To catch up please use the links below
The Christmas Scarf – part 1
The Christmas Scarf – part 2
The Christmas Scarf – part 3
The Christmas Scarf – part 4
She barely recognized herself in the mirror. Her eyes had dark circles under them. Her face was puffy and her hair was disheveled. She’d call out sick for the last few days at work. She didn’t have the flu or a cold or even a cough. She was exhausted. She couldn’t get to sleep at night and she couldn’t rest during the day because she couldn’t shake Grace’s question to her. She had said “I had to make peace with it and with God. You understand, right?” She heard Grace ask it over and over and over in her mind.
Molly didn’t understand and she didn’t know how she could ever understand. She couldn’t understand. Seeing her marriage dissolve was regrettable but she could understand that. Her parents passing away was painful but people get old and die. She could understand that. But losing Rebecca…….. How could she ever make peace with losing her and with the God who took her? Yet Grace had somehow come to grips with a similar loss. How did she do it? Molly had to find out.
It had been three weeks since Molly and Grace had promised to meet on Christmas Day. She had accomplished almost nothing on Rebecca’s special project. It was Sunday morning and she decided she needed to see, no, speak to, Grace, face to face. She needed peace…now. Throwing on a hat to cover her unkempt head and cheap scarf to keep her face semi-covered, she made her way to her car and started off for Hobby Lobby to see her new friend Grace.
Driving the now familiar route, she wasn’t surprised to see Grace dressed in a stylish silver overcoat waiting at the same bus stop she’d seen her at just a few weeks earlier. Pulling over she once again offered Grace a ride and once again Grace took her up on the offer. As soon as her door was shut and before Molly could say “Can we talk, I’m about to go crazy,” Grace asked “You got time for a quick stop to pick up the girl I mentor. I’m taking her to church this morning.” “Sure” a surprised Molly replied, “but I thought you were on your way to work.” “No dear, they are closed on Sundays” Grace responded.
“Do you think you and I could speak after church today?” Molly heard herself sheepishly ask as they pulled in to the projects to pick up Grace’s mentee. It was as if Grace didn’t even hear her for she had rolled the window down and yelled for Samantha, her mentee, to join them in the car. With her quickly loaded, off they went to a church Molly didn’t know with a young girl Molly didn’t know with a 75ish woman Molly barely knew. This was getting to be quite a ride.
Not far from the projects was Grace’s church only it didn’t look like any church Molly had ever been in. It was a brick storefront on a row of stores on a garbage strewn street in the heart of the toughest neighborhood in the city. When she parked and locked her car Molly worried if it may be the last time she ever saw it. The church was not large numerically or spatially. The chairs were in narrow rows facing a pulpit on a slightly elevated stage. The service wasn’t bad just long and loud. Sitting next to Grace and Samantha, Molly considered herself a little out of place to say the least. She was Caucasian, didn’t know any of the words to the songs and looked like someone with a drinking problem. But, she got through it and by the end was singing the last song “Joy to the World” as if she meant it. Somehow she felt just a little bit better.
Having dropped off Samantha, Molly found herself across a table from her new friend Grace. Their burgers came quicker than Molly expected and Grace reached over and held her hand and uttered a simple prayer, “Lord, thank you for this food and for our fellowship. May I be a blessing to Molly because she has sure been a blessing to me, In Your name I pray, Amen.” When she looked up Molly thought she’d been to church again. It seemed God was right there in the Burger Joint. Staring right at her Grace said “So, what’s on your mind?”
For the next two hours Molly told her story. Through her tears she repeatedly asked Grace a simple question, “How do I make peace with it and with God?” As the conversation came to a close, Grace gave her a simple answer “I have come to believe that when I don’t understand His hand I know I can trust His heart. My Lord is my friend. Though He slay me I will trust Him, that’s in the book of Job in the Bible. I was angry at the Lord for a long time. I told Him so. I ran away from Him, but I couldn’t stay away. He’s everything to me. I love Him and can’t live without Him. I asked Him for a new mission other than my granddaughter Jenny. That’s when I found my church and the mentoring program and my Samantha. It still hurts. It always will but I’m now at peace with God and His plan for me. Do you understand?” Molly nodded her head in half agreement. She was beginning to understand.
At home again Molly reached for her project. She started it again, knit one, pearl two, knit one pearl two. Before long it was time for bed and Molly kneeled beside her bed and spoke honestly with God for the very first time in her life. She poured her heart out to Him. It felt good. Exhausted, but unburdened, she climbed into bed and quickly drifted off to sleep as a fresh blanket of white snow fell outside.