Friday, September 25, 2015

No Greater Love--Part 4

Rachel smiled as she  brought two plates of fish and rice out of the kitchen and set the down in front of her parents.
Dad smiled and rubbed his hands together, “My, my does this look good.”
Mom nodded in agreement, “Yes, it certainly does, Rachel.”
Richard glanced at their plates, “Aww, come on Rach. Don’t make me wait. I’m starved for some real food.”
Rachel laughed, “you be patient. I’ll bring your plate next.”
She disappeared into the kitchen and returned a moment later with two more plates. One she set down in front of her chair, the second one she set in front of Richard.
He looked down at his plate. . .and promptly froze.
“Uhh, Rachel, what is this?”
She grinned mischievously, “It’s your fish, my dear brother.”
“Rachel, it’s burnt.”
She glanced at his plate as though seeing it for the first time, “Oh, really? Well, that’s a pity, but I guess it’s what happens when you tease me about my cooking.”
A smile spread over Richard’s face, “Ahh, so this is what it’s all about.”
Dad laughed as he watched the exchange between the two, “Don’t ever tease the cook, Richard. While this cook may not poison you, she’ll make sure you learn your lesson.”
Richard smiled, “Yeah, and I do believe I’ve learned my lesson. I’m curious,” he turned to Rachel, “do I have to eat this?”
“Why don’t you go in the kitchen and see what else you can find.”
He raised his eyebrows, “Seriously?”
Rachel laughed, “yes, seriously. Now go!”
Richard sighed as he pushed his chair back from the table and made his way into the kitchen.
“Ahh, now we’re talking. Chocolate cake, all for me!” Richard’s voice drifted into the dining room.
Rachel rolled her eyes as she hurriedly stood and dashed into the kitchen, snatching the cake from Richard’s hands, “you oughta be ashamed of yourself Richard Smith!”
Richard raised his hands in mock surrender, “alright, take your cake. I’ll just go and eat my burnt fish since there doesn’t seem to be anything else in here.”
“Richard. Turn around and look on the counter next to the sink,” Rachel commanded as she carefully set the chocolate cake on top of the fridge.
Richard turned, then a smile spread over his face as he saw the plate piled high with fish, rice and even a small slice of the chocolate cake he had been holding, “thanks, Rach. You’re the best!” He picked up the plate and headed back towards the dining room. Setting his plate down, he pulled Rachel’s chair out for her, then waited until she sat before taking his own seat.
Dad looked at them with a twinkle in his eyes, “Well, if you two are done, can we pray now before our food gets cold?”
Richard grinned, “yes, dad.”
The family joined hands, then dad’s strong, quiet voice filled the room.
“Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for this food you’ve given to us, and for the home you’ve blessed us with. I also thank you for the blessing of family.
Lord, as Richard leaves tomorrow, I pray that you’d be with him as well as all the other men who are being sent to Vietnam. Thank you for this time together that you have given us. In your name I pray, Amen.”
As he ended the prayer, Rachel quickly withdrew her hand from Richard’s and wiped away the tear that had slipped from her eye during the prayer. Please, God. Please, keep him safe! she silently prayed. She caught Richard’s eye and he gave her a small smile before attacking his chocolate cake.
Despite the gravity of the moment, Rachel couldn’t help but chuckle. Why do guys always seem to eat their dessert first? she wondered. With a small shrug of her shoulders, she turned back to her own plate.
“I’ll do the dishes. You two go and have your walk.”
“Are you sure, Mom?” Rachel hesitated. “It wouldn't take to long for me to do them.”
Mom laughed, “the faster you take your walk the faster you’ll get back and the faster you get back the more time we’ll have with Richard. So go!”
Richard winked a her, “better obey orders, sis. That’s one thing I’ve learned; when orders are given, you never question them. Well, unless they go against God’s word. But,” he grinned, “This one doesn’t.”
Rachel smiled and took the light jacket Richard held out to her, “alright. We’ll be back soon.”
Richard led the way outside, holding the door open for her. 
Once outside, Rachel paused and took a deep breath, “there’s nothing quite as refreshing as the Texas air in December,” she said with a smile as she placed her hand in the crook of Richard’s elbow and they started down the drive.
Richard nodded in agreement, “Yes, it’s one thing I’ll miss. Well, other than you guys of course.”
Rachel playfully shoved her brother, “so we’re just an afterthought? Thanks a lot!”
Richard chuckled, “Well, that’s not exactly what I meant and you know it.”
“I know. Oh, Richard, I wish you didn’t have to go tomorrow. Once you leave, we have no idea when we may see you again.”
“Even if I stayed here, there’s no guarantee you’ll see me tomorrow. That’s why we need to be so grateful for each day the Lord has given us. Each one of them is a gift, and there’s no promise you’ll ever get another.”
There was silence for a moment as neither sibling spoke.
As they neared the barn, Richard chuckled, “Well, I can see nothing’s changed here. This thing looks just about the same. It’s been empty for as long as I can remember.”
“Thank you, Richard,” Rachel spoke at last.
“For what?” Richard asked in apparent confusion. “For talking about the barn?”
Rachel laughed, “No, you goose. For the lecture you gave me about every day being a gift. I do tend to take them for granted.”
“It wasn’t a lecture, Rach. Just a reminder. I need them myself every so often.”
“I know, and that’s what I’ll miss when you’re overseas. These talks we have together. All the problems you help me with.”
“Rachel,” Richard turned around to face her, “You know that you can always take your problems to Jesus and He will help you.”
Rachel nodded as a tear spilled down her cheek, “I know, but you help me understand myself,” she gave a small laugh, “and that can be hard sometimes.”
“Well, mom and dad are always ready to listen to you and help you. Plus, you can still ask me any questions; I’m only a letter away.” He reached out and wiped the tear off her cheek. “I love you, Rach. You’re my favorite sister. . .even if you are my only one.”
Rachel laughed, “And you’re my favorite brother.”
The two siblings paused for a moment, both leaning on the old rail fence and gazing at the stars.
After a moment, Richard turned. “Well, we’d better get back inside before mom decides to send someone out after us.”
Rachel smiled, “Yeah, I can see her doing that. Only we’d have to be gone for a few hours, not minutes.”
Richard laughed, “Same difference. Besides, I need to get home to that cake.”

1 comment:

  1. I love this story!
    Yay, someone else who says 'same difference'!! :-)