Today, we are happy to share the next chapter in our online novel, Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage by Cheryl Dickow.

Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage was a true labor of love for author Cheryl Dickow whose own passions for the Holy Land and the Jewish roots of the Catholic faith are almost unquenchable. Elizabeth is the first work published by Bezalel Books which Cheryl established in late 2006; it centers on a woman whose life is at a crossroads and her realization that the only way to get back on track is to get to the roots of her faith—in the Holy Land—if it isn’t too late. Since the release of Elizabeth, Bezalel Books has published 40 additional titles that are perfect for the Catholic home, school or parish. Elizabeth is available in paperback or in Kindle format. Cheryl is also the author of the recent non-fiction book Our Jewish Roots: A Catholic Woman’s Guide to Fulfillment Today by Connecting with Her Past

Chapter Thirty-One

May the favor of the Lord our God be ours. Prosper the work of our hands! Prosper the work of our hands!

Psalm 90:17

Luke and the boys spent the morning before Liz’s return walking around the house and cleaning. The boys were vacuuming and dusting their rooms while Luke did the same for the living room. Luke had Joseph shaking bathroom rugs while Sammy washed the bathroom floors. Each was deep in thought as the chores were being carried out.

Sophia was working. Her job at the local library had proved to be a true blessing. She checked books in and out and shelved returns. She had told Luke and Beth that there were many times, throughout the day, that she had time on her hands and was allowed to work on her homework, scholarships, or just plain read.

Joseph thought of how much he missed his mom and felt a good amount of remorse at how often he had spoken rudely to her in the past few months. He had heard and seen his friends get away with it and even though he knew better, he gave it his best shot too. He knew it rattled his mom and sometimes he found great pleasure in seeing her squirm.

The hurt would cover her face and she would leave the room as tears welled in her eyes. What is wrong with me? he silently asked himself. What good could come of adding grief to my mother’s life? He made a promise to himself to do his best to stop his mean-spirited behavior towards her and asked God to forgive him. His mother was always telling him to talk to God, that God would listen to him, that God was always there.

Whenever she said these things Joseph would roll his eyes, not trying to hide his disdain for his mother’s constant promotion of God. Now he regretted these reactions to her and hoped God was still there to listen to him.

Luke watched Joseph pensively complete his chores and was tempted to ask him what he was thinking about. He thought better of it and didn’t. It looked like Joseph was lost deep in thought and that he might be having some sort of epiphany that Luke didn’t want to interrupt. He turned his attention to Sammy. Seeing that Sammy was also deep in thought, Luke gathered the laundry and made his way to the washer and dryer.

He dropped a sock or two along the way and bending down to pick them up, a shiny little light coming from under the cupboard caught his eye. Piling the clothes on top of the machine, he went to investigate. Picking up Liz’s diamond earring, he remembered both of them searching high and low the previous month for it. She had dropped it when they were getting dressed for a rare night out with friends. She was heartbroken because they were a pair of earrings given to her by her grandmother. The evening had been ruined. Liz was unable to get past her heartache at having lost the earring and Luke had been quite frustrated with her at the time.

He had tried to console her, assuring her that it would turn up, but to no avail. They did everything within their power to be civil towards one another during the evening. They were, after all, with another couple. However, by the time they arrived home, the volcano had erupted and they were no longer speaking to one another. Liz did her best to sleep on the couch but finally gave in when her back began aching. Once back in bed, she lay motionless on her side, careful not to move in any way that she might inadvertently touch Luke. It took days before they began speaking again, careful to avoid the topic of the earring.

Now here he was, holding it in his hand. His heart raced as it filled with his regretful words and actions towards his wife. How could I have treated her so unkindly? Liz has had no one in her young life who loved her except her grandmother, and I cared more about my evening than her heartache!

Liz was a great proponent of Christ’s power of forgiveness and as Luke loaded the washing machine, he found himself counting on it as he asked for Christ’s hand to intervene in his marriage.

Join us next week for the next chapter of Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage by Cheryl Dickow.  Can’t wait for more?  Check out Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage at Amazon!