Gone to Find God - Book Excerpt

In every shadow there is some light that filters through. If it were not true no shadow could be cast, only darkness. In the shadows of one’s mind there can be found the pieces of hope and a promise of a brighter tomorrow.

Joe knew that there was something going on inside his head but he no longer was able to trust it. It was his fear that gripped him and held him suspended in time waiting for a clear vision. Could he trust his own feelings? So much of him had lived in the grey area, in the shadow, that it was now difficult for him to trust his own mind. He wanted to reach out to Sharon but he did not want to appear like a child needing the comfort of his mother. Instead he wanted the combined fulfillment of their affections for each other. But he did not know how to act or what to say. What was so natural and normal for everyone else seemed foreign and unfamiliar to him now. She was his wife and yet Joe realized that he would never be able to give himself totally and completely to her though he loved her more than anyone else on Earth.

It was Sunday morning and the house was very quiet. It seemed to Sharon that even the birds had slept in. Joe must be up already, she thought when she realized that he was not in the bedroom. Lazily she put on her robe and slippers then shuffled out into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. As she poured the coffee into her cup she looked at a piece of paper lying on the table. It read “Gone to find God” and it was signed “Joe”.

At first Sharon just stared at it not really comprehending the written words. She merely saw letters on a paper. A few moments passed and Sharon looked at the note again, picked it up and held it out in front of her. She read it again, this time understanding the words that were written there. She understood the words but was uncertain as to their meaning. “Gone to find God” … what does it mean? Where did he go? Why did he have to go anywhere, couldn’t he find God here? God is everywhere, not hidden someplace where you have to go seek Him. Sharon started to get that sick feeling in her stomach, that feeling that meant something was terribly wrong.

Looking around the Church pews, Joe found a row that was completely deserted and decided to make his way there. He wasn’t sure why he chose this particular church but it made no difference, he just knew that he wanted to feel close to heaven. He did not even remember how he had gotten to this street or this town; just that he drove blindly guided by some unknown force or at least that is how it felt.

A few moments after Joe was comfortably seated on the wooden pew, a black family slid into the pew next to him. Their daughter, a happy seven old year sat next to Joe and glanced over at him, giving him the sweetest smile he had ever seen. For awhile the little girl sat quietly and motionless but after about 10 minutes she started to squirm a bit.

Thankfully the first song was about to begin and everyone rose to sing including Joe and the little black girl. The girl must have heard the song before and sang out having memorized the words. She sang with such joy that Joe stopped singing and just looked at her and marveled at the way she sang with so much happiness in her voice. Joe was delighted listening to her and gave her a smile. She noticed and smiled back a grin as big as her little face could make.

The song ended and everyone sat down again. After a few minutes the little girl started to fumble with the church program and reached inside the pocket of her skirt to put out a pencil. Joe watched her intently as she scribbled on the program. The lines made a rather unique symbol and Joe nodded his approval. Seeing this, the girl then handed the paper and pencil over to Joe with a gesture that indicated she wanted him to draw now. Joe took the pencil and paper and thought for a moment.

No one else seemed to notice the exchange that was happening between Joe and this little girl. The minister was about to give his sermon to an eager congregation. The morning sunlight was coming through the stained glass windows causing a prism affect to fall on the pulpit. It was mesmerizing but Joe and the little girl did not look up and instead remained fixed on the paper and the pencil lines that were being sketched.

Joe drew a mountain with the sun at high noon. Then he speckled the mountain with soft lines, not quite straight. It was amazing to him how much it resembled trees. He was actually quite pleased with his little drawing. Then he handed the paper back for the girl to view it.

With sheer delight, she picked up the pencil and drew a rabbit with long pointed ears and behind him a tree with Joe’s mountain as landscape for the background. The tree had stick branches that reached out in all directions. Joe looked at the drawing and was amused. The girl, seeing this, handed him the paper and pencil once again.

It was strange how much Joe seemed to care about this drawing. It drew him in and he felt affection for the girl but he knew he could never have explained this affection to anyone. It was proper and appropriate but no one would ever see it that way. They would twist it and make him feel twisted along with it. She saw him as an equal. Not of equal age or mentality but as a normal human being like herself. Not insane, not crazy, not bizarre. Just Joe; a man who could derive pleasure from the exchange of pencil on paper with a little girl.

Gone to Find God - Book Excerpt

Judi Taylor

Stowe, United States

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    Notes
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Artist's Description

Over the past year I have been writing and researching what I fondly call “my first novel”. I do not think anyone who writes cannot help but put a part of themselves in their work even though the story may be fiction. In the course of my research, many people have given me so much. Some offered vital information that is the background I needed to write a realistic story, most of which will never be put into the book but was needed so I could “get a feel” for what certain situations are like and drew from that information my own feelings and emotions then hopefully have them translated and reborn in my words for the reader.

There was one gentleman who told me one particular day that he was feeling fantastic. When I inquired as to why he was feeling this way, he told me a story about his experience at church that morning. He was visiting his elderly parents in another state with the unpleasant task of finding a place for them to live as they could no longer take care of themselves. He was overwhelmed with grief and it was important to him to get away for a few hours and decided to go for a walk this bright Sunday morning. He found himself in front of an exquisite church, he said, and just had to go in. After telling me his story, I was overcome with emotion and asked him if I could borrow his experience for a character in my novel. He said yes.

This is an excerpt from my still unfinished novel that belongs now to all of us.
Thank you LT for your trust and your heart and your spirit.

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