by Richard Mansel, managing editor
Lee looked around at the wreckage around him. His head ached and his vision blurred as he scanned the scene.
All he remembered was hitting the deer and swerving out of control. He appeared to be at the bottom of an embankment, his car destroyed.
His left leg appeared to be broken and his right hopelessly trapped under the steering wheel. Through his haze, he realized his phone was nowhere in sight and he began to panic.
Morning became afternoon as his pain persevered. Part of him wondered if help would arrive in time. Who would hurt the most if he died?
Scanning the people in his life, labels appeared like weights and measures. Two ex-wives would miss his checks. His boss would lament his incessant overtime. Then there were his bookies and drug suppliers, whose income would suffer.
Cruel thoughts appeared in his mind. “What about the rest? The little strangers?”
“No!” These questions pierced his heart like daggers.
“Why not, Lee? Scared of what you will find?”
“I took care of them! They are in the best schools!” Lee was screaming.
“That’s not enough, is it?”
“They have a big house!”
“They don’t have you, though, do they?”
Lee cried for his own wasted youth and that of his children. His own father was rarely ever home. He was always traveling or on the phone, securing wealth, so his family could be secure. Young Lee had missed him terribly and pushed himself to make his father proud.
Lee’s obsession with money decimated three marriages, leaving three children in the wreckage. They were strangers to him, simply names and birthdays. He was more familiar with their address labels on Amazon than their faces.
He remembered his Grandmother’s creaky voice. “Maybe someone is trying to get your attention, Lee. You know who has the most power to do that, don’t you?”
Yes, he knew. Cobwebbed memories of his youth came to mind. Hymns, leather books, dinner on the grounds, speeches and platitudes, were all he remembered. Maybe he could return, if he would be welcome. He had nowhere else to go.
Suddenly, an old couple, scouring the embankment for aluminum cans, spotted him and called for help on their cell phone. They managed to get one back window open and spoke to him about how blessed he was to be alive. They prayed aloud and the comfort of their words enveloped him.
After his rescue, James and Cynthia were frequent visitors during his hospitalization and recovery. They shed their own tears when Lee accepted a study and had his sins remitted in baptism. They had rescued him twice, now.
Lee depended on them and began to see them as his second parents. One evening, at James and Cynthia’s house, he excused himself after dinner and headed down the hall. An open doorway caught his attention and he walked in to admire the patchwork quilt on the bed.
Cynthia had told him all about the quilt. How she had taken discarded pieces and fashioned them into a thing of beauty. That had gnawed at him ever since. Finally, the pieces assembled into a sobering thought: God could help him assemble the discarded people in his life into a thing with some semblance of beauty. He fell into a chair and begged God for guidance as Cynthia laid a hand on his back.
“I wondered when you would make the connection.”
He had and with the Lord’s help, he would rebuild and recover, if it was not too late. He opened his cell phone, and with trembling fingers, began the process of healing.
by Richard Mansel, managing editor