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Chapter Twenty-two: The Devil in the Details

Larry began teaching me about boats and the commercial fishing business.  After I quit my job, we were together all day inspecting the boat, a worn out old tub that ought to have been sunk, and getting equipment either repaired or replaced.  We rapidly developed a good working relationship.  I admired his physical prowess and mechanical skills and his keen observations about life.

Larry was a fundamentalist Christian.  Issues of God and salvation, the saved and the unsaved, became a main topic of our conversation.  He had reasonable arguments and I was curious because he was, indeed, always in a good mood, always positive, and seemed to just glow with strength and good will.

As we talked and sweated in the heat, I started thinking maybe I had not been quite fair to God.  I had asked too much.  Larry agreed a change was overdue in my life.  I really needed to give my life to Jesus.  If I did, it was a certainty that everything would change for me.  Happiness was just around the corner.

I was physically and mentally tired.  I was bruised and battered psychologically and spiritually, and I most definitely needed someone to help me with my burden.  “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest…” Those words were the sweetest I had ever heard.

Larry invited us to go to church with him the following Sunday.  It would be nice to take the baby to a clean and wholesome place, full of promise for a better life for us.

Sitting in church beside Larry that Sunday, I watched as he bowed his head and prayed devoutly and opened his hymnal and sang eagerly with the congregation.  The fact that he was a little off key only made his innocent faith that much more appealing.

It was good to be working with someone who was so clearly in God’s favor.  He was strong, hard working, and his faith was like a mighty oak on which I could lean.  Even if I had little faith, his would protect me by virtue of association.  More than that, I was becoming increasingly aware that my little girl needed a father.  It was painful to think of her growing up with no strong and secure male presence.  She had no one but three women who doted on her.  Was that enough?  She adored Larry and followed him around wherever he went.  And he clearly loved children.

Larry thought my courage in not having an abortion when I had been in such a situation was commendable.  He was the first person who had ever expressed such a thing to me.  But, as he pointed out, abortion was murder of an innocent child.

I was stricken by this remark.  Remorse and guilt flooded through me.  In trembling words, I told Larry what I had done.  He took me in his arms and assured me that my sorrow and grief were signs of repentance.  God had already forgiven me.  But now that I understood that to interfere in the will of God was the reason I had suffered so much, I must turn my life around and endeavor to act according to God’s will in all things.  And, God willing, he would be there to help me if I needed him.

There was only one insurmountable difficulty: Larry was married.  We could only be friends.

As the days passed, Larry and I became closer.  He told me how he had been repeatedly thwarted in his efforts to live a life of faith and independence.  His life had been a litany of failures until he found God.  The more I listened, the more I felt that he was like me, struggling to live a life of deep commitment to what was right, but blocked or diverted at every turn.  And it seemed that one of the chief blocks in his present life was his wife.

Dina was an alcoholic.  She constantly made fun of his religion.  She was sexually insatiable and Larry was sure she’d gone elsewhere for satisfaction.  He’d helped her raise her two children from a previous marriage, but now that they’d both left home, she’d become a drunk who had nothing to say to him.  When she did speak, her vile and filthy language offended him to his core.

Hearing him describe his life was so terribly upsetting that I was almost desperate to help, even if only to be there to listen to his problems.

One morning the sickness hit as soon as I moved my head from the pillow.  Oh, God, no!  How could it be?  I hadn’t done anything!  As God is my witness, I had not been touched by a man since the disastrous Christmas party almost a year before.

Or had I?

My mind raced back to the hypnosis session with Richard and the “dream”.  I suddenly realized it had not been a dream.  I was stunned by the import of what I was thinking.  Richard had betrayed me.  He had used me.  He had violated my trust.

And then he had disappeared.  Why?

When I was able to function I went to the kitchen to make coffee.  What was I going to do?  I went to the telephone and went though the whole routine again.  His office phone had now been disconnected and there was no trace of a home phone listing.  How could I find him?  What should I do?  How, in the name of God, could I be in this situation again?

I paced and fretted and finally sank into a chair and began to pray as I had never prayed in my life.

I looked up to see Larry coming up the drive.

I knew what to do.  Larry would be happy, my little girl would have a father, and the new baby would come into the world never knowing she had been conceived in an act of betrayal of trust.  There would be no more abortions.  Acting according to God’s will would be the new plan for my life, and God had just answered my prayers.

And that is truly what I believed.  I didn’t realize that the Devil was in the details.  The trap closed, and I almost didn’t get out alive.

Continue to Chapter 23: In The Forest