Whether it's a conversation with a friend, a word that is penned, or a craft that is made, everything we do leaves a stitch in the fabric of time. Join us as we investigate the stitches of the past and present...
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: ... a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7).
This blog is based on a
devotional I wrote in 2001 in honor of adoptive fathers. When I sat down to
re-write it, a strange thing happened. It turned into a short story.
Ben Lucas turned the shower on
full. Just enough time to shower and shave before his date. He got his sweaty
tee over his head when the doorbell rang.
Muttering, he tugged the shirt
down and jerked the shower lever off, then rushed down the hall. Whoever it was
had better be quick.
Kelly stood on the stoop, her
small son, Jamie, beside her.
Ben pulled her across the
threshold and into his arms. He breathed in the familiar fragrance of her
trendy, department store cologne. He’d just finished mowing the grass. What
must he smell like? Apparently she didn’t care. They kissed long and deeply.
They pulled apart, laughing.
“Better get used to it, Buddy, your mom and I are getting married next
Hands on her shoulders, Ben held
her at arm’s length and gazed into her beautiful, soft brown eyes. By this time
next week she’d be his wife. But what was she doing here now? “I was just
getting ready to come pick you up.”
She flipped long, sun-kissed
brown hair from her shoulder and gave him one of her please-go-along-with-me
smiles. “We have to break the date. Some things I have to do…about the house. It’ll
be late before I get through. Would you keep Jamie tonight? He…gets underfoot.”
She averted her glance, but he’d
caught a look of something that didn’t belong in her eyes. Uncertainty? Fear? When
her gaze returned to his, the look was gone.
“Sure, he can stay.” Ben ruffled
the eight-year-old’s tawny hair. “We’ll bach it tonight. There’s a game on the
TV. Go see if you can find it, Buddy, and I’ll hustle us up some grub.”
Before Jamie darted off, Kelly
grabbed him, hugging him tight enough to make the boy squirm.
She released Jamie and lifted her
glance to Ben. That look was back in her doe-colored eyes and a film of tears.
He took her hand and pulled her closer. “Is something wrong?”
Kelly laughed and pressed her
other hand on top of his. She leaned in and nuzzled the side of his neck with a
kiss, making him forget everything. Her arms found their way around his middle,
and his mouth found hers.
She broke his hold. “Only God
knows how much I love you.”
“Me too…I mean, I love you too.”
He ought to think of something better than that, but she had a way of muddling
“I have to go. There’s a lot to
“Can I help?”
“All I ask is that you keep my
son.” She took the two steps to the door.
He came up behind and reached
around her to open the door. “We’ll pick you up for church in the morning.”
“I’ll be ready.” She brushed his
lips once more and ran down the steps.
“Better eat up.” Ben nudged the
Del Monte fruit cup closer to Jamie’s plate.
The boy nibbled on a wiener. “We
have hotdogs sometimes with buns and slaw.”
Ben grinned. “Sorry, I didn’t
have buns, and slaw is beyond me.” He had fried some potatoes, the only other
thing left in the pantry. Maybe he should have ordered pizza.
Jamie’s small fingers worked to
get the plastic lid off the fruit cup. “Mom said everything was fixed so you
could ‘dopt me after you get married.”
Ben took the fruit cup. They
ought to make the lids easier for a child to open. He took his time to pry the
top off, stalling for time to choose his words carefully.
Jamie was an abused child. Kelly
had married his father straight out of high school because she had to. Jamie
was three months old when Craig Moon started shaking and striking the baby.
When Kelly intervened, he turned his rage on her. When Jamie was six, Kelly
mustered the nerve to leave Craig. They were divorced, but she couldn’t get rid
Incredibly, though he’d been
arrested twice for child abuse, he was given visitation rights.
When Ben started dating Kelly, he
knew if the relationship grew, it would include Jamie. The boy drank up his
attention like a parched flower. With a great deal of patience, he’d drawn
Jamie out of his shell. He’d taken the boy camping, fishing, taught him to play
ball. Did all the guy things Kelly couldn’t.
Ben finished ripping the plastic
lid off. “Your dad signed the papers giving up his parental rights, so the
adoption should be finalized soon.”
“And I won’t have to go with him
There was so much fear remaining
in Jamie’s voice, Ben scraped the chair back and moved around the table. He
lifted the boy in his arms. “That’s right. I’ll be your dad from now on.”
Jamie’s arms tightened around
Ben’s neck and he felt tears on his cheek—his and Jamie’s.
They overslept. Ben shouldn’t
have let Jamie stay up playing computer games. Cereal would have to do for
breakfast. The doorbell caught him before he reached the kitchen.
Kelly must have decided to join
them here. Eagerness quickened his steps to the door.
A policeman stood on the stoop.
That was enough to give anyone a jolt, and Ben held his breath, not able to
took off his hat. “Are you Ben Lucas?”
neighbor said you’re engaged to Mrs. Moon.”
found his voice. “That’s right. Won’t you come in?”
“No.” The officer looked down at
his hat. “I hate this job.” He raised his gaze. “I regret to tell you your
fiancé was killed last night.”
Ben swallowed. The words hung in
the air, not penetrating to his brain. “An accident?”
“No accident. Her ex murdered
“But you have him?”
“He’s dead. It was a
murder/suicide. I’m sorry, Mr. Lucas. We can’t locate any other relatives.”
“I…I’ll take care of…everything.”
Ben closed the door and stumbled
to the bedroom. Why did you let this
But God didn’t do this—an evil
His gaze swept the room that was
to be theirs and landed on a black metal wastebasket. When he’d asked Kelly how
she wanted to change the bedroom before she moved in, she said the wastebasket
had to go. He focused all his rage on that basket.
After kicking it across the room,
he stomped it again and again until it was a flattened mess of metal and paper.
In less time than it had taken him to destroy the wastebasket, evil had snuffed
out a beautiful and loving woman, taken his future, his heart—
The door slammed open jerking him
around. Jamie stared at him with frightened doe-like eyes—her eyes.
Ben’s knees buckled and he fell
to the floor. A power greater than himself stretched his arms out to the little
Jamie slammed into him, and they
clung to each other.
The next week passed in a fog.
Ben might as well have been a robot, doing all the things that had to be done
mechanically. Monday morning he stood at the window, staring at a vibrant
summer day and seeing nothing. He should have been on his honeymoon.
Grief came by degrees. Denial.
Anger. Acceptance. The numbness in the pit of his soul must be acceptance, but
he’d be working on it a long time.
His cell phone rang. He slipped
it out of his pocket and swiped it. His lawyer and friend, David Sims, sounded
on the other end. “How’re you holding out, Ben?”
“I finished my investigation.
Kelly had no living relatives. Craig nothing but distant cousins.” Silence hung
between them for several seconds. “If you’ve changed your mind, I can take the
boy to Children Services…or—”
“No. Dave, can I call you later
after I sort this out?”
“Sure, Ben. I’m here for you,
Ben felt a tug on his pants leg.
He wasn’t surprised to find Jamie beseeching him with those large, brown,
soulful eyes. The child hadn’t been more than a few steps away from him during
the whole ordeal. He’d crawled into Ben’s bed at night.
“What’s going to happen to me?
Wh…where am I going?” Jamie’s lips trembled on the words.
Ben picked him up and took him to
the sofa. He set Jamie on his lap. “You’re not going anywhere. That was my
lawyer on the phone. The adoption may take a little longer because I’ll have to
file as a single father, but we’ll work out the details.”
The muscles in Jamie’s throat
quivered as he gulped. “So you’re keeping me?”
She had known. All I ask is that you keep my son. She
had known there’d be a confrontation and had brought Jamie to him to keep him
safe, possibly to save Ben too.
“Sure I’m keeping you. I’m your
Ben had already worked out the
anger—at Craig, at God, at himself for not protecting her. Nothing was left but
hope that good would always triumph evil.
Somehow God had given him peace—and
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