The following morning, Rachel settled into her normal pew and bowed her head to pray before the service began.
When she felt someone settle onto the seat next to her, she thought nothing of it. She finished praying and lifted her head to glance at the newcomer, then had to forcibly shut her mouth at the sight of Jake’s smiling face.
Rachel murmured a quiet greeting, trying not to be flustered by his sudden appearance. She glanced down at his hands, having all thought flee her brain, and focused on the black leather Bible that he held lightly.
The fact that he had brought one with him reassured her. The fact that it was worn and obviously well-used made her heart smile.
“Did you get a bulletin?”
One thumb flipped the Bible cover to reveal the paper booklet that was handed out at the door of the sanctuary.
Rachel nodded and turned her attention to the front, trying to concentrate on the hymn the organist was playing.
“In the Garden” was one of her favorites, and she closed her eyes; allowing the image of walking in a rose garden with her Lord and Savior to fill her heart.
As they sang the beloved hymns in the old hymnal, Rachel was pleased to hear Jakes deep voice blend seamlessly with the rest of the congregation.
Mid-way through the service was a time for greeting those sitting near you. Rachel found herself introducing Jake to everyone nearby, having to ignore the looks of speculation that were being directed her way.
She settled into her seat again, and lifted her Bible and note-taking material out of her bag.
As she sat, trying to balance Bible and notebook on her knees, she was conscious of Jake’s absolute absorption in the sermon. She caught the slight nod of his head once or twice as if he was in agreement with something the minister said.
As the final note of the final hymn died away, Rachel slid the hymnal back into the slot on the back of the pew in front of her and then slid her Bible, notebook and pen into her large bag.
Knowing it would be rude not to, she held her hand out to Jake.
“It was really nice that you came today. Will you be back, do you think?”
Jake nodded. “Yes. Definitely.”
Rachel smiled and nodded.
“Good. I’ll see you next week then.”
She turned and eased past some others that had stopped to talk and headed toward the door. Now that her concentration was not taken up with the worship service, she could feel just how rattled his unexpected appearance had made her.
She was nearing the door when a hand touched her elbow. She turned and found Kate smiling at her. Before she knew what was happening, the other woman reached out and hugged her.
“For talking to me last night. I couldn’t sleep, what you said just kept going over and over in my mind all night.” She grinned at Rachel through tears. “I prayed, Rachel. For the first time in my life I prayed; and I asked Jesus to save me.”
Rachel’s eyes burned with tears as she reached out to envelop Kate in a tight hold.
“Oh, Kate. I am so glad.”
She thought of her irritation with Kate the previous evening; and felt shame fill her at all of the possible outcomes to that situation. She looked at the other woman and went with impulse.
“Are you doing anything this afternoon?” Kate shook her head. “Good. Let’s go get lunch somewhere and talk.”
Kate smiled and followed Rachel out into the cold February day.
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2011