“A Moments Wrest”, Chapter 8: Cedars Of Lebanon
8 Cedars Of Lebanon
Oren walked among the most magnificent trees he had ever seen. The trunks were tall and straight, the branches perfectly balanced and symmetrical. There was little sway from the wind at the tops of the tree high above his head.
He forced himself to look away, and back toward the edge of the beach where he had come. There were only a few slivers left of the pink and purple morning sky. The sun was still where he left it behind. Considering the breadth of the canopy above him, the forest floor was surprisingly lit. It should have been more dark.
Something else was unusual. The trees grew in a distinctive pattern, equally distant from each other. He soon discovered they were in perfect order, one after the other in a standing in a straight line. When he turned forty-five degrees to the left, they appeared totally random, only to be in straight rows again another quarter turn.
A massive grid!
The forest continued that way in every direction. It was too vast for anyone to plant on purpose, but far too intentional to be left to chance. Either scenario seemed both plausible and impossible at the same time.
This tension should have been unnerving for Oren. Yet, the absolute marvel of the orderliness circling him felt too right. There was undeniable significance behind this forest. Purpose.
Whatever was responsible for it gained his admiration and respect. As stunning as the waterfront was at first, this forest amazed him in a completely different way. As he walked deeper into the forest, he no longer felt the cold breeze that had followed him from the beach.
“Sarah!”, a familiar voice called out.
Her hand shot out and stopped the elevator doors from closing. They popped back open again. When they did, she saw her favourite little face bounding toward her with her father-in-law not far behind. She gave Aaron a big long hug as he entered the elevator. He squeezed just as hard back.
“I have missed you Arie! So much!”, Sarah said, stifling back the tears. “I am so glad to see you”.
“An’ Gampa?”, Aaron asked with his face mushed in his mom’s shoulder.
“Yes, and Grandpa”, Sarah confirmed, looking up at Gregg Barrat with a smile. “I am very grateful for your Grandpa and Grandma”
The doors closed and Aaron reached to press the button, which was already lit when Sarah first stepped in. He knew the number by now, and loved to press it as most kids do.
“Daddy gonna get up dis time?”, Aaron asked. He had a hopeful look that Sarah wished she had.
“I hope so Arie”, she said as she looked up at Gregg again. It was the best she could do. He nodded back in affirmation and changed the topic.
“Hey buddy”, Gregg interrupted, “why don’t you tell your Mom what we had for breakfast”.
“MaDonowd’s!”, Aaron exclaimed.
As much as it grieved him to see his son in a coma, it was a gift to have his grandson so much over the last week. It made the waiting bearable. Little Aaron had a ton of energy and it was all Gregg could do to keep up with him. There was little extra time to think about what was happening at the hospital. This little guy was a welcome distraction.
Aaron’s addition to the family had been good for Gregg. Oren and Sarah kept the gender of the baby a secret until he was born. When they handed baby Aaron to Gregg for the first time, everything changed for him. He was given a new lease on life and could barely remember life before his grandson entered it.
Gregg had been a successful banker early on and finished as an investment advisor before his early retirement. Although he had a decent number of individual clients, his specialty was arranging business loans and facilitating venture capital. He had brokered some nice deals in his best years, and earned a reputation as a tough, but fair negotiator. Nobody who did business with Gregg Barrat questioned his ethics or integrity. He was true to his word, even when it meant taking a loss.
A large reason for this, which few knew about, was his faith. Gregg had been a church goer and a faithful Christian for most of his life. He saw his faith as an anchor that helped him through tough times. He believed in letting his actions do the talking.
However, the increasing number of consolidations and growing monopolies in almost every field, made it difficult to maintain his ethical standard. He was under constant pressure to overlook commitments and cut corners to earn the biggest payout. Stress finally took its toll on Gregg. His heart was getting weaker and it was beginning to show. At the advice of his cardiologist, and insistence of his wife, Gregg finished out his active accounts and wound the business down. He had kept a few of his individual portfolios. All through this Gregg remained consistent, reiterating God was with him every step of the way.
There was one time however, where he questioned if that was really true. Oren came home during the Reading Week of his first year of university. They talked about school life, and the topics and theories that carried the day. They found themselves in a deep conversation about faith. Oren mustered the courage to confess to Gregg he no longer believed the claims of Christianity. He could not reconcile his faith with how he saw the world and how it worked.
Although Gregg respected his son’s need to make his own choice, it became a deep seeded disappointment. He carried the crushing weight of responsibility, accusing himself of not modelling an authentic and relevant faith for his son.
That painful moment remained a sliver in Gregg’s soul ever since.
…continued with Chapter 9
Forest Photo Credit: Instagram @gmy_vintique Finance Photo Credit: kenteegardin via Compfight cc Original Cover Photo Credit unknown