I HAVE AN ETERNITY AHEAD OF ME
(Intermittent Waves Recorded From The Transformed Heart Of A Woman)
AUNTIE YONNY: LET JESUS LEAD YOU
David Siegfried straightened his son’s tie. Then, placing his huge hands upon Hal’s shoulders, he looked hopefully into his eyes. It had been a long time since the two of them had attended church together, but, he allowed himself to feel like it was just like old times when he took Hal to church as a boy. He knew that they were only going to a meeting, but, David hoped it would lead to Hal’s returning to fellowship and growing closer to God. He had been somewhat surprised, but, very supportive when Hal offered the idea of reaching Rachel through her pastor and prayed God had a hand in placing the idea in his head.
“Are you ready to do this, son?”
Hal took a deep breath.
“As ready as I’ll ever be, Dad. I know that I have to do this. Do you think she’ll show up and what if she’s not alone?
“Son, don’t worry. Rachel cares about her pastor and the people at that church.”
“What…what if Derek comes with her or he sends a bodyguard to be in the room with her?”
“We’ll cross that bridge…when we come to it.”
Feeling increasingly anxious, Hal gave a big sigh. He didn’t know how to face Rachel and part of him didn’t want her to come to the meeting. What would he say to her? How could he even look at her? Guilt had settled within him and made it’s home, hindering him from being led by love and God. His father could tell that he was nervous and conflicted. He knew that his son had to see this through to resolve the conflict that was inside of him. Trying to offer him some comfort and peace of mind, he embraced him and patted his back.
“Don’t worry son, Pastor Allen seems like a good ally. I believe we can count on him to help us if Derek or one of his men show up. He’ll know what to do.”
Their first meeting with Pastor Allen Fitzgerald had been uncomfortable at first. They weren’t sure as to what kind of man he was and if they should trust him with the information they were about to divulge.
Upon first meeting him, many found Allen Fitzgerald to appear to be a very happy-go-lucky person, who talked about God, and who didn’t worry too much about politics and the darker avenues of life. They may even have considered him to be naive and too optimistic, but, those were people who only saw the surface of him with their eyes.
Hal wondered if Pastor Allen would believe their story, so he brought proof of who they were. He had introduced himself and his father and handed him the folder which had been kept secret by Tanya, for so many years. Pastor Allen took the folder, invited them to sit down and then took his time perusing through the folder without saying a word. Then, he looked up at Hal and his father and spoke.
“Well, gentleman. It seems that you two have quite a story to tell. I’d like to hear all of it and how I can be of service to you.”
Hal looked at his father who nodded for him to be the spokesman.
“First, of all, we do plan to make a donation to your church. Honestly, but, we’re here for another reason, also.”
“I appreciate your gesture, , but, that isn’t necessary, Mr. Siegfried. The pretext under which you arranged our meeting was dishonest. Was it not?”
“I can explain that…uh…we…” Hal looked at his father. “I mean, I had to do that for security reasons, as I will explain to you.”
“Take your time. I’m all ears.”
“I don’t know how to put this… First we need your assurance that what we tell you won’t leave this office or it could put you, your family, this church, and others in danger.”
“Well, it looks like you’ve already made that decision for me by showing up at this church, being in my office, and exposing me to this information.”
“I-I…I’m sorry, Pastor Fitzgerald. We’ll just leave, now…”
“No, Mr. Siegfried, don’t leave. I just want to make sure that we are both accountable for our actions and to one another. You can not come here and ask me to put my life on the line and endanger those around me, if you don’t understand that you owe me the same accountability, just as we owe it to Christ.”
Hal looked down in guilt and shame.
“I’m not trying to shame you, Mr. Siegfried. My intention is to lift you up to a higher understanding of relationships and to help you understand that this is not just a business arrangement.”
Solemnly, Hal looked up at Pastor Allen.
“I understand and I apologize.”
“Apology accepted. Now, let us go about the Lord’s work. Tell me everything and not just what you think I need to know. Tell me about the relationships involved and the status of those relationships.”
Hal looked at the pastor curiously, wondering how the pastor new that their problem dealt with relationships, then, he began describing his meeting with Miriam Barrett and Tanya Yanovich. By the time he came to telling him about Miriam and Arturo’s unsolved murders and the attack on Tanya, Pastor Allen was already intrigued by the story. Hal went on to talk about his visit to Attorney Wellington’s office and finding out that they were the descendants of President Willard Graves. When, Hal’s father was introduced into the story, David Siegfried began helping Hal to tell the story and filled in the blanks where Hal had missed something.
Throughout the story, they had skipped around mentioning Rachel, making Pastor Allen wonder why they had come to him for help. But, then, both of them stopped talking and looked at one another.
“Is there something you’re afraid to tell me?”
Hal knew that it was his responsibility to speak up, but, once again, lowered his head.
“Fear and shame are not of God, son. We are to confess our sins to one another in order to free ourselves of guilt and shame and prevent becoming a slave to pride and evil.”
Hal choked up and began trembling, trying to hold himself together. His father grabbed his shoulder to comfort him.
“Uh..R-Rachel…” Her name was all Hal could manage to say as he covered his face
Pastor Allen’s demeanor changed to one of grave concern upon the mention of Rachel’s name. He leaned forward across his desk.
“Rachel? Are you talking about Rachel Montgomery who is a member here? Is she alright?”
Hal tried to gathered himself together and held onto the arms of the chair. Seeing that he was unable to answer, David replied.
“We were hoping you could tell us that. We’ve been forbidden to contact or see her, by Derek Graves.”
“Yes…our…our cousin. We’d be putting her in danger if we try and go to her job at The Daily. But, we have to talk to her and tell her she’s in danger. We know Derek and the others are behind the murders and the attempt to murder me at the jail. He threatened to harm Rachel and the baby if we don’t give the money to him and the Barretts.”
David looked to Hal as if to say that this is where he needed to take over, again.
“Pastor Allen, Rachel is pregnant with my baby.”
“So that’s why she hasn’t been in church. I didn’t expect Derek Graves to continue coming, but, I thought she would. Rachel had been a dedicated servant of God.”
Hal looked away from him, again feeling shame and guilt. David felt compelled to defend Rachel, as if she were his own child.
“She still is Pastor Allen, pain and heartache just caused her to lose her way. That’s why we have got to help her and the baby. She doesn’t know that Hal and Derek are related. We couldn’t tell her and now it’s…it’s a matter of life and death. Derek has threatened to harm her and the baby, if we don’t give him and the Barretts the money.”
“And the Barretts are your…”
“Cousins.” Hal and David interjected, chiming together.
“Well this is just one big family feud, isn’t it?”
“Yes, Pastor, and Derek has already gotten rid of one person from the opposing faction and plans to get rid of the rest of us, if he can.”
Pastor Allen looked long and hard at Hal, then asked.
“Hal, is there anything else I need to know, up to this point? What happened between you and Rachel?”
Not used to bearing his soul and feeling as if he were on trial, Hal looked at his father for support, then turned back to Pastor Allen.
“It…it was a…a…misunderstanding. I couldn’t tell her about what was going on in my life. I-I-I was…uh…afraid for her safety. So, she began not to trust me and started seeing Derek, not knowing we were cousins.
“After the two of you had sex and you impregnated her?”
“Yes, afterward. I was in love with her and I thought she was in love with me. I told her to stay away, but, she came to the hospital one night…and…and..it just happened. Then, she got mad at me because I was working with a rival newspaper and put her job in jeopardy, so she broke it off with me. We didn’t know she was pregnant at the time. It was too soon.”
Hal’s father broke into the conversation.
“I found out by accident when I saw her at one of Derek Graves’ campaign rallies. I persuaded her to tell Hal, but, when…when she came to the house…well…We found out at the same time that Hal and Zenobia were together. She and I saw them kissing and she ran out of the house. I continued seeing her and offered help for her and the baby, but, she wouldn’t let me tell Hal that she was pregnant. She said that she would tell him when she was ready.”
Pastor Allen looked down and chuckled, shaking his head. No doubt he had heard similar stories about women who were pregnant out of wedlock not wanting the father to know until they were ready, as if it were their decision, alone. However, with the grandfather of the father involved, David knew that Pastor Allen probably thought their story was a strange one indeed–a doozy.
Pastor Allen was thinking, but, about the many young girls and women, even older women, whom he had encountered who kept their pregnancy from the father out of fear or out of spite and malice. He couldn’t imagine Rachel being filled with so much hate, so, she must be living in fear. He brought his attention back to David and the problem at hand.
“Pastor, we’ve got to stop Rachel before she marries Derek. She told me that she’s marrying Derek because he’s good to her and he would be good to her child. But, we know that Derek doesn’t really love her and is only trying to get back at Hal. We know he’s as prejudice as the rest of the Graves Family, present company not included, and he’s a danger to my grandchild.”
“So, let me jump into the story at this point. You and your son have come here to ask me to contact Rachel so that you can finally tell her the truth about everything and persuade her to leave Derek. Am I right?”
Hal and David looked at one another and together, nodded their heads in approval.
“OoooKAY! Now that I know why you are here, let me fill you in on what I know…
Rachel and Derek were coming here together for a month, then, Derek stopped coming. A month later, Rachel stopped coming. Me and some of the other members have called her and been to her apartment, but, have been unable to reach her. What makes you think she’ll talk to me now, especially since I know what happened?”
David looked at the pastor with pleading eyes.
“We-we-we can only hope, Pastor. We’d like you to set up a meeting here at the church where we can talk to Rachel with you, away from Derek.”
“And how am I to arrange this meeting if she isn’t answering my calls?”
This time it was Hal replying with pleading eyes.
“We’d like for you to go to The Daily and ask her to come to the church for a meeting with you without mentioning that we will be there, too.”
“You want me to lie for you? I won’t lie for you or anybody! And, we’re not a cult! We’re not in the habit of stalking our members, or harassing them on their jobs!”
“No, noooo! We don’t want you to lie or stalk Rachel. Go to the Daily one time out of concern for her and just…just d-don’t tell Rachel that my dad and I are going to be there at the meeting. That’s all. It’s somewhat deceiving, but, it’s for her own good! To save her life! PLEASE PASTOR!”
“Mr. Siegfried! No need to get hysterical. I’ll pray about it and ask for God’s guidance as to how I can help. If it is within God’s Will, I’ll call you and let you know.
“Thank you, Pastor Allen! We won’t take up anymore of your time. Come on, Dad. Thank you for listening to us. Here’s my card. You can call me on my cellphone, at home, or at the office, anytime, no matter what time it is. Okay?”
“Okay, Mr. Siegfried.”
“And, please call me Hal, my father is Mr. Siegfried. I hear that enough at work.”
The three gentleman smiled and shook hands, then, Hal and his father started to leave.
“Wait Hal, I need to ask you a few questions.” He looked at David. “Alone, please.”
David left and was happy to have the time to pray and meditate in the sanctuary. He also hoped the pastor would counsel his son and bring him closer to God. Pastor Allen closed the door and motioned for Hal to take a seat.
“This won’t take long, Hal. I know this must be very difficult for you, coming here and sharing your most intimate thoughts and secrets. But, also living with what you have done. Having two women pregnant simultaneously can be a huge burden to bear, alone. You’ve got businesses to run, marriage to think about, and people around you who are depending upon you for many things. How are you handling everything, right now?”
Hal thought for a moment, trying to overlook the fact that he was talking to a stranger, then answered as he thought he should answer.
“I’m doing the best that I can.”
“And Zenobia, the woman that you’re living with?”
“Hal thought about Zenobia hiding in the gazebo, day after day, and ignoring everyone. We’re not doing so well.”
“Hal, you said you couldn’t tell Rachel about your true identity, but…, who benefited most from that? —You or Rachel? If you can’t answer that now. I’d like for you to think about it. You also said that you were in love with Rachel and she was in love with you, but, now, you’re marrying Zenobia and she’s marrying Derek. What kind of love did you have for one another that made it so easy for the two of you to turn your backs on one another?
And, on top of that, all of this other stuff. The murder of your cousin and a security guard. Your father almost killed and having to kill a man. In order for you to gain the world, as your aunt and cousin planned, to further their agenda, filled with lies, deception, vengeance and hate, what will you do next, Hal Siegfried? Will you lose your soul? Are you ready to go that far?”
Hal broke down in tears.
“I feel like I’ve already lost it and Rachel. I know that I have never stopped loving her, but, I don’t know what to do now. I can’t leave Zenobia. I want to be a father to my child.”
“And, what about the child you have with Rachel? I think you know what to do Hal, but, you haven’t had the courage to begin doing what is right, until now. You didn’t do what was right in the beginning, because you were afraid of what you would lose. You didn’t trust God to see you through all of this and invited darkness into your life, just like Miriam and Tanya. Brought up in the ways of the Graves Family, that’s the way they were used to living and convinced you that that was the way that you had to live, also. But, while they lived that way, did they have abundant and eternal life?
Everything done in the dark must come to light and answer to The Light, son. Plots conceived in fear carry darkness to others. You must be driven by faith instead of fear. You must be worthy of a God-fearing woman to stand beside her and build her up instead of tearing her down. Our ways are not like God’s ways. Perhaps, God is building you up to be worthy for His servant and as His servant.
More than your being afraid of Rachel knowing that you were a Graves and being in danger, you needed to fear God. Now, she has been delivered into the hands of your enemy–a Graves. How ironic! If that’s not the hand of God, I don’t know what is. God is trying to tell you and the whole Graves Family something! mm-mm-MMM! –A Black man in the Graves Family! My Lord, How Great Thou Art!
Can’t you see? It’s not about what you want Hal. It’s not about the money, inheritances, businesses, foundations, or vengeance. It’s about what is right in God’s eyes! Things must be set RIGHT as GOD sees them and you must become holy and righteous. Where is your FAITH Hal? Allow God into your heart and you can’t go wrong! Seek His Son and let Jesus lead you. It’s time to follow the RIGHT and the RIGHTEOUS path and example! Only He can show you The Truth, The Way, and The Life…”
Drenched in tears from the Truth that had been spoken to him through Pastor Allen, Hal cried out.
“I DON’T KNOW IF I KNOW HOW TO DO THAT ANYMORE!………Things…things have gotten too out of hand and…and…I can’t s-s-stop what has already been started!”
Pastor Allen stared at Hal with penetrating, wide, bulging eyes, that seemed to be full of wrath and able to see right through him.
“Tell me more!” He demanded.