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The Gifts of Faith - The Quest (Ch. 16)

Updated on July 17, 2022
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Shauna's imagination became her best friend as a little girl. As an adult and writer, imagination fuels her creative spirit.

Nathaniel emptied his pockets and changed into running clothes
Nathaniel emptied his pockets and changed into running clothes | Source

When Nathaniel hung up the phone he emptied his pockets and changed into running clothes. After the draining conversation he’d had with his dad, he needed to burn off his anger and clear his head.

Until this moment he’d forgotten all about Julie’s ring, but there it was sitting on the nightstand with his keys and the loose change he’d pulled out of his pocket. For the first time since Faith handed him the tiny bauble, he felt a connection.

What stories do you have to tell, Mom? What was your life like? How did you feel when you discovered you were pregnant? Did you resent me? Or did you learn to love me?

So many questions ran through his mind.

Nathaniel finished tying his running shoes and headed out the door.


The girls had just finished dinner and were cleaning up the kitchen when the phone rang.

“That was Nathaniel, Sarah. He’s offered to come by this weekend and help us with the gardens.”

“Oh, good; we could really use the help. The way orders have been coming in lately I was worried we might not be able to keep up.” Sarah dried the last plate and put it away. “It’s a beautiful evening, Faith. What do you say we go out back and enjoy the breeze?”

“Sounds heavenly. I’ll grab a bottle of wine and the glasses. C’mon, Lily! Let’s go outside.”


Nathaniel's thoughts carried him down the dirt road and deep into his emotions
Nathaniel's thoughts carried him down the dirt road and deep into his emotions | Source

Nathaniel was running on automatic pilot. He had no direction in mind, but his thoughts carried him down the dirt road and deep into his emotions.

The events of the day played through his mind. What started out as an obscure attempt at a lunch date turned into a revelation that completely blew his mind. Then the confrontation with his dad… well, today would be a day he’d never forget.

I don’t know if I should be angry or grateful. I should have learned about my mother from Dad, not a stranger. Faith had no idea I didn't know who my mother was, but Dad sure did. What the hell? And why wasn't I more persistent when I was growing up? Do you have no balls, Nathaniel? Were you that afraid of your father? Oh, wait a minute. He’s not my father! Yet, he married my mom and gave me a name. That says something, doesn't it?

By the time he rounded the bend for home, Nathaniel felt a bit better, but was confused as to how to deal with his dad.

I think I’ll just let things rest for a while; give us both time to cool down. Maybe Faith knows more than she told me at lunch today. We’ll see what this weekend brings.


Dirt Road in Georgia by Brent Cobb

Lily was a character to watch
Lily was a character to watch | Source

Faith and Sarah sat in silence enjoying the cool breeze and watching Lily chase lightning bugs. Lily was such a character to watch; she was the epitome of life without a care.

Faith spoke first. “Sarah, when I gave Nathaniel Julie’s ring, the vermin I first saw in his soul faded. In fact, by the time we got back to the shop, it was pretty much gone. Then I couldn’t see his soul at all, but all during lunch your rainbow gave off a dim pulse. Did you feel anything?”

“Not that I recall. But then, I’m still not used to Hope’s rainbow. I’m not aware of it when you say you see it. I don’t guess I’ll know what I’m supposed to do with it until I can harness it and put its powers to use.

“During lunch I figured I’d let you do all the talking, for once. I will admit, though, I didn’t mind simply looking at Nathaniel. He’s pretty hot – and quite the charmer.”

Faith rose, called Lily and said over her shoulder, “Yeah, well, we’ll get to know him a little better this weekend. C’mon. It’s getting late. It’s been a strange day. I’m going to chill with a book then call it a night.”

“Yep, right behind you friend.”


Nathaniel arrived Saturday morning with a box of fresh pastries, looking mighty fine in his jeans, tank top, and Georgia Bulldogs baseball cap. Sarah had just started the coffee pot when he arrived.

“You’re just in time, Nathaniel. I’m brewing a fresh pot of coffee. Faith’s out in the barn loadin’ up the wheelbarrows with tools. Just set those on the table. I’ll let Faith know you’re here.”

With that Sarah went out the back door. She grinned to herself when she noticed Lily didn’t follow. She was too busy weaving a figure eight between Nathaniel’s legs.

That’s a good sign, Sarah thought to herself. You can always trust a cat to let you know who you can trust.

Over breakfast, Nathaniel confessed to the girls, “I have to admit I don’t know much about gardening. My old man, as you know, is a contractor. I’m afraid I don’t know much about anything that doesn’t involve a hammer and a saw.”

Faith was humored by Nathaniel’s remark and was quite pleased that she now saw a pale blue glow in place of his previously worm-infested soul. “That’s okay, Nathaniel. It’s not really that hard. Sarah and I have done the cultivating. That’s the hard part. We’ll show you how to harvest the varieties that are ready. We like to transfer them to pots rather than cut them. That way, when we take them to the shop they’re still in soil, alive and well. You’re in good hands; we’ll show you the ropes. We’re just grateful you’ve offered to help.”

When they’d had their fill of coffee and pastries, Faith filled a jug full of water and added some tea bags, then they headed out to the gardens. This was the perfect time. The sun was just coming up over the horizon and the ground was damp with dew – perfect pickin’s for pulling up the harvest without doing damage. Of course, Lily followed to play with the frogs that would soon be seeking daytime shelter.

Nathaniel worked the Birdfoot Violet beds
Nathaniel worked the Birdfoot Violet beds
Faith took on the Hepatica beds
Faith took on the Hepatica beds | Source
And Sarah took on the Rue Anemone
And Sarah took on the Rue Anemone | Source

Did you know?

The color blue has a calming effect. It evokes feelings of trust, dependability, and security. Light blue is associated with tranquility, healing, and understanding.

To learn more about the meaning of colors, read this:

Color Meaning

Faith set the jug on the porch to let the sun do its thing in transforming water to tea. Afterwards, she led Nathaniel to the Birdfoot Violet beds and showed him how to gently pull the plants from the ground using a hand trowel to keep the root ball in tact and place them in a pot. She then moved on to Hepatica while Sarah claimed the Rue Anemone.

The trio worked until noon and made great progress. By then it was time to take a break and replenish their bodies with some nutritional fuel.

“Sarah, I’m going to step over here and pick some peaches. Nathaniel, if you’ll grab the jug of tea and take it into the house, that’d be great. Sarah, there’s some tuna salad in the fridge. I’d appreciate it if you’d make us some sandwiches and I’ll be right in to broil up some peaches.”

When Faith entered the kitchen she was quite impressed. Nathaniel had squeezed and removed the tea bags, added some sugar, and filled glasses with ice before pouring the southern beverage into tall glasses. Sarah was busy toasting bread and layering it with lettuce, tomatoes, and tuna salad.

Faith pitted and cut the fresh peaches in half, added a bit of brown sugar to the wells and put them under the broiler.

Hmmm. This feels like home.

When lunch was served, the threesome attacked it with a vengeance. They didn’t realize what an appetite they’d built up.

Half-way through, Nathaniel piped up with, “So this is where my mom grew up.” He absent-mindedly fingered the tiny ring he’d placed in the coin pocket of his jeans as he spoke. “It feels comfortable here. It feels like home.”

Faith realized Nathaniel’s soul was shining a bright blue. It was apparent he was feeling at peace - perhaps for the first time in his life.

“Faith, I know we still have a lot of work to do, but after lunch would you mind showing me where you found my mom’s ring?”

“Not at all. Are you sure you’re up for it?”

Nathaniel took a gulp of his tea before responding. “Yeah, I think it may help me make sense of all this.”


Faith led the way to the spot she’d found Julie’s ring. As they approached the site she noticed Nathaniel was trembling. Sweat was collecting on his brow.

“Are you okay, Nathaniel? Maybe now’s not the time to show you where I found the ring.” Faith was a little more than concerned as Nathaniel’s face turned ghostly pale.

“Gotta. Do it. N…” Before he could finish speaking, the world went black, his knees gave way and he fell crashing to the ground.

“Oh my God! Nathaniel!” the girls cried in unison as they rushed to his side.

Shauna L Bowling

Refining, Defining, or Rhyming

All Rights Reserved

Willie and Ray have Georgia on their minds

© 2014 Shauna L Bowling


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