For the last fifteen years, Hans Peterson has been the beloved pastor of tiny St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Sandy Ford, Nebraska. But now things are not so good. For a year, Hans has struggled to recover from the sudden illness and death of his wife. Now a single father of two teen-age girls, he can barely get through each day. Even the matriarch of the church, Anna Lawton, one of his closest friends and allies, finds that her efforts at help are not effective. Neither are the stumbling, but well-intentioned efforts of the leaders of the church.
Things begin to improve for Hans only when Tamique Higgins returns to Sandy Ford for an extended stay with her parents. She is on a leave of absence to figure out her own way forward from corporate burnout. When in high school, Tamique was mentored and befriended by Jennifer, Hans’s late wife. Hans and Tamique reconnect over memories of Jennifer and find that their mutual support begins to breathe life into their dry bones.
Their growing relationship also generates tension with the leaders of the church. Their support for Peterson erodes as they observe a relationship they perceive as unseemly for their pastor.
Can Hans find a way to emerge from his own dark night and still be true to his calling?
Honorable Mention in the Deep River Publishing 2012 Fiction Contest