Thank you all for the outpouring of support after chapter 75 of LNDtH2. I'm working my way through the email and will get them all answered today. I don't pretend that this redeems me for the suffering that occurred in the past three chapters. Things get better. All okay? There are no quick fixes, but there is improvement and there are setbacks. Yes, undoubtedly more gut-wrenching, teary-eyed scenes, but a steady progress toward something more and better.
I've been toying with a story idea that may or may not come to fruition. In LNDtH, I've often mentioned Jean Duval's membership in the Freemasons, Ariel Duval's membership in Eastern Star, and Nicolette Duval's membership in Job's Daughters. I'm not a Mason and thank those who are who have helped me and reviewed my comments about them. But the mention of Job's Daughters kept driving me back to consider the Book of Job, perhaps one of the earliest books of the Bible to have been written. In it, Job maintains his innocence before God in the face of Satan's temptations. He loses his wealth. He loses his sons and his daughters. He is covered with boils. He sits on an ash heap as four counselors advise him to beg forgiveness for his sins that caused this calamity to befall him. He continues to maintain his innocence until the last counselor asks who he thinks he is to question God. Job says, "I have spoken once and I have spoken twice, but I will speak no more."
Satan loses the battle and God rewards Job's faithfulness by restoring to him more wealth than he had before, better health than he had before, seven sons, and three daughters. "Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers." We are left believing that Job, in his last 140 years of life, was happy and prosperous and saw four generations of grandchildren.
As if that makes up for his first family having all been killed.
"Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead!"
Do seven more sons and three beautiful daughters make up for the heartrending grief of a father who has lost his children? Are we left to believe there is an end to that suffering?
I'll probably never write that story. I'm a father. It would break my heart. But when I deal with a wound like Brian and his clan have suffered, I won't fall into the trap of saying "all better now."
So, yeah. It's not over for them. There are still evil people in the world. They will remember what has been done and work to make the world a better place for their children. They will heal and become stronger. They will grieve and rise victorious and not let the grief rule their lives. They will raise children that continually surprise and delight and terrify them.
That's all I can offer.