|Publisher:||Bethany House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.82(w) x 8.42(h) x 0.86(d)|
Read an Excerpt
"Mom, I'll go look for him," Jonathan told Lurlene. They were in the kitchen of Lurlene's house where Mr. Scott's sign was still propped against the wall. "Except the Lord Build the House, They Labor in Vain That Build It."
"But this was your night to celebrate," Lurlene said. "You were going out with your friends."
"We were just going to have dinner and hear some music. The guys will understand. I'll call them. It's not like we don't have tomorrow night and Saturday to celebrate."
"But, Jonathan," Lurlene said. She was feeling the protective powers of the forgiveness prayer draining from her fast. She could accept that her husband might ruin the wedding for her, but she could not abide having her son's happy day marred. In her mind, it was as though he had misbehaved to command the limelight, as though he were jealous of his son. Forgive me, as I forgive him, she prayed inwardly.
"I was partly responsible," Jonathan said.
"How so? What did you do?"
"He got in trouble at the shelter because of me. Or partly because of me. He borrowed the church van a couple days ago to see me. To bring the sign he made to me. Our wedding present."
"What does the church van have to do with it?"
"He wasn't supposed to drive the van without asking. I guess he wasn't supposed to use it for personal errands."
"Did they kick him out?"
"No, not as far as I can make out. The minister just reprimanded him. Reminded him of his responsibilities. I guess he freaked. After that he left the church. He hasn'tcome back."
Lurlene was sitting at the kitchen table wringing her hands. Running around town looking for her husband, worrying herself to death, or more likely wondering where he was as she waited at home brought back too many painful memories. Years ago when her husband had finally left, she had said farewell to that misery. She hated to see her son starting up on the same course. "He's not your responsibility," she told Jonathan. "He's a grown man. You can't change him. You shouldn't even try. You have your life ahead of you."
"I'm not going to try to change him. I just want to find him. If he's tanked, he'll need to dry out before the wedding, and I want to give him plenty of time to do that."
"Do you really think he's worth it?" Lurlene asked.
"As my father, yes. Absolutely. Mom, don't worry. You were the most important person in my growing up years. I can never thank you enough for all you've done for me. Janice is the most important person to me now. But Dad has made an effort to be part of my life too. I can't ignore that. I want him to be at the wedding. I still want him to be my best man."
"Where will you go to find him?"
Jonathan looked blank. "I don't know," he said, shaking his head. "Any suggestions?"
It was all Lurlene could do to refrain from saying, The nearest dive. Or look for some drunk passed out on a bench. "He was walking, they said, so he couldn't have gone too far."
"I thought I'd check around Holy Promise. There's a row of bars around there."
"What a way to spend one of your last nights as a bachelor," Lurlene said.
Jonathan smiled his lopsided grin. "That's just how lots of guys like to celebrate. Hanging out in bars."
"Don't worry, Mom."
Jonathan ran off to call his buddies, the ones he'd planned to meet. Of course, neither of them would consider leaving him alone two nights before his wedding. Both fellows came to pick him up, and then the three of them drove to destinations unknown, searching for a man Jonathan had only recently learned to call his father.
Lurlene was left at home, standing at the window and watching them go. Most of Jonathan's life, Lurlene had tried to undo any harm that might have come to him from growing up without a father. She had enrolled him in Cub Scouts and Indian Guides. She signed him up for Little League. She refrained from speaking bitterly or vindictively about her husband. She made a valiant effort to be neither too strict nor too lenient. She did her very best. And now she found herself furious that this man who had little real claim to fatherhood was momentarily the main concern of her son's life.
Hidden Gifts by Rick Hamlin
Copyright © 2001, Rick Hamlin
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.