“I enjoy your teaching very much.”
“It was awkward for you this morning, I take it?”
“I’m not from here,” Lily said. She felt embarrassed to state the obvious. “And that is creating some challenges.”
“A Naomi in Moab?”
“There was no famine in the land for me in Rook,” Lily said. “But like Naomi, I did leave for what I hoped would be a better life.”
“How have you found things since coming here,” Tim asked.
“I am enjoying teaching. I have some bright and thoughtful students at Covenant. Plus I have met some interesting peers.” Lily was thinking of her friend Thomas McDavid.
“But I have not been welcomed by all people there—or here. And I appreciate Beulah. Mr. Donald has welcomed me and become a friend. I don’t know his wife well yet but I hope to. Mr. Fred Aims would have become a friend, too, I believe, until…”
“Fred Aims was a precious man. His wife Ellen is just as precious. And Donald and his wife are cut from the same cloth as the Aims parents,” Tim said.
“Do you think it is perhaps impossible to be liked by all people we know, however, Lily?”
“More each day,” Lily said. “I do not like confrontation but I have found enemies since relocating here.”
“It seems you are respected at least by the new headmaster at Covenant,” Tim said questioningly.
“I only met Nathanael and his parents since the turnover drama surrounding Mr. Aims’ replacement. Nathanael has been very kind to me, yes. I cannot say the same for one of his aunts, however.”
“Ms. Lily, we are a small town here. Sometimes people’s thinking can be similarly myopic. Do we understand one another?”
“I think so. I did not seek enemies when moving here to teach. I came in hope of making some new friends, of finding a church where I belonged…”
“And you are making those friends. I hope you remain at Beulah, as you have a foothold already. Our enemies, Lily, come somewhat like our friends–unplanned by us. Friendships are not manufactured; they seem ordained for us—like doors we open already prepared for us. Our enemies are likewise unplanned by us, but there.”
“I see why you teach,” Lily said.
“Ha! Thank you. I have enemies too, to be sure. But I think I have some friends as well,” Tim said.
Lily felt someone looking at her. Down the corridor Nathanael stood against the wall watching her. He appeared to be waiting for someone.
(To be continued)