Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From House to Home



From House to Home

          Sage and Lauren sat on their porch which they had built along with their entire house, by their own sweat and hard labor. It was honed out of timber that Sage had cut down from their property. His father had left him over a thousand acres with over four hundred of them consisting of the finest Douglas fir, cedar and oak. They referred to their house as a log cabin but with the four bedrooms, three baths and a kitchen that was the envy of most who visited, it was far more than just that. The fire place was constructed out of stones they had handpicked from the border of the brook where they love to picnic. On any given cold night, the logs would be burning giving off heat and a glow; on the double sided openings that divided the living and dining rooms. The stones ran from floor to the vaulted ceiling, creating both the fireplace and the chimney. The open beams that made-up the roof support and added to the decor, where solid pieces of fourteen inch logs that spanned over twenty four feet from center. The exterior walls where ten feet tall built from twelve inch clean cut fir lay horizontally stacked perfectly with lots of care. The floors where choice oak which Sage had milled, shaped the edges into tongue and grooved for a tight fit and laid diagonally on the entire floor. With the basement fully finish and furnished, a pool table, sitting area and flat screen TV, the place was over six thousand square feet. So to their friends it was daubed, the wilderness mansion. Looking from their porch they watch their horses trot and graze in the thirty acre fenced in field. The couple had been married a little over thirteen years and had built their dream house hoping to fill it with a home full of kids. A few years after the house had been completed they found out that Lauren could not bear children, so horses had become their passion. They had over a dozen stallions and mares which were gentle, broken and loved to be mounted and ridden. On weekends one could fine a half dozen teens from their church enjoying their ranch and their horses free of charge.


          Lance was a trouble nineteen year old who had come to see Sage asking for a job. Always looking for the good in everyone, Sage hired him to mock the stalls, brush the animals and mend the fences which were showing their age and decay. For the first several months Lance showed up on time and did what was expected of him. Sage didn’t understand what people in town had against the young man; rumor was that he was rude with an attitude and a short temper that landed him in fights. Most of the store owner didn’t want him in their place and would keep a close watch on him saying that he was known for shoplifting. After three months of employment the couple began to see a difference in the performance and attitude Lance took to his job. Sage had caught the boy sleeping during work hours. Lance would go into the stables or out on ranch and take naps under a tree when he was supposed to be mending a fence. One morning Lance arrived late and Sage said nothing to him. The following morning Lance showed up forty five minutes late again and around ten thirty in the morning when Sage walked in the stables, Lance was passed out in one of the stalls. Sage got a little irritated and with his boot kicked Lance in the ankle to not only wake him up but also get his attention. Lance immediately woke up and said, “What you think you’re doing? Man!” Sage reached down, grabbed him gently under the arm and stood him up, look him in the eyes and replied, “First, don’t man me, my name is Sage, and I don’t call you boy.” For the first time Sage knew what folks in town were saying is true. Lance got mean in a New York minute and with spit flying from his mouth he said, “I’m a man and not no boy, and you better treat me like one or else.” Sage could not believe the arrogance and the venom coming from young man standing before him and decided to school him. “Okay young man” Sage said after a minute of staring at him, “First, I pay you for an honest day’s work and not to sleep on the job. Second, when you do, you are not only stealing from me, but your stealing from God, who I owe everything I have” That didn’t help because Lance got even nastier and stepping closer said, “You just think you’re better then everybody and all you want is a slave around here.” Sage cut him off before he could continue and laid it all out. “Lance both my wife and I have found you sleeping more than once and we have not said a word to you about it, but I can’t keep paying you to sleep, and disrespecting me doesn’t help either.” Lance started to walk away but turned around, spit on the ground and asked “What you are firing me?” Lance said with a nasty look on his face and a whole lot of body language. “No I’m not, but I have to let you go, I don’t like to use the term fired, but yes get your things and go. You can stop by tomorrow or I can drop what I owe you by you place in the morning.” Lance stepped out of the stall and having to have the last words, turned and said, “You’re going to regret this.”

          The following morning Sage went into town to run a few errands and pick up feed and supplies for his animals. Before going to the supply house he stop by Lance’s to drop off his pay check. Sage knew the boy was prideful and would not come back by his place. Lance’s mother answered the door and told Sage that her son was not home but that she would give him the envelope, Sage thanked her and left. After he was done with all the running around, he went back to the ranch unloaded his supplies. Saddling two of his horses he walked them to the front of his house. He stepped inside, greeted his wife with a kiss and said he had two mounts saddled and invited her along for a ride. They agreed and together packed a picnic basket and headed for their favorite spot by the brook. For as many years as they’ve been married, they still enjoyed each other’s company like a newlywed couple. They would sit by the brook for hours talking, at times praying and discussing a sermon or two that was still fresh in their minds. They would always thank God for each other, knowing that with no children, each other is all they had. Lauren Was sitting facing the direction they had rode up in; when she saw the smoke over the top of the trees. She jumps up causing Sage to turn around and in an instant he was also on his feet. He knew the minute he saw the smoke that their house was on fire. Without packing their belonging he looked at his wife with fear in his eyes and said, “The house is on fire, we better hurry.” Without another word they mounted the horses and took off running them as fast as they would go. They were both excellent riders and ten minutes later they were rounding the last bend. When they both saw the flames that consumed the house, they brought their mounts to a complete halt and just stared at the scene before their eyes. The fire had already started burning through the roof and was coming out the windows where the glass had already exploded. They agreed that they need to use a phone to call the fire department that was at least fifteen minutes, if they flew. The closest neighbor was about five minutes by car but already on her mount, Lauren turned around slapped the horse on the back side hard and took off at racing speed. Twenty two minutes later the fire rescue arrived, Sage was still sitting atop his horse with tears in his eyes. Lauren rode up next to him and stood there speechless and sobbing. Sage just looked over and said, “Two years of blood, sweat and tears gone up in smoke.” By the time the firemen had the fire under control the only thing standing was the fireplace and chimney. Lauren dismounted, bent over and threw up; Sage was still staring from his mount and didn’t take notice of his wife. The couple moved in with Lauren’s parent and for two days Lauren stayed in her old room and didn’t move from her bed. Her mother would come in from time to time and try to console her but she cried and went back to sleep. Sage was beside himself, he would leave in the mornings at the crack of dawn to tend to his horses and spend hours just staring at the rubble left from all his labor.
          After days of questions from the police about possible suspects and talk around the small community that someone was bragging to have gotten even with Sage, the police made an arrest. Lance had two empty jugs which he was seen filling up and placing in the trunk of his car the day of the fire. His anger got the best of him and he shot off with the mouth when interrogated by the police, lance was charged with arson. Sage was so angry when he got the news that evening at his in-laws that it took hours for his father-in- law to stop him from going to the police station and killing the young man. “I swear I will strangle him with my bare hands” Sage had said multiple times. His Father-in- law begged him to “let it go, it’s in God’s hands son, you have to forgive.” Sage prayed for two days that God would take the anger and hatred he felt for Lance. He knew he was upsetting everyone in the house especially his beloved Lauren. Lauren would get sick and whatever she ate would not settle in her stomach. Her mother fears she was going to have a stroke or a nervous breakdown and made an appointment for her with the family doctor for the following day. “I don’t want to see no doctor, this will pass as soon as we can figure out what we have to do” Lauren would tell her but her mother wouldn’t listen. So just to please her mother Lauren agreed to go and maybe the doctor would give her some meds for her nerves. The following morning Sage agreed to drop her off and said he was going to stop by the jail house and visit Lance. His wife and her father asked him the purpose for his visit and he replied, “Just to ask him why, and to tell him that I forgive him.”  They both looked at him a little suspicious but knowing that Sage was a man of his word, and was going to go either way, they let the matter fly. After dropping off his wife, Sage headed for the jail house. It took a little convincing the Sheriff that he was not going to do anything but talk. The sheriff agreed to let him see Lance if he agree to do it with the bars between them and not in the cell. The Sheriff walks up to Lance’s cell and told him “Someone is here to see you.” Lance asked, “Yea who? Even my own mother hates me right now.” The Sheriff replied, “It’s Sage and he wants to talk to you.” Sage walked up to the cell door and saw Lance who had turned pale when he saw and heard his voice. Sage walked up looking straight at him through the bars and said, “Jesus loves you, Lauren and I forgive you, now as for judge and jury, I can’t answer for them, but you must.” With his face still as pale Lance asked.  “Why would you forgive me?” With a thoughtful look on his face, Sage replied, “I’m not doing it for you but for myself, because I must forgive you so that my Father in heaven will forgive me, and change my thoughts, about paying you back.” With that said Sage walked out of the jail house, got in his truck and headed back to pick up his wife. Sage sat in front of the doctor’s office for about fifteen minute staring out at mid air thinking of all the events which had unfolded in the last four days. Thinking to himself he prayed, “Lord what’s next, right now I don’t think I can handle any more bad news.” The passenger door opened and he looked at his wife who had a serious look on her that he could not read. Sage reached for her hand bag and moved it to the center of the seat and asked, “Are you okay my love?” His wife looked at him without any expression on her face, both hands on her stomach, and then she replied, “We may not have a house, but we have two beats in the oven, to start a home.”

02.25.13

 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 
  26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Mark 11:25-26

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