I know most, maybe even all of you have found yourself suddenly asking God or the Universe or Someone why this awful thing happened to you. There’s usually no good answer. Often, because we must have an answer, we accept some rationalization that down deep in our hearts we know is not completely satisfying. I wish at the end of this conversation I share the magic formula which provides closure for your situation like this. I probably won’t be doing that.
In my first published novel, A River Bend, my main character, Josh Crockett finds himself in that situation. Josh handles it better than most of us. There are times I wish I’d written him differently, but I didn’t. But just like real life, it all starts out very innocently. Some might say nobly. Let me explain.
Josh Crockett, a psychologist with a nice comfortable practice in Corona, Florida is asked by his best friend, Paul Palato to return to Josh’s hometown, where Paul now lives, and teach the concepts of Josh’s latest book to a group of teens Paul directs at his church. Josh agrees. It sounds like something good. What could go wrong?
Josh’s first encounter with the teens is to attend a sporting event with them outside the church. He talks to one of the friendlier teens about the correlation between worship and love out in the parking lot of a pizza restaurant. Paul was not there, but joined them at the sporting event. Talking about worship in the parking lot is a little bit “churchy” for me, but Josh sensed the young lady needed it and according to the story, she did find it interesting. In other words, it seemed appropriate and innocent.
Look what happens later in the same chapter when Paul joins the group. This is the beginning of Josh’s woeful experience.
“Tell the group what you told Samara about love,” Tara requests with a slight inflection in her voice and choosing her words to peak Paul‘s interest.
The others waiting for their tickets react somewhat strangely to this request Josh believes. They all encircle him and lean in to hear. Their response is akin to the reaction of characters in a slapstick comedy when the main character is about to share “the plan.” Paul seems particularly interested.
“I believe we talked about worshipping God,” Josh summarizes, “wherever and whenever we can. I don’t remember saying much about love, except that worshipping God is in response to His love for us.”
The teens share glances until all eyes finally focus on Tara.
“I understand you told Samara,” Tara begins carefully, nervously, but soon is in control of the situation, “the idea that someone in love with Samara aroused her.”
Josh is stunned by the way his words have been twisted and patiently waits for Tara to clarify what she wants to know.
“Well,” Tara pauses a moment hoping for a response from Josh.
“Well what, Tara?” Josh is still uncertain as to Tara’s motives since there has not been a question or concern mentioned.
“What did you mean by that?” Tara finally finds her question. “Were you coming on to her?”
The seed of suspicious behavior is planted. Later, in the story, one of the deacons of the church discovers an incident from Josh’s past that connects his past behavior with this questionable action. Plus, it doesn’t help that Josh meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman who has a disreputable past of her own. Without giving away any more of the plot, I’ll just add that this all goes downhill quickly for Josh.
You’ll need to purchase and read the book if you want to see what all happens to Josh. But I would like to end this conversation with “how” Josh handles it. The answer is simple. He never questions it. He questions his feelings for Marcy James, the disreputable woman, but not because of her reputation, but because it he falls for her so quickly. The plot of the novel takes place within about a two-week timeframe. She is so beautiful and so successful, Josh isn’t sure if it is love or not.
He accepts without question the doubts and false accusations hurled at him. Even Marcy questions why, in the past incident, he didn’t fight for his innocence. The most important thing to Josh is that Marcy and a few of the teens with which he connects strongly believes him.
Maybe that’s the answer. What happened to this fictional character is so minor than what happened to you. So, I am not trying to compare and thus make light of your tragedy. But I know in my life, I missed so much of life trying to figure out what went wrong that this evil happened to me. After all, I was doing everything right.
The mother of my children died before she was 40 years old. Her death left four children, ages eight to sixteen, motherless. It was sudden and unexpected. She was a good wife, mother, and woman. I spent the next several years wondering why and trying to “fix” it.
While I tried to fix, and figure it out, my sixteen-year-old daughter learned to drive, graduated from high school, and went to proms, etc. Things like those were also experienced by my other children. Plus, they were dealing with the loss of a mother. I only existed in a numb-like state through those wonderful and joyous life happenings. My worry, research, and assessment of the loss stole my joy, and my time with my children and their friends which is something I enjoyed before the tragedy. Plus, my efforts to try to make sense of the whole thing distracted me from more pertinent concerns and I made lots of bad decisions as a result. Finally, after all that, all I missed, and all the mistakes it cost, I still don’t have an answer.
I do know this. An aneurism killed my wife, probably due to a blood clot from a surgery she needed just months before her death. She has four wonderful children and there are seventeen grandchildren and two great grandchildren still living and loving that are a part of her. God has truly blessed me. That’s all I need to know.