Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him. Ecclesiastes 7:13-14
Today was a great day so far! I was going to the market. To think of it, this whole week was going better than imagined. This morning, Narcissa and I finished harvesting the garden. This season we grew tomatoes, okra, and peppers. Last year, Narcissa and I both went to the market in town and haggled for a fair price from the dealer. Due to her arthritis in her knees acting up, the older woman decided to let me go into town alone. I was genuinely surprised by the confidence my companion had in me.
Before giving Narcissa a chance to change her mind, I gathered the baskets of produce and placed them one by one into the tail of the buckboard attached to the horses. I didn’t have to look behind me to know that Narcissa stood on the porch watching after me until I was completely out of sight. I involuntarily smiled at the matronly woman’s loving habit. No one else was on the road, and the horses certainly didn’t strike up a conversation. I mentally paused. I still remember going into the forest and being able to talk to the animals, but it all feels like a fantastical dream. Still to this day, I had the habit of keeping an ear open trying to catch even a whisper, but it was no avail.
If I could talk to the animals maybe I could find out how Father was doing with His work. Who was I kidding? The ears of the horses flicked up when I let out an unladylike snort. What did I know about the King’s work? Yes, I know His plan is to establish His kingdom, but how is a Forgotten King supposed to create a kingdom out of a group of people who do not even know that He exists?
I opened your eyes.
I took a sharp breath. It didn’t matter how many times I hear Comforter’s voice…I still react as if it’s the first time. Releasing the same breath, I spoke out loud, “I know that Comforter, but it’s been over two years. I don’t want to doubt, but I am having such a hard time seeing Father’s work.”
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Hmm, I have to look at the things that are unseen? Before I could have more time to mull over Comforter’s words, I realized with a jolt that I had arrived to market already. Climbing down from the buckboard, I patted the horses and gave both a cube of sugar thankful that they were able to take me where I needed to go while I was completely distracted. I grabbed the basket of tomatoes first and entered the market store. As soon as Matthew the dealer noticed me, he ran to me to help take the burden off my hands. I smiled my gratefulness. I watched Matthew call over a couple of his sons to grab the rest of the baskets for me
After laying them out on the counter and weighing them, Matthew and I began to negotiate. “I can give you fifty cents a pound for the tomatoes, sixty five cents for the peppers, and fifty five cents for the okra,” said Matthew. “Now Matthew, I heard from my neighbor that you gave him a better deal,” I replied with a raised brow. Matthew smiled in defeat. He wasn’t expecting me to come after doing some research. I made sure I knew I knew the selling and buying prices among the growers. Narcissa had trained me well. After a few more negotiations, I got Matthew to buy the produce at a higher price compared to last season’s prices. Since rain was scarcer this spring, there was more of a demand for the food. I even got a free jar of strawberry jam, Narcissa’s favorite!
I made my way outside and crossed the dirt street to the tethered horses. I felt so happy from the sale that the miles between town and cottage seemed to zoom by. I was a humming a familiar tune until I noticed something was different. Outside the cottage were a group of people wearing white robes. Their horses were all black and ginormous. Who could they be? As I gingerly rode closer I noticed curls of black smoke. “Narcissa!”
With urgency I drove the buckboard as fast as I could without tipping it over. “Father, please protect her!” The time it took to reach the cottage felt like eternity, but I was so relieved when I was able to jump down to the ground. The first hooded man who noticed me charged after me with his weapon, but I quickly unsheathed my sword and deflecting his blow. Being aware of my surroundings, I forced the man to back up until his foot fell into the freshly dug earth. “For You equipped me with strength for the battle; You made those who rise against me sink under me.” Using his momentary distraction to my advantage I kicked the man’s chest making him lose his balance.
As I tried to make my way into the cottage, more and more people came out wearing white hooded robes. Flames shattered the front window, and my heart constricted with fierce dread. I needed to get inside and find Narcissa. Before I could make a move, the front door opened releasing more smoke, but a sputtering Narcissa stumbled out. I felt so incredibly relieved, but that was short-lived as I noticed the sharp metal dagger pressed against the older woman’s neck. The dagger was handled by another white hooded figure, but I could tell by the confident stride that this person must be their captain. “Throw down your sword, or the old woman will pay,” said the stranger.
Clenching my jaw, I reluctantly threw down my sword to the ground. I felt completely vulnerable but my anger completely hid the emotion as I yelled out the words to the new enemy. “Who are you? Why have you done this?”
All at once, the white robed figures took down their hoods revealing their faces. My knees nearly buckled. I was looking at the faces of my former siblings all smirking at me. I involuntarily took a step back when the leader revealed herself. None of this made sense, yet here they were. My past breaking its way into my idyllic world. “Long time, Melody,” spoke the leader sarcastically. Memories of our last encounter rose to the surface, but I was somehow able to calmly reply, “Not long enough Harper.”