A woman who had expected another routine Sunday with her family finds something unexpected after her instincts push her to look behind the altar.
It was just like any other Sunday. Adella made pancakes and eggs for her husband, Shawn, and two kids, after which they prepared for church.
The family had developed a routine over the years for Sundays; it began with pancakes for breakfast, followed by the church service, then a visit to the park, after which they would eat lunch out and then return home fulfilled and tired.
That was all they did on Sundays, and it was what Adella was looking forward to that morning. Little did she know that the day would go differently.
Because all family members knew exactly what to do, they made it out of the house in record time and were able to make the 11 a.m. church service.
Of course, many people beat them to the venue, which meant the best spaces were already taken. So the family of four sat silently in their row at the back of the church as they listened to the priest preach about the importance of living a saintly existence.
Halfway through the sermon, Adella felt the urge to pee and immediately stood up to make her way to the toilet.
“Hey honey, let me through,” she said.
“Is everything alright?” her husband asked.
“Of course, I just really need to pee, you know how my bladder is,” she whispered, then shimmied out of their seat, making her way towards the toilets. She exited the church and walked around the back to another smaller attached building where they were located.
But as she turned the corner, Adella caught a glimpse of a man walking towards the church’s shed. He moved slowly and looked like a fish out of water, but something about him drew her even though she didn’t remember ever seeing him around the church before.
He wore dark clothes that looked slept in, and he seemed uninterested in the sermon that was going on in the church, which only meant he probably wasn’t a member of the congregation.
Just before he disappeared out of view, he looked over his shoulder, giving her a glimpse of his face, freezing her in her tracks, and turning her skin as pale as a ghost’s.
She slowly picked her way towards the church shed to verify what she had seen while trying to convince herself that it was most likely her imagination.
Still, Adella braced herself for what she might find, hoping it wasn’t what she thought it was. When she reached the shed, she pushed the wooden door open with shaky hands.
Holding her breath, she peered inside, blind for a short moment as her eyes adjusted to the dim lighting. She looked around the darkness until she saw the man who chose that exact moment to look up — it was exactly what she feared.
Adella’s mind raced as many thoughts ravaged her, her full bladder completely forgotten. She returned to her seat in a daze, after which she tried to calm herself down.
We’re in the middle of a service girl, suck it up, she told herself.
“Are you okay?” her husband asked again. “You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.”
Adella knew she needed to say something, but she couldn’t bring herself to talk. It still sounded ridiculous to her own ears, and she didn’t want to make a scene.
Still, she knew it was important that she tell someone about the man and fast. She chewed her nails and worried about the man as she waited for the sermon to end, after which she asked her family to wait outside.
“I’d like to speak with the priest,” she told her hubby, who agreed without thinking too much about why she suddenly wanted to see the man of God.
“We’ll be by the car,” he answered her before guiding their kids out of the church.
As soon as they were out of sight, Adella walked up to the front of the church, where the priest was talking to a few other members of the church.
He noticed her approaching and excused himself to greet her. “Adella!” he exclaimed in his boisterous voice. “How’s my favorite lady today?”
“I’m fine sir,” she said, unable to resist a smile.
Pastor Craig had that effect on many people — he was simply a ball of positive energy that made you feel uplifted in his presence. He and Adella’s family had a long relationship since they had been members of his congregation even before they tied the knot.
“Are you sure?” he asked. “You look a little flustered.”
Just when she was about to speak. The man from the shed walked in from the side door and headed towards the altar. Again, Adella felt her heart drop, and it reflected on her beautiful face. Craig watched as her face turned pale, and it worried him.
“Adella, are you okay?” he asked again, but Adella was already moving.
She walked briskly towards the altar, climbed the small steps, placed her hand on the big marble stone altar table, and peeked behind it.
Her actions had drawn some attention, and the church was just silent enough for everyone to hear the gasp that escaped her lips. Then she felt someone grab her shoulder.
Her heart pounded as she remained focused on the sharp features of the man illuminated by the light in the chapel. He was kneeling behind the counter, cleaning.
“It’s him,” she thought. “I’m not mistaken.” She turned around to see the priest’s hand on her shoulder, his face concerned.
“What is it Adella?” he asked.
“Conor?” she whispered. “Conor, is that you?”
Conor was her long-lost brother whom she had not seen in more than two decades. She had spent the last ten years searching for him but had never been successful and was starting to lose hope.
He moved away with their mom when their parents got separated some 22 years ago. It had been an ugly affair, and after it ended, both siblings were separated, never to set eyes on each other again.
Adella stayed with their father, and he took good care of her; however, Conor was not so lucky. Shortly after the divorce, their mother passed away, and he got involved in the wrong crowd as a teenager, becoming a drug addict.
Conor had revealed his predicament to Craig, who had let him sleep in the church a couple of times before he noticed that the young man seemed interested in helping with the upkeep of the church.
He picked the trash, kept the lawns looking green and well managed, and he also cleaned the altars. All that hard work made Craig take a liking to him, committing himself to help the young man find housing while he squatted in the church shed.
“That’s exactly how it is,” Craig told Adella as the three of them sat in his office. Conor had tears in his eyes, still being harsh on himself for not recognizing his own sister.
“Thank you sis,” he coughed out. “For seeing me even when I couldn’t see you.” Conor returned home with his sister but not before they both thanked the pastor for his kindness.
What did we gain from this story?
- Hope is a powerful and important thing to keep alive. Adella had searched for her brother for years, and despite her continued failure, she refused to give up hope that he was somewhere out there.
- Spread positivity and kindness. Pastor Craig was beloved in his church because of his uplifting nature and kind spirit. He exhibited his positive attributes over and over to several people, including Conor, inadvertently putting him in a position to be found by his sister.
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