Teen action novels include The Olive Tree Covering. Hope on Fire is the title of the twentieth chapter of teen action novels.
My father came home from the hospital during the first week of November with strict orders from his doctor to rest at home. After school, I helped my mother take care of my father. We missed his company while he was in the hospital. At home, he occupied his time with either reading or watching television.
Mike, Helen, and Pastor Chris paid a visit to our house to check up on my father. They joined us for desserts after dinner in the kitchen. The Ohev Shalom youth pastor led the New Testament Bible discussion after dessert.
“I’m glad that you came to see me. However, I understand your words but they still have no meaning for me.” My father closed the book in front of him.
“I’ll be back in a minute.”
When I returned to the kitchen, I brought down the historical journal and the two shadow boxes from my room. My intent was that the visual scenes and background information might clarify some Christian concepts for my father.
Tamara reaches out to her father in the hopes that he would better understand her new faith in this one of many teen action novels.
“Here is something that will help you understand, Dad.” I set the shadow boxes on the table in front of him.
“These scenes from the Bible are very good, Tamara. I’m proud of the time and effort you put into this.” My father held each box with both hands and studied the contents.
“Here is something else to read.” I handed him my historical journal.
“I would be interested in attending a service at Ohev Shalom.” My father finished reading my paper.
“Please come to our Hanukkah service in December. I’ll be preaching then and the service is a wonderful way to get to know our congregational family.” Pastor Chris handed me his dessert plate.
“I hope we can come.” After taking the plate, I carried it over to the kitchen sink.
“I should be well by then.” My father took the last bite of his dessert.
While helping my mother clear the table the same warm, comforting feeling inside that I had experienced when I was little after drinking warm milk before I went to bed surfaced once again. My efforts in my room had paid off and I silently thanked God for my father’s new interest in my friends and faith.
After that evening, things changed for the better in my relationship with my father. We had more time to chat during long walks together in the afternoons after school as he recuperated from his heart operation.
My brother’s attitude changed towards me. He no longer teased me about my new relationship with Mike and I was able to share more confidences with my brother. The tension had healed and we grew closer together every day.
After Thanksgiving, I received a letter from Rachel. She wrote about how much she enjoyed her new school and that she had made more friends than she anticipated. She found out that she wasn’t expecting a baby. The doctors had mixed up her test results with someone else and her mother was elated and relieved.
Helen was more like me than Rachel was or ever could be. With Helen, I could be myself and she filled the empty void in my life the day I realized that the friendship with Rachel wasn’t the companionship I yearned for after I left Rachel’s party. Helen understood my new faith in God and she became both a friend and a Bible study guide and partner.
Mike took me to many movies and football games in addition to our meetings every Saturday afternoon at the Ohev Shalom youth group. Although I don’t like the term, it could be said that he was my first “boyfriend.”
My parents no longer objected to my attendance at Ohev Shalom Saturday afternoons since I still attended the Saturday morning synagogue services with my family. My uncomfortable separation from my father remained a reminder to be honest with both of my parents.
Time passed quickly and soon it was time to attend the Ohev Shalom Hanukkah celebration in December. The joyful memory of the events of that special occasion would always remain a part of me. We had arrived in time to hear the youth pastor’s opening remarks to the congregation.
“Jesus is the light of the world.” Pastor Chris began his sermon.
After the sermon and other prayers, the time for worship through music and dance had come. The Davidic dancers joined hands and swirled in circles in time to the lively music. After an hour of praising the Lord through music and dance, members of the congregation, including myself, placed menorahs on tables around the room. Ushers passed out candles and matches for each menorah.
“Now we will show the world what Jesus means to us during this time. We light these candles on the menorah to demonstrate how Jesus is the light of the world.” Pastor Chris lit the highest candle or Shamash first and used the highest menorah candle to light the rest of the candles.
Those in attendance also lit the candles on the other menorahs scattered around the room. The fluorescent ceiling lights were turned off and the lighting from the menorahs in the darkened room was spectacular. The aroma and the flames of the burning candles danced in the air. God was present in the room and in my heart.
“What do you think about the service, Dad?” Whispering to my father beside me, I placed my hand in his.
“It’s okay. It’s very different from the services Rabbi Mendelsohn leads.” My father straightened his tallit around his shoulders.
“I’m glad that you, Mom, and Ben came with me this evening.”
The beautiful butterfly of peace emerged from down deep in my chest and circled the burning menorahs on the table. My new faith would find acceptance and love from my family at home. Jesus and Mike had taught me to wait patiently for my parents to understand and accept my new relationship with God. It was worth the wait.
Chapter twenty of this one of many teen action novels references Hanukkah.
This is the last chapter in The Olive Tree Covering, one of many teen action novels.