morning post, November 3, 2016

Here is a first draft of a chapter in my new historical romance.  This scene is a conversation between the newly-widowed woman who is contemplating buying this old estate and her pastor.  This scene is in the present – the 21st century.  The back-story of how the house was built is set around the time of WWI.

“It’s a big decision, Sherry.  And I think you’re right to give it serious thought.  To pray about it.  I’ve been at this job for thirty years now and I’ll tell you, I would have reacted differently to this if you had asked me for counsel back when I was just starting.”

“How different?”

“I would not have told you what to do then and I won’t do that now, either.  That hasn’t changed.  But I guess I have changed my perspective on money.  Particularly in these last five years or so.”

“Okay.  I need to hear this.”

“I don’t know if I’d put this first on a job resume or in a sermon, even, but I have come to see money as more important, not less.”

“I’m a bit surprised.”

“I’m not surprised that you’re surprised.  It’s a subtle thing.  Tricky for guys like me.  I will bend over backwards to stay away from what the guys on television are preaching.  All that wish-fulfillment stuff.  You know what I mean?”

“Yes.  Of course.”

“But there is danger on the other side, too.  The other extreme.  You can’t ignore money.  You can’t just act like it doesn’t matter.”

“Some have.”

“Oh, yes.  The woods are full of them.  What is it?  They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute and afflicted.  What I am saying, I guess, is that self-imposed poverty may have spiritual benefits, but it has very real effects, some of them quite acute, in the here and now.  Effects not only on the person making the decision, but on everyone around them.”

“I am not about to take a vow of poverty.”

“No.  But the decision you’re contemplating will restrict your finances for the rest of your life.  You’ll limit your choices, your independence.  I’m sure you’ve considered this already, but think of why John bought those insurance policies.  Did he want you to be comfortable?  Independent?  Unafraid?  Secure?”

“No doubt he did.”

“What would he think of you sinking everything into that old house?”

“Pastor, here is the main thing: He’s not here.  I am making this decision without him.  I didn’t want it that way, but that’s what I have. If you look at it from the point of view of faith, with the idea that God orders the events of our lives for his purposes and our good, then it seems to me that you have to say that I have been called or given the burden or opportunity of making this decision myself.  It seems wrong to me to make this decision just the way John would have or how I would have if he were here.  That’s not my situation now.  Not my life.  I don’t forget him, but life goes on.”

“Okay, Sherry.  Let’s try something else.  What’s your motive here?  Why are you set on this”
“In some measure, finally, it’s even a mystery to me.  I don’t really know why that old place has such a hold on me.  Why it intrigues me so.  I know that I love the beauty of it – the beauty that it could have and did have in its day.  I love its proportions and its grandeur.  The balcony, the turret, the leaded windows.  It seems to me that this house is kind of the real thing and that everything around it is just a copy or an imitation of it.”

Copyright 2016

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