Kate painstakingly flipped the usage-worn pages of BRIDE Magazine as she sat next to her mother on the front porch of her childhood home.
“Oh, Kate, that’s getting closer to the look you want,” said Kate’s mother, Florence, as she watched Kate’s finger tap on the wedding dress pictured. A smile crept onto Kate’s face.
“I think you’re right, mom,” Kate said as she earmarked the “find.”
Kate Williams was going to be the bride of Willie Cooke whom she met at the Bible College they had both attended. Willie had been eagerly awaiting a church to call him as their pastor for the past year, but nothing had surfaced. In the meantime, their wedding would be a reality in less than seven months.
“Let’s take a break. I’ll make some lemonade and then we can continue,” said Florence as she stood up from her seat in the porch swing. She looked crisp in her freshly-ironed apron that hugged her rotund waist. Kate didn’t respond because she knew her mother well enough to know one wasn’t necessary.
As the front door closed with a swishing sound, Kate’s cell phone rang. It was Willie.
Inside Florence busied herself with the task of making lemonade. As she stood cutting up the lemons for the drinking glasses, she heard the front door slam.
“M-O-T-H-E-R!” cried Kate. Were those tears her mother heard?
Kate reached the door of the kitchen and nearly collapsed before making it to one of the brightly colored kitchen chairs. She sunk her body into it and clutched the edge of the kitchen table.
“What’s the matter, Kate?” Florence asked.
Kate could not speak through her sobs. Her mother poured her a glass of lemonade and set it down in front of her. “Here, drink this, Kate and then please tell me what has you so upset.”
Her hands shaking uncontrollably, Kate lifted the glass to her lips.
Florence was beside herself, watching her only daughter in such obvious emotional pain. But she knew Kate would speak when she could. She sat down in the chair just opposite Kate and waited for something other than sobs to come from her daughter.
Kate finally broke the silence. Memories cascaded through her mind in an attempt to relive the past with Willie.
“Mother,” began Kate, almost in slow motion. “Just after you came in the house to make lemonade, Willie called. He’s broken…”thoughts of the decorations she was preparing for the church, the photographer, the cake-tasting appointment she and Willie would…her mind wouldn’t let her go any further!
“He’s broken what, Kate?” Florence could no longer sit patiently waiting to find out why her daughter was so distraught.
“Willie has broken our engagement!” Kate blurted out. Unrecognizable wails manifested themselves within the depth of Kate’s soul as the sobbing began again.
Florence sat motionless; helpless to comfort her daughter. It seemed forever before Kate could speak again, until…
“Apparently Willie feels I fall short of his expectations for a pastor’s wife. I guess it isn’t enough that I’m a teacher, play the violin and piano and have been a soloist in church since my childhood,” said Kate with a twinge of anger in her voice.
“Oh, Kate,” was all Florence could manage to roll off her tongue. Unlike her daughter in most instances, she was speechless.
“I don’t know who or what has gotten him to where he is at the moment, but…” Kate didn’t finish the sentence.
“But what?” asked Florence.
“It was like talking to a stranger, mother. I’m not sure if I ever really knew him. He seems to have lost focus on his role as a pastor. It’s like he’s looking for fame as a preacher, rather than looking at what being a pastor actually encompasses,” said Kate as she slowly drew her hand across her forehead.
Devastation had set in. She stared out the huge grease-hazed kitchen window for several minutes. Almost as quickly as the tears had begun to flow, a sudden calm came over Kate.
“I was sitting here thinking, mom and Mark 1:28 came to mind…And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee. Let’s pray that Willie will humble himself and seek God’s will for his life. He won’t be happy until he does. ”
“My heart is like a sponge soaking up my tears, but it will heal as I seek the Lord’s refuge.” Then, with resolve, she twisted the white gold solitaire from her left ring finger.
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