Friday, August 07, 2015

Bonus Scene 9 - The Restorer's Son

The Restorer's Son - Bonus Scene

In which Susan grapples with fear.

After Chapter 33


The backdoor creaked as I slipped outside, and I hoped it wouldn’t disturb Mark or Jake. We’d cleaned up the kitchen, had our pizza, and settled down for the night. But despite my exhaustion, I’d lain awake listening to Mark’s soft snores for hours. Finally my restlessness drove me to our backyard.

Overhead the moon slipped in and out of clouds, and I settled on the porch steps to study the sky. The constant gray haze over the clans had felt like a brewing storm that never dissipated. And the total black emptiness of their nights was frightening. I was relieved beyond words to be back in my world of moonlight shadows against the trees and a midnight sky rich with stars.

I sighed. Even though I could glimpse eternity and see God’s presence in the stars, His purposes still felt as cloudy as the hazy atmosphere over the clans.

Jake’s hand had healed. Instantly. Completely. What did that mean? Was he the next Restorer?

I sat up and hugged my knees, my breathing turning ragged.

Not my son. Anything but that, Lord. I’ll do extra shifts at the soup kitchen. Be nicer to the annoying chairman of the PTA. Memorize the whole New Testament. There are a million ways I can show my love for you. 

But don’t ask me to watch my son face danger. I’ve done that before, remember?

Over the swish of a distant car and summer crickets in the tall grass, the sounds of the pediatric cancer wing echoed in my mind: chirping monitors, murmuring voices, the silent tears of parents that held more volume than a scream. Jake had recovered, but I’d never forget the terror of those months and the fear that squeezed the breath from my lungs.

The same breathless dread hit me in Lyric when Jake had been under Rhusican thrall, a cold and contemptuous stranger. Each time he stared past me, each time a sneer colored his clipped words, each time he turned away, my heart contracted more tightly until I feared it would be crushed into dust.

But we’d made it home. The Jake we knew and loved had returned. I wanted to savor answered prayer, rescue, and normalcy. I wanted barbeques and picnics, family hikes at the nature center.

What if Jake went back to Lyric? What if he left forever? I pressed my forehead against my knees, the ache curling my spine until I thought I’d implode. I didn’t want to confront what the future might hold for Jake. 

Because it wasn’t just Jake. Each of my children would one day set out to fulfill their own purposes—find their own way to serve God. I’d known that before they were born. Yet I hadn’t let that knowledge intrude. Not while I held their soft powder-scented infant bodies. Not while I pushed them on the swings and elicited joyous shrieks. Not while I held my breath in the back row wondering if they’d remember their lines in the school play. 

When they lifted chocolate smeared faces for sticky kisses, when they lisped Sunday school songs, when they entrusted me with wounds from friends, or whispered their fears, or disappointments . . . somehow I convinced myself that I would always be their best ally, that even as adults they’d turn to me. My vision of the future was fuzzy, but for some inexplicable reason, when I pictured that vague era of grown children, I liked to assume they’d all find homes just down the block.

“Honey?” Mark called softly through the screen door. 

“Out here.”

He came outside and settled beside me. “What are you doing?”

I didn’t realize the night air held a cold edge until his presence warmed me. “Mark, what if Jake has to go back through the portal? What if we’re separated from him forever? And even if that never happens, what if the kids all grow up and grow away and we never see them? What if—”

“Whoa. Your imagination is off and running, isn’t it?” He wrapped an arm around me.

My body softened against him slightly, but then I pulled up. “How can you be so calm? We have to figure out what it means.”

“Why? It won’t change what we need to do for our family.”

He already had a plan? “All right. Lay it on me. What should we do?”

He turned and held my shoulders, thumbs rubbing gentle circles against my tight muscles. “The same as always. We love them. Protect them the best we can. Pray for them.”

“But . . . ” It wasn’t enough. Surely he could see that. I needed answers, strategies, promises of how the story of each child would turn out. Then again, I had longed for those sorts of assurances as we floundered our way through Lyric and Braide Wood and Hazor and back again. In the midst of uncertainties, the One had guided our steps, provided unexpected allies, strengthened us when our hearts ached with fear. I sagged and let my head drop forward to rest against Mark’s chest. Love, protect, pray. He was right.

“And trust,” I whispered. “Trust that God’s love is big enough for the next part of the story.”

“That’s my girl.” His words were a deep approving rumble, and beyond them I heard an echo of an even deeper and stronger voice. Mark helped me to my feet.

I opened the door. “Let’s get to bed. We need our rest. We have a lot of loving and praying to do tomorrow.”


You can read more of the story in The Restorer's Son.

Sharon Hinck


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