Her Sanctuary, His Heart
Braelyn straightened the rainbow-colored comforter over the edge of the bed and ambled out of her room to the kitchen. A faint buzzing came from her front yard. A quick glance out the window revealed Mr. Dustin cutting the lawn in her backyard. Ever since she had moved to Forest Hill five years ago, he’d insisted on performing the task every spring and summer. She chuckled as she remembered the conversation they’d had the first time Mr. Dustin came over to mow the lawn.
“Mr. Dustin, you don’t have to do that!”
“Now, Braelyn, I know you’re alone, and I know that your work at the school keeps you busy. I am happy to do this for you. Keeps me fit, and the Mrs. says it keeps me out of mischief.” Mr. Dustin gave her a sly grin.
Braelyn smiled. “You have to accept some kind of payment.”
Mr. Dustin rubbed his face with his hanky and his grin widened. “How about cookies? That’s fair payment I say.”
Braelyn laughed and waved to Mr. Dustin then busied herself with her breakfast—toast and bowl of strawberries followed by a steaming cup of coffee. It probably didn’t sound like much, but it was progress. Even after five years, her appetite wasn’t what it once was. Grief was a strange animal that came at the most random of times. In the whisper of the wind, the laughter of a child, a walk through the store, and the words of a song. Sometimes it stung so deep, she thought she might break.
Carrying her breakfast and her coffee, she walked out onto the back patio to her favorite chair that she’d found at a yard sale last summer. The chair was shaped like a throne with sides that tucked under her arms. The swirls of red, blue, greens, and yellows gave her a feeling of happiness and comfort—two things she needed desperately that day. A warm breeze blew over the lake, ruffling her hair and bringing with it the briny smell of water. She breathed in the peace of the morning and ate. After breakfast she picked up her Bible and opened it to the verses they’d studied at church this past Sunday.
“The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.” (Psalm 118:24)
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)
Maybe God had something new for her this season. The feeling of expectation and excitement surrounded her. The past was past, and she was ready to move on with her life. She pulled out her prayer journal and jotted down her thoughts.
Dear Lord, please help me to embrace this new thing you have for me. Help me to be brave, trust in You, and leave the past behind.
After shutting her journal, she went back inside and took a quick shower to finish preparing for her weekly trip to town. Forest Hill was situated in a valley in the Rocky Mountain Range, boasting a population of six thousand. The close-knit community was one of the things that drew Braelyn to the town when her marriage had imploded five years ago.
Braelyn wound down the windows of the car, letting the warm air in, and she waved to her neighbors as she drove past the Smith and Johnson farms. It was nice to feel part of something again.
She parallel parked at the curb beside the grocery store and sighed softly, her mind still full of memories. She climbed out of the car and looked up to see Vera and her nephew Billy standing in front of the store.