Catching Serenity

Catching Serenity by Joann Durgin Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Catching Serenity by Joann Durgin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Joann Durgin
deal of time listening to people...talk.” That might sound inane, but if only he knew her mother’s disappearance was only the tip of the iceberg. Should she ever start spilling the whole story, she feared she’d never stop. Best not to go down that road.
    “ That’s true, although I specialize in working with children.”
    Nancy brought their coffee, placing their cups on the table without a word, but her smile was broad as she winked at Serenity.
    “That must be a unique challenge.” Charlie hadn’t told her Dr. Ross worked with kids. Could be because most people familiar with her background avoided any mention of children.
    “ It can be, yes, but it’s my specialty and what I feel called to do. It’s hard to accept what so-called adults thrust on kids too young to handle it—the forgotten innocents—when they’re not emotionally or mentally equipped to process the hurt, the guilt or the pain. I wonder if anyone’s ever ready for the twists and turns of life. No amount of training can prepare me for what I hear sometimes. Then again, life’s often not fair, no matter how old we are.” He raised his eyes to meet hers. “Sounds like you might know a little something about that.”
    Serenity took a long sip of her coffee. “Yes, but I’ve been learning lately that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, if you’ll excuse the cliché. I think it’s more the idea He equips us with what we need to cope. As far as children, I think they have an uncanny ability to see things grownups are too jaded to see. Their approach to faith and their perspective is fresh and open.” She raised her chin. “Is that how you see it?”
    A light of interest flickered in his eyes. “Exactly. I want my patients to understand there’s hope. There’s an inherent trust children have. The way I look at it, it’s a sacred thing. But, unfortunately, it’s also that same innocence that makes them easy targets for exploitation.” Jackson’s eyes were moist as he cleared his throat. “My role is to be a facilitator and help them understand things that have happened in their life and help them cope, as you said.” Lowering his gaze, he fiddled with the handle of his coffee cup.
    This man ’s personal scorecard shot through the roof. Overwhelmed with emotion, she remained silent even though she felt the somewhat irrational impulse to reach across the table and smooth the lines on his brow. Instead, she kept her hands on her lap.
    “ Did I say something wrong?” Jackson asked after a full minute passed, although the time lapse hadn’t felt awkward. Strangely enough, she felt entirely comfortable with him. 
    “ Not at all,” she said, swallowing hard. “I was just wondering where you were when I could have used you a few years ago. I mean…” This conversation was much too heavy, especially considering they’d just met. Other than Deidre, she’d shared more with Jackson than anyone—man or woman—since she’d left Croisette Shores. In Atlanta, she’d kept to herself for the most part and focused on her studies, rarely going out for social events although she’d had plenty of invitations.
    Nancy brought the slice of cherry cheesecake with a plate and two forks. “Eat up. Holler if you need anything.” Good old Nancy. Forcing intimacy by bringing only one plate. At least she’d brought two forks. Stop overanalyzing. It’s what the concept of sharing is all about. Still, there were a lot worse things in life than sharing germs with a healthy-looking doctor.
    “ Thanks. We’ll do that.” Jackson handed her a fork. “Do you mind if I ask a blessing?”
    Embarrassed, Serenity lowered her fork from where she ’d poised it above the plate. “Not at all. Please. Go right ahead.” Feeling silly and inarticulate, she bowed her head and listened as Jackson prayed for the food and asked God to bless their working relationship. Never in her life had she been with a man her own age who prayed outside the doors

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