* * * *
After the services, the church family met as usual for a shared dinner.
“I think it’s best if we head on home,” Jacob said. “No need to fellowship with others around good food if you can’t talk with them.”
“Jah,” Eva said.
As Jacob helped Eva up into their buggy Mamm Stoltzfus and Rebecca hurried towards them.
“Wait up. I can’t let you leave without giving you my Sunday hug,” Mamm Stoltzfus said.
“Aren’t you afraid you’ll get in trouble with Daed?” Jacob said as he quickly embraced his mother.
“You let me worry about that. First things first,” Mamm Stoltzfus said. “Forgive me, Eva, for not visiting you more often, but things have been quite tense around the haus lately.”
“Think nothing of it,” Eva said, giving her mother-in-law a hug. “We love you, and you’re in our thoughts and prayers.”
“As you are in mine,” Mamm Stoltzfus said. “Here, let me hold that precious boppli. She’s getting fatter. Look at that fat dimple. May Gott’s richest blessings be upon you, my child. May He use you to be a conduit of blessings to all who come across your path.” She made the sign of the cross on Kezia’s forehead and kissed her tenderly.
Eva’s eyes filled with tears as did Rebecca’s.
“I’ll be stopping by tomorrow, and I’ll be available to watch her this week,” Rebecca said.
Eva smiled in appreciation. “I’d love for you to, but I don’t want to cause any problems between you and Daed.”
“It’s not like I’ll be watching her at our haus. Besides, I have to live my life even though I am still living under his roof. Plus, we won’t be meeting on the church property, so we’ll be free to get together,” Rebecca said.
“Which reminds me,” Jacob said, “no communicating while on church property. We’d best be going. I don’t want to cause any problems for you two. Mamm, if anything comes up, please don’t hesitate to let me know.”
“I will. We love you.”
Mamm Stoltzfus and Rebecca locked arms as they watched Jacob, Eva, and Kezia ride off the church grounds onto the road.
“Come, Mamm. Let’s go eat,” Rebecca said.
“Nee. Who can eat at a time like this,” Mamm sighed.
* * * * *
Jacob and Eva had not too long settled down in their house when they heard a sharp knock on the door.
“Ant Maude,” Jacob said after opening the door. “Come on in. I thought you’d be eating with the others.”
“Ach, nee. I’d rather eat with two outcasts who aren’t afraid to take a stand for what they believe than with a bunch of conformers conforming against what they know to be right just to keep the peace. That’s a false peace I’d say.” She handed the box she held in her hands to Eva. “I brought us some food to fellowship over. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to eat.”
The threesome laughed. It was just like Ant Maude to put some humor in a serious situation. “Sometimes a good laugh will remove the cloudiness from your heart. Plus, I did not want them to eat up all my zucchini bread and you not get any.”
At Eva’s request, Ant Maude took her place at the table while Eva set the dishes, eating utensils, and cups on the table. Conversation flowed freely.
“You know, many at the church are envious of you both—especially the younger ones and even a few my age. I’d say about two-thirds of them are silently rooting for you both. They are with you, as you are in your own way saying what they are too afraid to say and that is: ‘It’s time for a change; we want to move forward in some things.’ They are just waiting for someone with some backbone to lead the way. Both of you may be the ones.”
Ant Maude’s words left Jacob and especially Eva encouraged.