We have been without a dog for years. So when some friends asked us to babysit their cocker spaniel Clio, I agreed. As an avid walker it was a treat having her along one Saturday morning.


I had our route all planned out. She and I would begin our jaunt on a path running alongside a riverbed connecting one village to the next, about a three mile round trip. This little walk is a favorite of fishermen, bicyclists, walkers, and mothers pushing strollers.


Starting our trek, we passed an obviously experienced, fisherman. His rod dangled from the river’s edge, a box of lures and bait at his side, the quietness abruptly interrupted by a cyclist clattering past.


Further along we came across two boys beginning to set up their meager fishing lines. Compared to the earlier fisherman these two were novices. Yet their enthusiasm would no doubt bring plentiful rewards.


For the moment the world seemed to be a safe, pleasant place, even going so far as to feel like a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting.


Then the scene changed. Like a curtain closing and opening on the second act of a play, the beauty was broken. Coming toward us was a middle-aged man carrying an open bottle of liquor.



Trying to hide the bottle behind him, he appeared to have the look of “being caught in the act.” His crooked walk, and half-hearted smile, betrayed his behavior. At seven-thirty on a Saturday morning, along the path of peace, a bottle of alcohol is as out of place as snow in summer. As I walked quickly past, I almost sensed him hanging his head in shame. My heart melted with intense sadness. I wondered if he ever imagined as a youth, one who may have even fished from this very river, that he would one day find him self in this state? How he had traveled from his younger years to this station in life? I couldn’t get him out of my mind for the rest of the walk.


It reminded me a little of the original garden, where God created the perfect everything, and then brought in the perfect pair—Adam and Eve. Idyllic was an understatement. Adam could have fished and never been disappointed with a catch. Eve could have walked the paths of peace and never gotten shin splints. Yet the scene was interrupted by the lure of a serpent and mankind has been lured ever since. They went from walking, laughing, sharing jokes, singing around the proverbial campfire in paradise, to the door of their home being closed behind them as they stepped out of Eden in shame.



It’s sad if you think about what happened. Fortunately we have a restoring, loving God, who not unlike the line on a fishing rod, reaches to the depths of our hearts, and brings us back to life. Not with lures or bait but with the gentle tug of forgiveness, faithfulness, and a future of hope.


In “Bethel Manor Reborn”, our hero and heroine James and Clare Blackwell make some serious mistakes. Is it too late for this couple? Will the door of their home shut one or the other out? Or will they turn to God and ask and offer forgiveness? On 5.29.17 the answers to all these questions will be answered. Crooked Cat is getting ready to release the sequel to Bethel Manor—Bethel Manor Reborn. The question is, will you be ready?