Christian fiction novel
|Sitting in a folding chair next to her mother under the small tent that was erected to provide some cover for family and friends from the drizzle outside, Kai Stockton stared at the closed casket laid out before them that held the body of her father, Lawrence Stockton. The man who had been her rock, her shelter in any storm life had to offer, and the one who was one of the best role models of how to have and use faith and trust in God in all things, was now gone from this world and in the presence of his Lord and Savior after suffering a massive heart attack.
He had fought many spiritual battles over the last couple of decades, and now he was able to rest in the loving arms of the Lord. Yet even in this thought, knowing her father was at peace and with family that had gone on in the years before, Kai was not at peace. Her heart felt torn apart and now missing an important piece. Even as she held her mother’s hand, trying to provide support to the amazing woman who had raised her and just lost the love of her life of the last 34 years, words her father had told her years before played over and over in her mind.
“I’m not always going to be here Kai. You need to learn to stand on your own.” At the time he had spoken this to her, Kai didn't understand the context he was saying it in and let it become a wedge between her father and herself for many years. They had just started reconciling and rebuilding their relationship a few months ago. Between this and the guild she felt over not being at the hospital when he died, due to living out of state, she felt emotionally lost and drowning in a sea of guilt and sorrow.
The service ended and people made their way around to where she and her mother were sitting to offer their final condolences before leaving to carry on their lives. When everyone had passed, Kai stood and escorted her mother to her SUV to take her back home. The rest of the day and week before she returned to her home state was a haze as she pretty much ran on autopilot.
The next few weeks were then devoted to getting affairs in order so that she could move back to her hometown of Duster Grove and be there for her mother, now that her father was gone. Her mother, Caroline, had a number of siblings that lived close to her, but Kai was her only living child as her other daughter, Mia, had died when she was nine and Kai was five, when a drunk driver hit the family car on the way home from church one Sunday evening.
Finally the day had arrived where she had everything packed, said her goodbyes to her friends and colleagues and was on her way back home to Duster Grove. With a thirteen hour drive ahead of her, she had plenty of time to herself to think and plan on what she would need to do to get on her feet again once back home.
Duster Grove, being a small rural community, doesn't offer a lot in the way of jobs. Her father had worked i a factory in a neighboring town while her mother works for a local accountant in Duster Grove. David Markus, CPA, is one of the numerous small business that are scattered throughout the town of twelve-hundred plus people. These businesses consist of a barber shop, a couple beauty shops, a couple gas stations, a restaurant, a car repair shop, an appliance/TV repair shop, a movie rental place, a daycare, a flower shop, and a small engine repair shop. The two largest employers are the local school, home of the Duster Grove Rebels, and the grocery store.
This lengthy drive time also allowed Kai to have some quiet time to pray. She sought guidance on how to go about her life now without her father around, how to best help her other, and continued blessings and guidance in finding suitable employment close to home. This time with the Lord made the drive more bearable and pleasant and also provided her with a calming sense of peace, something she had not had since first hearing of her father’s passing.
Even with this sense of peace, she knew the road ahead was not going to be easy. Little did she know that the net year was going to be the most rewarding, yet most trying and dangerous time in her life. During this time, her father’s words would ring true and Kai’s faith would be tested to its limits.