that’s why it’s time for me to go. But you need to understand something, Walter. You are still alive. You need to live your life that way.”

His eyes seemed to search for something in front of him that he couldn’t quite see.

“Your purpose isn’t over. For starters, the little boy who moved in next door is going to need you. His parents just got divorced, and he could sure use a grandpa to show him how to make a really good snowball. And a birdfeeder. And when school starts in the fall, he’s going to need some help with his math homework.”

Walter’s eyes glistened. “I always wanted to be a grandpa.”

I smiled. But when I turned to leave, Walter Peterson did something that surprised and delighted me. He hugged me. And when he did, I felt his soul was beginning to heal. Thank you, Lord.

He let go of me, and I realized his eyes had changed. They were full of light and deeper in color, reflecting hope instead of anguish. And he had Margaret’s painting to remind him of that unending hope if he ever forgot.

 

Thank you for reading this short story.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Also, a great big “Thank you!” to one amazing editor, Julie Schultz, for allowing this story to be a part of The Outreacher. God bless you, Julie, for all you do to further His Kingdom!

If you’re interested in reading more short stories, please click here

(Photo by Pexels.)