Thank you to all who read, especially those who have taken the time to review, and particularly those who have stayed with me through all of my work and encouraged me, thank you, bless you, love you.
From the time of becoming an Eagle Scout and reading his essay, Seth began to get well. Bella couldn't explain it, but she and Edward watched it happen. Edward said he knew. A healed Spirit brings health to the body. Inside, Seth came together.
And outside Seth's natural good looks had finally kicked in. He claimed he would never be as handsome as Edward and loved to keep a running tab on how many women, according to him, tried to hit on his step-father. But what Seth was…whether he knew it or not, was radiant. He was tall and strong. He was compelling and soulish and wiser than any other eighteen year old Bella could compare him to.
He had found his message at fifteen. Then his cause, found him. The local press had sent a reporter to Seth's Eagle Scout ceremony. With their permission, Seth's essay was printed.
From there Seth was asked to speak. At first it was other scouting events. Then it was churches and then it was schools, civic organizations, and various governmental panels. Almost immediately there was a website and not long after a not for profit foundation.
Over time Edward bought them a stream-lined camper and they traveled as a family to Seth's engagements. Edward supplied the confidence that Seth could do this. He knew first-hand how over-whelming it could be to stand in front of all those up-turned faces and be 'the voice in the room,' 'the voice of hope,' he said. So Seth was never alone, even when Bella could not leave the camper because of little Jane, he made sure Seth was always supported. And over time Seth grew comfortable speaking before crowds. His fear got out of the way and he was free to speak his heart.
And every time they were out, Edward made sure they had fun, saw the country, didn't live twenty-four-seven in the gravity, the sadness, the pain. There was a rhythm, he said, a Sabbath woven in to life. It was one of the rules, he said, one of the things they couldn't ignore. They had to nurture joy.
But try as Edward did to stay in the background it was only a matter of time before he was drafted alongside Seth, front and center. Seth liked to remind him about the burning bush. He used that analogy so many times Edward said in his case it was more of a forest fire. He wouldn't consider going deeper in without Bella's blessing. "You have to do it," she said. "It's always been your gift. It's time."
For Edward the return to this gap in humanity's wall was surrender. This call to serve lit up his path and chose him and he kicked off his shoes, his own ideas, his life had never been his own. God he might ignore, but not when he used Bella. Not when he used Seth. Those were the voices that pierced him, God's flesh and blood, oh He was good, that old man in the sky, Edward said.
When Bella thought of the three of them, the paths they had taken, the convoluted twists and turns, the death, the near death, the running away, the struggle to trust, she knew her family was the embodiment of everything Edward and Seth had to say. That's what gave their words so much power-they were the living essay. They were the overcomers…the broken miracles…the testifiers…the contradictions to hate….the breakers of evil's fury.
She had been a woman…on the beach. She had seen his approach and had strolled, casually, her heart thudding, her breaths quick, and then…then he had given his name. "I'm Edward Cullen."
He was her hope…and her prayer.
And she'd leapt…and grown wings….and they'd landed…redeemed.
And now they were spreading it around.