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Rebecca stepped outside in her bare feet.

The night’s rain had left the grass more than damp. Very little of the moisture had dried and each blade of grass was silver with it. Silver and sunlight. For as the day shrugged off the clouds, as a woman might shrug off an uncomfortable shawl or cloak, the light painted everything. All the colors in the yard were vivid. She thought of shrugging off an itchy shawl and smiled. Too much rainfall and it was the same feeling. Enough of the gray. Get rid of it and get on with the morning.

April, after all, was a favorite month. Completely different from another of her favorite months still on its way – October. Or January with its ices, with its whites, its blues and golds – the sharp month that shaved all excess away. Or the simmering greens and purple thunderclouds of July and August. Such variety in God’s world. Was it surprising that a person’s life itself should have so many different seasons?

She bent, ran her hand over the grass, over God’s green earth, as papa called it, then straightened and ran the wet hand over her face.

Come, Lord, she prayed, bring my next season.

I’m ready.

Or, at least, I think I am.

Who can ever be ready for what they do not know?

“Becca Hostetler.”

She turned and smiled at her older sister, Rachel. “Ja?”

“Your hair is just like rich, ripened wheat today.” Rachel smiled back. “The bishop will be here soon. At the top of the hour.”

“I know.”

“Are you going to put on shoes?”

“Five minutes before he drives in.”

Rachel laughed. “You really have become a noodle.”

“Why not? Isn’t that better than being a grim, unhappy person smothered in gray cloud cover?”

Rachel’s face became set and serious, all its lines and dimples straight and flat and unmoving. “Ja. A great deal better. We’ve all been worried. Our prayers have been unceasing.”

Rebecca stopped smiling too. “I don’t wish to upset anyone. No, it hasn’t been easy. I am grateful for your prayers and your love. Somewhere our Lord has opened the sky for me. I just can’t see it yet. But I will.”

“I’m sure of it.”

“Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean Bishop Miller and his wife have all the answers.”

Rachel, tall and dark and full of sharp angles, which did not detract from her simple beauty and glittering dark water eyes, shrugged. “Answers? Who knows all the answers? We just knock and seek.”

Rebecca looked down at her toes. “That was Malachi’s favorite game as a boy. Everyone else wanted hide and seek. He wanted knock and seek.”

Rebecca smiled. The smile was too soft and the corners of her mouth did not come up quite high enough. She was thinking of him in his pine coffin. Only twenty-five. His hair brushed and bright as copper. Handsome in his one good suit. Death could not rob him of his beauty. It was not normally done, but she had leaned over and kissed him, her heart torn up and scattered to the winds. Two years ago. It might have been the night before.

“Becca. I’m so sorry.” Rachel’s voice was quiet.

“I was thinking of my husband,” Rebecca replied, not looking up. “I think of him all the time.”

“I know.”

“How can I move on when I cannot stop from thinking and remembering, always thinking and remembering?”

“It’s not something you can solve on your own, Becca.”

------------------------------------ to be continued



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