Pieces of the Child

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Chapter 85: Merciful Hands
(by NativeRose, added on 16 November 2007 04:32 AM)

At the same time God was comforting Kyle's broken heart, He was orchestrating another miracle across town. Corrine quietly left her house and tried to get Heidi's attention. Heidi was slowly making her way down the street again. This time, she saw Corrine, so she lowered her window and waited for the older woman to speak.
"I saw you drive past three times in one hour, and I just wanted to know if something is wrong."
"Oh, um..." Heidi stammered, not wanting to reveal the truth.
"Give her physical shelter," was what God seemed to impress upon her.
"Would you like to stay with us tonight?" Heidi did not respond verbally, though the expression on her face displayed complete shock.
"Um, what? Seriously?"
"Of course! It's cold out here tonight, and it's getting late. You were saying that you want to meet us at church tomorrow; why not stay with us tonight, and we can go together in the morning?" Heidi turned away so Corrine couldn't see the tears that had filled her eyes. God was surely looking out for Heidi. She was worried because she was coming down with something, and her old, drafty shack was not conducive to healing. Her freezing home and inadequate furniture, sanitation and nutrition could turn her cold into pneumonia. Perhaps this lady's kindness was God's answer to her prayer. Heidi removed the keys from the ignition and slowly got out of her car.
"Great! I'm so glad you can stay with us tonight! You look exhausted, and it will be easier, not to mention, more enjoyable, for us to go to the church together in the morning." Heidi's eyes overflowed, and she just couldn't stop the tears. This woman, who would have been a complete stranger if not for her involvement in Kennan and Bethany's lives, was extending such compassion toward her.
"I'm grateful," she managed to say in a tremulous voice.
As Corrine put some water on to boil, Heidi finally gathered the courage to tell her.
"I...I mean...that is to say..." she stopped rambling. There was no way Corrine would know what she was talking about. She took a deep breath and tried again, "I, um, actually don't live in a home as I intimated earlier. I've been living in the northern part of town, and you know what that means." Heidi lifted her head and forced herself to look at Corrine's face. She didn't know what she expected, but Corrine's expression surprised her. There was no hint of judgment, disdain or anger; she looked at Heidi with such compassion that...
"Mommy! heidi's thoughts scattered when she heard Bethany call out to Corrine. "Mommy! Hurry!" Bethany continued screaming, and now her words were punctuated with sobs. Jamison rushed out of the room and toward the sound of his daughter's terrified voice.
"Kennan!" Bethany sobbed, pointing a shaking finger toward Kennan's bed. Jamison quickly turned to see what had scared her, and he recognized the signs of a seizure.
Jamison called to Corrine, though his voice was much calmer than Bethany's had been. When she arrived, they became so engrossed in seizure precautions that they didn't realize Heidi stood in the doorway. I did this, her heart screamed. Bethany and Kennan have birth defects, and it's all my fault. I wish drugs had never been a part of my life. She forced the anguished thoughts from her mind, as she heard Jamison and Corrine's soft voices.
"Mommy, it was like what happens to Sierra at school! That looks so scary!" Bethany wailed in fear. Jamison still stood beside Kennan's bed, touching the boy so he would have a point of reference. Thus, Corrine was able to talk to Bethany.
"One time, Sierra had to go to the hospital after a seizure. Will Kennan have to go in the doctor's truck?"
"You mean, the ambulance?"
"Yeah, that..."
"I think Kennan will be all right; this seizure is over," she turned toward Kennan, who was already falling asleep, "it's your bed time, too. Tomorrow is Sunday, and you know what that means!"
"Sabbath school!" Bethany's voice made up for her difficulty with motor functions.
"Kennan is sleeping, so we have to use what voices?"
"Inside!" Bethany whispered. She maneuvered her walker to Kennan's bed, reached over the bedrail and touched his covered foot, saying, "Thank you, Jesus, for making Kennan all better." She released his foot and made her way to the door. It was then that she noticed Heidi. "You're still here?"
"Yes," was all that Heidi could say.
"She's going to stay with us so we can all go to church together tomorrow!" Corrine said brightly, as she directed Beth toward her room. As she got into her bed, she thanked God once again for helping Kennan "feel better after the yucky shaking."

When Corrine peeked into Kennan's room, she found Jamison changing the lethargic child. he indicated that he could handle the task and that she should go to Heidi.
When they were again seated in the Ross's kitchen, Corrine flawlessly switched from her role as a mother to that of a friend.
"I have a friend who works with an agency that helps people in situations like yours. Would you like to try to contact her on Monday? Actually, you can meet her at church tomorrow if you want to."
"And...what does she do?" Heidi's mind was still processing what she had just seen.
"She can help you find appropriate housing, medical care, etc. You look completely exhausted. I'll show you where you'll be staying tonight so you can get some sleep."
Twenty minutes later, Heidi snuggled into warm blankets, thankful that she wasn't sleeping on a hard, lumpy matress and that she wouldn't have to shiver through the night. She thought of Anela, Anna, Jane and Jenny, who were teachers and aides; Candice, Emily, Janelle and Sariah, who were the specialists, and Brandon, Amy, Jamison and Corrine, the families. Kennan had such a great support system, and for that, Heidi was grateful. Still, each time she saw Bethany with her walker or Kennan in his wheelchair, she was reminded of the huge role she played in creating them that way. These people took such great joy in interacting with Heidi's biological children, and Beth and Kennan responded in kind. There were outstretched hands all around her children, just waiting to let God heal through them. Now, those merciful hands extended to Heidi, despite what she had done.

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