“Oh, doctor, how is he?” Margaret asked frantically when he emerged from the room where Thomas lay.
Doctor Weaver explained the situation, “Thomas has been awake for some time now, but when he first woke up he was a bit delusional. His head hit the ground pretty hard. He probably won’t suffer long term damage, but he’s going to have to rest for a few weeks. I’ll be back to check on him in two weeks.”
“Thank you, doctor. We’re most grateful for your help,” said Mr. Lawrence.
The doctor replied, “You’re certainly welcome. I’m just glad I was able to get here without delay. Good evening.”
That night after dinner, Andi went to bed early. She lay in deep thought on her bed. This arm hurts. Whew, I wish it wouldn’t have been broken. Today has been a horrible day for me and Taffy. Taffy is injured, thanks to Thomas. I’ll never speak to Thomas again.
A soft knock interrupted Andi’s thoughts.
“Andi, may I come in?” Justin’s voice floated quietly into the room.
Justin entered Andi’s room and sat down on the bed, “Mother wanted me to tell you that we are inviting the Lawrences to our Thanksgiving celebration.”
Andi sat up, “Our what?”
Justin nodded. “Yes, to our Thanksgiving celebration.”
“Well, they don’t have any family around these parts, and I thought inviting them to a celebration would be nice. The Blakes are out of town for the week anyway.”
“No, don’t want Thomas here,” Andi cried.
Justin took Andi’s shoulder, “Listen closely, Andi. I want you to take the invitation to Thomas’ family tomorrow morning, understand? I don’t like threatening you, or anybody, but if you don’t invite them, Taffy will be off limits for a month.”
Justin kissed Andi’s forehead and left the room. Hot tears ran down Andi’s face until she fell asleep.
The next morning Andi got up and dressed. After a quick breakfast, she headed to the barn for chores. The barn was silent as Andi started to muck out stalls.
In the silence, an audible whisper coaxed, Forgive Thomas.
Andi looked around, startled.
Forgive Thomas. He’s lonely and needs a friend.
After her chores were finished, Andi went to find Justin. She found him in his room with papers scattered on the floor. “Justin, may I talk with you?”
Justin looked up. “Of course.”
Andi explained what she had heard in the barn and Justin smiled. “Do you think it’s true?”
“Thomas has fun hurting people.”
“Because he’s lonely,” Justin replied. “Just invite Thomas and say you forgive him. You may not know it at the time, but God may be working on him as you speak.”
Andi sat quietly as she thought. “I’ll take the invitation.”
Justin smiled and hugged Andi, “How about you do that.”
The next morning, Mitch took Andi to the Lawrences. When they got there, Andi was shaking like a newborn foal nervously taking its first steps as Mitch rapped the knocker. Mr. Lawrence opened the door.
“Mornin’, Joe,” Mitch greeted.
Joe grinned. “Howdy there, Mitch.”
“We’d like to invite you to our Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow.” Andi looked down.
Joe smiled. “Thank you kindly. We’d be mighty obliged to come.”
Mitch shook Joe’s hand and asked, “Can we visit Taffy?”
Joe nodded. “Sure.”
They entered the shed and found that Taffy was able to walk around with only a slight limp.
Mitch said, “I think that she can come home with us, Andi.”
Andi leaped, “Oh, thank you Mitch!”
They led Taffy out of the shed and towards her home.
Thanksgiving Day came too quickly for Andi. When she got up that morning, she felt strange. God, I need to forgive Thomas. Will you help me? Feeling a sense of peace, Andi said quietly, “Thomas, I…I forgive you and what you’ve done to Taffy and me.”
You’ve done the right thing, Andi. I love you.
Andi knew it was God and smiled. The fire in her heart ceased.
Later that day, the guests arrived. Pleasant voices drifting from the parlor guided Andi to where they were gathered.
“Hello Andrea, I hear you’ve been mending well,” Mr. Lawrence cheerfully began. “Thomas has been looking forward to riding Taffy this afternoon. Since we were able to board her at our ranch for a while, we’ve been thinking of her almost as a family pet.”
Oh no! Andi thought. I can’t let Thomas near Taffy. She’ll go crazy...and so will I. I’ve got to figure out a way to deter Thomas’ hopes of riding Taffy.
“Well, can’t I go see my long-lost friend?” Thomas’s question interrupted Andi’s thoughts.
“Uh, yeah. But not until after dinner because she’s in the pasture, so she might not be close to the fence.”
“We might as well look,” Thomas snapped.
Slightly frightened, Andi dashed out to the fence with Thomas following. Taffy was grazing right next to the fence when they arrived.
After petting Taffy for a while, Thomas demanded, “Let’s go riding.”
Andi shook her head. “No. I want to go inside.”
“Why not? Hey, I bet you’re still afraid of gettin’ hurt again, huh?” Thomas taunted.
“No, I’m just cold.” Andi turned to go.
“Betcha’ hate me, huh?”
“I can’t say I like you, but I can’t say I hate you. But…” she paused, “I forgive you.”
Thomas stared at her. “You what?”
“I forgive you. I don’t like to do it, but it’s the right thing. I forgive you for hurting Taffy. I hope you’ll forgive me for treating you poorly.”
Andi felt awkward, but she knew she had said the right thing.
Thomas held back, clearly thinking about what Andi had said.
When Andi and Thomas got to the house, Justin opened the door. “Just in time; dinner is about to be served,” he announced while motioning them inside.
After dinner, when it was time to leave, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence thanked the Carters for their hospitality.
“We’re glad you could make it.” Justin shook Joe’s hand.
“Thank you again, Justin.” Joe stepped up into his family’s wagon.
As the Lawrence wagon proceeded down the road, Thomas looked back.
“Bye, Thomas!” Andi called out, waving. She suddenly felt embarrassed.
Surprisingly, Thomas waved, and Andi knew something had changed in her. Forgiveness truly was what she needed to do to settle the anger towards Thomas for what he had done to her beloved horse.