Meadow walked to the back of the church, and found Marcus playing happily (if noisily) with his xylophone. "Very impressive, little man," Meadow complimented her son, and sat down to hear his "composition" (as Father Powers had generously called it).
The priest resumed his seat at the computer, and Meadow went over to ask him, "Is Marcus driving you crazy?"
"Not at all," Father Powers chuckled. "I enjoy having such delightful company while I write. In fact, he's quite the inspiration--the title of my sermon for this coming Sunday will be 'Small Miracles'."
Meadow proceeded into the church's bathroom, splashed her face, and got a drink of cold water.
She went back out and gazed at her young son.
Marcus had turned out to be everything she and her husband Orlando had hoped for--sweet, smart, creative, and independent. 'You'll be a fine big brother, honeybun,' she said to herself. 'To whatever sibling you get.'
On her way back out of the church, Meadow stopped at the altar. "Please, Lord," she prayed, "Give Orlando and me another wonderful baby. I don't care if it's a girl or a boy; whatever You send is fine. I promise to do Your will."
She headed back out to the garden. It was almost evening, and Meadow figured she could finish her chores for the day inside of a half hour or so, and get home in time to congratulate Orlando on completing his final exam.
She resumed watering her newly planted daylilies, and thought she heard a small sound, like the cooing of a dove.
Meadow looked up on the church roof, but there was no dove there.
She heard another sound, but this time it sounded like a chirp. She got down on her knees, and peered into the sunflower stalks.
"Is there a little birdie in here?" Meadow whispered softly.
'This is a nice cool spot on a hot day,' she thought to herself. But she still didn't see a bird.
Then she heard a small burp, looked to her left, and gasped.
There, lying on the cool grass, shaded by the tall sunflowers, was a tiny baby.
Meadow hurried to pick the child up.
"Hi, honey--what are you doing here? Where's your mommy and daddy?" Meadow stood up with the baby and looked around frantically. There were no other people in sight, only a few cars parked down the street.
Meadow rushed up the back stairs into the church. "Father Powers!" she cried urgently.
Marcus was cheerfully occupied singing a nursery rhyme with Jan Tellerman, so Meadow put the baby into the crib that the priest kept on hand for her son.
Father Powers, having heard Meadow's frantic call, ran back behind the altar, where he'd been rewiring the microphone on the lectern. He spied the baby in Marcus's crib.
"Where'd this little one come from?" he asked, confused.
Meadow explained how she'd just found the infant in the flower garden. Father Powers raced outside to see if he could find witnesses, while Meadow got out Marcus's last bottle and gave it to the baby.
The tiny child took the bottle eagerly, but stopped after drinking half.
"That's good," Meadow said. "At least you're not dehydrated, or starving."
Father Powers came back in holding a piece of paper. "Whoever left the infant also left a note," he said, handing it to Meadow.
Meadow, stunned, gave the baby to the priest and read the hand-lettered note.
'Meadow, please take care of my baby,' the note read. 'I know you'll be a good mother to her.'
The note was unsigned. Meadow dropped it to the floor.
"What do I do now, Father?" she asked, utterly bewildered.
"Meadow, dear," Father Powers said seriously. "Fifteen minutes ago I heard you pray to our Saviour asking for another baby, and promising that you would do His will."
The elderly priest then stayed silent, as the infant fussed slightly in his arms and turned her big eyes to Meadow.
"You don't mean?...." Meadow's voice faltered.
"The Lord works in mysterious ways, Meadow," Father Powers replied. "I would say this little girl arriving in your life in this way counts as a 'Small Miracle'."
"I have to call Orlando," Meadow said, heading for the phone. The baby girl squirmed in Father Powers's arms, and he put her back into Marcus's crib.
"Where did you come from, little one?" he asked.
Meadow spent a long time on the phone with Orlando. When she finally hung up, she went to the crib, and picked up the baby girl.
"Hello, Ophelia," she cooed.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Join us next week for graduation (finally)!