Tuesday, August 9, 2011

''TREASURING EMMA'' by Kathleen Fuller

'Treasuring Emma' by Kathleen Fuller is a heartwarming, emotionally layered story, aiming to discover the truth that lies hidden within every heart. It plumbs the deep-rooted depths of the Amish faith and explores the most intimate struggles of the human heart in relation to its faith.

When Adam, Emma's first love, goes away in search of better pastures, Emma is heartbroken. Later when Adam finally returns, Emma is determined to keep her heart and emotions under firm control, as she struggled to cope with the thorn of grief that pierced her heart. First her father's death and then, her mother's. It almost seemed too much to bear.

Left bereft and confused, Emma fought to control her rapidly changing emotions. She built a thick, emotional wall protectively around her, for her own safekeeping. All she wanted was to be left alone as she struggled to come to terms with her incessant grief. With both her parents gone, Emma was forced to face a bleak future. Poignant memories left her helpless and defenceless. An emptiness gnawed pitifully at her heart.

Emma didn't have anything of value left in her solitary life. There was absolutely nothing at all. Her life, once so full of hope and faith, had been shattered into the bare core of an empty shell. Would she ever feel whole again? Emma longed for her life to be restored to the way it was when her parents were alive and well. Those were the days of peace and serenity when life was tranquil, and there were no cares at all. Would the good old days ever come back again?

There was only one person in the world whom she wished to see. Only his kind-hearted words could soothe her broken heart and assuage her grief. But he had walked out of her life two years ago, and she had absolutely no hope that he would ever walk back in again. If Adam and Emma were ever to be together, God would have to make that happen in His own time and way.

An invisible aura of dejection hung over Emma. This certainly was not the brave and courageous Emma everyone knew. She had a dare-devil reputation for never refusing a challenge, and she adamantly refused to accept difficult circumstances without attempting to change them for the better. Emma's heart ached pitifully. She knew that she should be taking her worries to God. But on second thoughts, why should she even bother when apparently God had taken so much from her? Strange thoughts plagued Emma's mind and gave her no respite.

Emma knew deep down in her heart that God loved her and wanted the very best for her life. She had lost everything that was dear to her heart. And it suddenly occurred to her that now she would be expected to be thankful to God because of it. She was immersed in sadness and grief. Time stood still for her, the one thing that had not been taken from her. She was hurt, shattered and grieving. She clung to the memories she had left. Like her grandmother, Emma had lost the ones she loved most in her life. Yet her grandmother could thank God in her deepest sorrow and celebrate His mercy in her grief. Emma struggled to emulate her good example.

Of all the people Emma knew, Adam was the only one who could understand her. His words cut through her pain to reach into her heart and give her much-needed comfort and solace. He himself had no idea how easily he could do it. A kind look, a friendly touch, a smile often worked wonders in Emma's aching heart. Memories of their relationship came flooding back, driving an arrow of pain into Adam's heart. Time had not healed the wound. Adam would have to find his own answers, in his own way.

"There's only one thing I am sure of," said Emma. The expression of misery in her eyes nearly broke Adam's heart. "I'm not in control of what happens in my life. I don't have a choice."
"It's about you having choices," clarified Adam. "About you knowing who is in control of your life."
"You will never be alone. You will always have God."

"God will provide." Emma did not know how. It certainly was not her place to know. It was definitely her place to hold on to her faith and accept the circumstances in her life as bravely as she could. She struggled to control her tears. At one time, she would have been sorely tempted to refuse the help people offered out of their compassion and generosity. Her innate pride would have kept her entangled in a bitter snare. Not anymore. This was the wonderful way in which God provided. Through people who loved God and who cared enough to give of themselves wholeheartedly. Emma would accept the help they offered so selflessly, and fervently hope that at some stage of her own life, she would be able to offer the same compassion and help to someone else in need.

Emma was a brave and courageous woman who knew her own heart and mind. It had taken her a while to get there, but she knew the truth now. "God never breaks His promises. He is true to us, and requires that we be true to Him and to one another." A total transformation. This was certainly what it was all about. To be able to connect with God, family and community. To find peace, contentment and love in God's will. Nothing else was important. In joy and sorrow, today and tomorrow, the Lord was present, and He made all the difference.

Adam finally made an important discovery. "I finally know what's important. What's real. What I've been searching for. Without family, I'm empty. Without God, I'm nothing. Without love, I can't survive."

© Miriam Jacob

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