Tea and Leaves

Eli returned to the table with two hot mugs of tea. “Since I don’t know what you take in your tea, I brought some packets of sweetener.”

“Thank you. I take a little sugar. I am a Southern lady after all.” Krysta smiled and began to sweeten her tea. “This view is amazing. Are you writing about vacationing here?”

“No, I’m writing a novel about looking for love.” Eli watched Krysta’s face to gauge her reaction.

“Well, that sounds interesting. Are you writing about personal experiences or is it a fiction?” Krysta asked. She began to feel uncomfortable because she was not wearing her wedding band. She usually wore a band to discourage potential love interests. She was a widow with three young children.  “The last thing I need is a new relationship,” she thought.

“You could say a little bit of both. I have pursued numerous relationships that have failed for some reason or another and decided to write a novel about my experiences. I have incorporated places I have visited and created fictitious characters based on some of the women in my past. I’m also incorporating some ideas from other men I know with similar experiences,” Eli explained.

“Sounds like this might be a good book to read. I love to read.”

“Oh, what types of books do you like to read?”

“First, my Bible. Then I read Christian living books, spiritual growth books, and I’m almost embarrassed to say I read historical romance novels.” Krysta smiled into her cup of tea.

“Really? Why feel embarrassed about what you like to read. I have read some very good historical romance books. Who are your favorite authors?”

“If you were to peek at my book shelves and eReader apps, you will find I read almost everybody. Reading Cynthia Heald, T. D. Jakes, Charles Stanley, Cindy Jacobs, Jack Deere, Henry & Richard Blackaby, and Liz Curtis Higgs changed my life.”

“Wow, what a diverse group of Christian leaders — Experiencing God to laughing your head off with Higgs. I like that. Have you read anything by Ever Faith?”

“Yes! I recently bought Hope and a Prayer. I just started and I love it so far. Do you know her?”

“Him. Yes, I know him very well.” Eli smiled, wiggling his eyebrows.

“Him? Are you Ever Faith?” Krysta squealed.

“Yes, guilty.”

“Oh, I get so much out of that book. I love how you are sharing people’s faith stories.”

“What is your favorite so far?”

“I have to say My Heart’s Desire. What a wonderful story about God answering prayer.  I just finished that one this morning.” Krysta sighed. “God is so wonderful. Is that a true story?”

“Yes, I know the family very well. You know, when you think about it, everyone has a story to tell about what God has done for them. They may not know how to share it creatively, but everyone has a story.”

“You’re right. I’m glad you figured out a way to share the ones I’ve read so far. I’m feeling less depressed.”

“Why are you depressed?”

“My best friend died about ten months ago. It was unexpected. We did everything together. Her birthday is tomorrow and I decided to take a trip like we had planned this year. She would be turning thirty and we were going to celebrate all weekend. We would not have chosen this place, but I wanted to be alone. I chose a place close enough from home to drive instead of flying off to some tropical paradise.”

Eli listened attentively as Krysta described her friendship with Shakyra and some of their adventures when they graduated from high school. “So, what is your faith story?” He asked when she finished.

“Which one?”

“You said reading your list of authors changed your life. What did you mean by that?”

“Oh, that’s easy. One day I was visiting a small Christian book store in San Diego looking for a Bible study. Someone had given me a book about being a Proverbs 31 lady and I laughed and thought, “Who could do all of that?” After I finished the book, I was hungry for more.  I can still remember standing and spinning a rack of books when found Becoming a Woman of Excellence. I figured I might as well go for it. I learned so much about myself and what God really expected from me. It was life changing. What impressed me the most is learning that Jesus prayed for me long before I was born. It doesn’t matter what I’ve gone through, I keep remembering He is with me and I am not alone.”

“So why did you say you came here to be alone?”

“Because, I know I’m not really alone. I came here to get some direction from God about what I am to do next. I recently finished college and I know that I have something more to do than what I’m doing right now. Coming here is meant to be the beginning of what lies ahead. Does that make sense?”

“Yes, it does.” Eli and Krysta sat quietly and watched a pontoon carrying a family glide across the lake. They watched as the family chatted and took pictures of the fall foliage reflecting on the lake.

Krysta stood up to leave and said, “Sitting here by this lake reminds me that we are always transitioning. We really are like the trees planted by rivers of water in Psalms 1. Thank you for sharing this spot with me. I’d better head back to my cabin.”

“You’re welcome to visit this spot while you’re here. I hope I get a chance to see you again before you leave. I enjoyed your company.”

“We’ll see. Thank you for the tea and I look forward to reading your new novel.” They shook hands and Krysta returned to the trail leading to her cabin. Eli watched as Krysta disappeared into the trees and thought, “Yes, I’m looking forward to meeting you again, pretty lady. I wonder if you will be the final chapter in Looking for Love.”

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