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Chapter Nine
The Open Hand

"I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land."
~ Deuteronomy 15:11 ~

It was Providential that Hannah had not yet unpacked her luggage. Mr. Anderson helped carry it back out to Hannah's car. Mrs. Anderson hugged her daughter.

"May God keep you safe, Sweetie," Mrs. Anderson prayed.

"Are you sure you don't want to wait until Daniel wakes up, and let him know you're leaving, Beth?" asked Mr. Anderson, closing the trunk of the car.

"If what you told me about him is true, then it's best I leave now," Hannah replied. Mr. Anderson hugged his daughter. As she got into the car, Hannah saw Daniel looking at her from one of the guest room windows. "Good bye, Daniel," she whispered. "I hope I haven't hurt you." She started the car, and drove away.

For the next three hours, she followed the ribbon of highway back to the city. Her apartment had remained exactly as she left it the day before. Hannah picked up the lamp she had threatened to throw at Daniel, and put it back on the stand. When she went into the bathroom, Hannah found his old clothes, neatly folded, on the floor by the trash can. Tears came to her eyes.

"Please, God," she pleaded, "don't let me hurt him!" Hannah wiped the tears from her eyes. The whole apartment reminded her of the quiet streetlight panhandler. Hannah left the apartment complex, on her way to visit Jenny. When she neared the corner of Jefferson and Madison, Hannah noticed her father standing beside his car. He didn't see her. As Hannah was about to get his attention, she saw Daniel standing beside the streetlight, just as if he had never left. Hannah stood, frozen to the sidewalk. Daniel saw her and came near, his face solemn.

Daniel began to speak, his voice slow, and undefined, but very understandable. "When I was eight, my parents both died in a car accident. They both were Christians. That day, I cursed God. For many years, I hated Him for what He did to me. I was slow, and could not hear. Everyone cast me away, or passed me by, as if I were trash." Hannah opened her mouth to say something, but Daniel motioned for her to stop. "Then, five months ago, you started stopping at this stoplight. You always had a smile for me. I fought to survive each day, just to see you." Daniel's voice was wavering, but he continued anyway. "When I was dying in the alley, I knew it was my last chance to get right with God. That day, He forgave me," said Daniel, quickly brushing aside his tears.

Tears began to run down Hannah's cheeks. She tried to stop, but could not.

"I made you cry," said Daniel, rebuking himself, thinking he had frightened her. "You go back to your family, where it's safe. It's your home, not mine." Her tears fell even faster. Daniel looked for help from Mr. Anderson, but He only smiled, and turned away.

"Why didn't you speak to me before now?" she asked. Daniel looked down at the pavement.

"I was ashamed of my voice. Someone told me once that it sounded like a monster. I didn't want to scare you."

"You have a very pleasant voice, Daniel," she reassured. But, Daniel had not heard her, for his eyes still looked downward. Hannah tapped him on the shoulder, and repeated herself. For the first time, he did not avert his eyes from hers. And then, Hannah understood why. The look of love in his eyes was unmistakable. His eyes spoke so much more than his words could express. A surge of hope flooded Daniel's heart.

continued on next page...
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