Borrowed Truths

Cynthia and Kevin

cynthia and kevin
Borrowed Truths

Cynthia and Kevin

Cynthia could feel the burden growing, becoming a weight she was not sure she could bear. Kevin was a great help, when he could be, his hours at work were long, the pay was low, but when he was home he was tired. She understood this, but many days she was just as exhausted. Their two small children seemed to have constant needs, their apartment was small, but because of the location it was in, it needed constant cleaning, and she was beginning to see the signs not only in herself but in the children what the effects of living so close to a smelting plant could have.

The dust and fumes were constant, the plant never shut down, it was a blessing and a curse at the same time, for it provided an income for their small family, but she felt like it was also killing them slowly. She would crack the windows only slightly on even the hottest days, trying to keep out as much of the airborne particles as she could, hoping the fan would help them to find some relief from the summer heat, baking in the daytime, sweltering in the evenings.

She noticed the first signs in her firstborn, now almost three years old, one very cold winter morning, frost on the inside of the windows hiding the plumes coming continuously from the factory where her loving husband spent his days. What first started as the sniffles and a runny nose soon turned into a frightening cough, and then a trip to the local hospital. They had buried their him two days after Christmas, the presents under the very small tree placed in a spot at the top of the closet two weeks later, mementos unopened. The pain had been nearly unbearable, the three paid days off from work for Kevin was not nearly enough to console either of them, and the days and months that followed were as if a dream, flowing across a path of continuing repetition, dragging their lives through sorrow like mud that they could not remove from their shoes.

Now the runny nose had appeared on their youngest, and Cynthia felt a fear beyond what she believed she could bear. “We have to Kevin.” “But to where, you know I’m not the smartest guy on the block, I don’t have any skills besides shoveling coal.” “I can’t bear to lose another child; we have to do something.” They had enough money in their pockets for a few tanks of gas and perhaps six or seven weeks of food when they locked the door to their apartment for the last time and drove away that day. If they were very careful they might be able to stretch it out a little longer, but all they knew for now was that they were heading north.

“Well, I might be able to use you for a week or two, but I can’t guarantee you anything more than that.” The smile on little Joshua’s face was part of the reason they were now sleeping soundly in the back room of the large barn, an occasional wolf howling at the full moon the only sound beyond the bleating of the sheep. It was a cold morning, but the blue sky held the promise of a warmer day. She had found the small market in the tiny town to have nearly everything she needed, cautious stares and some smiles greeted her as she entered, and Joshua, now the same age as his older brother was when he died, was the center of attention.

“I never realized places like this were real, I mean, we saw them in magazines, but to actually be here is still hard to believe.” The ranchers hired hand had moved on just a week after their arrival, and Kevin had not only been offered a full time position with the sheep rancher, but he had been given the house that the man and his family had been living in on the property. “Three bedrooms, two stories, and all the windows let in clean, fresh air, what did we do to deserve this.” “I don’t know sweetheart, but make yourself at home, because I don’t see us going anywhere anytime soon.” There was lamb’s wool for the bedding, lamb’s wool was on the sofa, and lamb for dinner, the smell became a pleasure, the thoughts of home had begun to form in the young couples mind, and the days were filled with happiness and contentment.

“Every time?” “Every single time Cynthia, never fails, I never know what to say, so I just say thank you, but it seems to be enough for him.” Kevin had felt kind of awkward watching as his new boss bowed his head before they ate lunch together each day, but it felt incredibly strange to hear the man offer prayers of thanks for what he seemed to be working so diligently every day himself to achieve. “Couldn’t do it on my own Kevin, it’s the Lord Jesus that gives me the strength.” The behaviors that the man’s wife exhibited started to make more sense to Cynthia now, they did not spend much time together, but when they did, she seemed to exude a peace that was difficult for Cynthia to understand, never seeming to be disturbed by much at all. It made a little more sense now, she understood somewhat better what the woman had meant when she handed the small, handmade toy sheep to her son and said, “This is from Jesus, Joshua, the Lamb of the world.”

“We’ve got a serious chore to do today, Kevin.” The younger man followed the older one into one of the large barns and saw a sight he did not want to see, a mother ewe standing over her dead newborn, nudging it, trying to bring it back to life. “Now, look over here.” Another newborn, this one alive, yet the mother laid dead by its side. What they did Kevin did not want to do, it was not the deed that stuck in his mind all day though, but the words the older man had spoken to him, words that he brought home to his loving wife that night that changed the course of their lives forever.

“The mother of the dead newborn wouldn’t accept the other young lamb whose mother had died giving birth Cynthia, it did not have the scent of her own. He showed me that when he put it in the pen with her, she just butted it away. It was so sad. We skinned her baby, not in front of her of course, but then we placed that small, little fleece on the other newborn, holes for its legs and all, and when we put it in the pen with the mother of the dead one, she instantly accepted it as her own.” He told his wife of how almost the entirety of the rest of the day he had listened as the older man had explained how that is how God looks on His children, how He sees Christ when He looks at them.

It was a story that not only Joshua heard over the years, but their three other children as well, and that small, toy sheep covered in fleece was always set on the table before them as they told it, giving glory to God each and every time.

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