(Previously in Part 1 we learn that Rebecca King, then 14-years old and inspired by the testimony of a deacon in her church, asks God to pour her out like a drink offering if it means bringing her father to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In Part 2 it is a few years later and Samuel King, Rebecca’s father, terrorizes the local McDonalds arriving to berate his daughter for being late getting home. After becoming physically violent and injuring one person severely Sam is arrested and taken to jail. On his way to jail he remembers his wife was supposed to pick Rebecca up from work and they were going to stop at her mother’s. He blames them both for his behavior and ultimately his imprisonment. In Part 3 Sam has been released from jail due to overcrowding and arriving back in his hometown goes to an address he has for Rebecca. His wife and other family are in an unknown location and his wife has divorced him. He is shocked to discover that Rebecca is not working at Heaven’s Haven but a resident in the nursing facility. Prior to his initial encounter with his daughter he remembers her coming to the jail the night before his sentencing and pleading with him to ask Jesus into his heart. Sam had lost control and actually managed to stomp on his daughter before a guard tased him. Finding his daughter’s room he discovers Rebecca is in a wheelchair and during his taunting a doctor enters and tells Sam that his daughter is in the wheelchair due to her father’s beatings when she was younger. Upon hearing this Sam flees.)
Rebecca looked in anguish at Dr. McGuire as her father turns and flees. “Why did you tell him that?” Rebecca asks the doctor.
“Because someone had to and I knew you wouldn’t.” Dr. McGuire’s voice is stern but softens as he continues to speak. “Oh Bec I knew you would let him continue to taunt and berate you and never speak up for yourself, never tell him that he was the one whose abuse and violence left you unable to walk. And,” he paused before adding, “and I wanted to see if he has any humanity in him left to hurt.”
“It wasn’t your place Ethan. I understand but he is still my father and of course he can be hurt…” Rebecca’s own voice broke, “at least I think he still can. I don’t know what five years in prison has done to him.”
“Doesn’t seem to have softened him any, he looks mean Bec. Every bit as mean and capable of violence as your family has told me.”
Rebecca sat silently for several minutes and Ethan allowed her time to gather her thoughts. He is well aware of how deeply she clings to her belief that God has taken her up on her plea as a teenager that He pour her out like a drink offering if it means her father would come to be a Christian. “Who am I,” Ethan asked himself, “to doubt her faith? Even if I believe she should have done just like her family and left Samuel King and everything connected to him far, far behind?”
Ethan thought back to when he had first met Bec. He was a new doctor, just finishing up his residency at the local university hospital when he heard the staff talking about a young woman in rehab with an amazing positive spirit. Within days it seemed everyone was talking about this young woman and Ethan had found himself strangely drawn to her room, though he had no reason to be, just to meet her. Within minutes he recognized Rebecca King was the real deal. She was a Christian through and through and her faith seemed to ooze out of her, creating an aura people just responded to. He wasn’t her doctor but he became her friend, he wanted to be more.
“Pray with me?” Rebecca asked.
Ethan knelt down and took Rebecca’s hands in his and together they prayed, both praying that Sam King would yet be drawn to Christ, and that they would both find peace and protection from any evil.
When Sam King ran out of the front doors of Heaven’s Haven he had no idea of where he was going. He also was no longer in a physical shape that allowed him to run long without becoming winded so he got no further than half a block before he was panting for breath. Sweat ran down his ashen face and he wondered if he was going to have a heart attack his heart was pounding so hard in his chest. About 10 yards off on the lawn on his left was a gazebo and struggling Sam managed to stumble over to it and up its two steps before sinking to one of the benches along the inside walls.
No matter how much he tried to shut the words of the doctor out of his mind he kept hearing them. Sam had spent a lifetime ignoring the truth about his own self. The more he ran from who he had become, sometimes, the more it seemed to him his reflection was smashed back into his face. Suddenly Sam couldn’t run anymore. He couldn’t physically, five years behind bars with no attempt on his part to strengthen his muscles his body had grown weak. He couldn’t emotionally for anger had fed his cruelty and his belief that everyone around him was the reason his own life didn’t measure up or work out right. Seeing Becca in that wheelchair, her legs stick thin and knowing, in the deepest part of him, that he was the reason.
Tears built up in his eyes and though he wiped them away they kept coming. Sam tried to summon up his usual excuses to fuel his anger to cut off any feelings of tenderness but he failed. Instead he remembered the day at the age of five when he fell off the wagon his family was using to haul in the tobacco crop and had been trampled by the horses pulling the wagon behind the one he’d been on. He’d escaped from the horses’ hoofs but his left wrist had been broken from his fall. He had tried to get up before his father knew what had happened but their neighbor, Mr. Kinney, who had been driving the second wagon had stopped the wagon and been over to him before Sam had been able to get up. Mr. Kinney’s shouts stopped his father’s wagon.
Sam’s Pa had seemed too concerned there in the rutted road that ran along their tobacco fields. He’d thanked Mr. Kinney for helping Sam and he’d asked him to thank God in his prayers that his son hadn’t been killed in the accident. Then he’d lifted Sam up to the wagon seat and urged Mr. McKinney to hurry on with his own wagon to the tobacco barns while he took Sam into the house.
As soon as Mr. Kinney had been out of ear shot Sam’s moments of comfort and caring from his father were over. Spit had flown out of his mouth as he berated Sam for being clumsy, probably daydreaming or sleeping instead of paying attention. Now he’d lose half-an-hour taking his sissy boy to his Mamma for tending to and if he didn’t get the rest of the tobacco crop in it would be all Sam’s fault. Later when he learned Sam had broken his wrist he grabbed Sam by that broken wrist and held him tight as his belt flayed Sam repeatedly. The next morning, moving as quickly as he could Sam had been right there in the tobacco fields helping harvest the tobacco. His broken wrist unset. His back a crisscross pattern of belt welts. The rest of him black and blue from the horses’ feet. But Sam never complained. He knew better.
Sam had ran off when he was twelve and never looked back. His Pa had become a regular lush by then, his body, mind and heart consumed by alcohol. His mother still the silent shadow in his father’s weak light.
He’d had a hard life. He’d had an awful life. There was no denying that truth. Nor was there any denying the truth of his own mistreatment of his own children and even his wife. Sam’s father had left him with a wrist that ached awfully bad in the cold months and was malformed so badly Sam wore long sleeves all the time to hide it. Now Sam had left his daughter unable to walk.
Two shoes stood in Sam’s sight and he followed the legs attached up to see the doctor from Becca’s room. Sam drew in a sharp breath of surprise.
To be continued…