Continuing in Hearts Unfold, Emily returns to her home church on the arm of her godfather, Jack Deem,
and is reminded of all she has missed since she left for college. A chance conversation also reminds her of the possibility of miracles even in the most dire of circumstances.
In the narthex, the smell of pine boughs and the glow of candlelight wrapped around her, drawing her in. The sanctuary was already crowded. Local families swelled with out-of-town guests, sleepy children in the arms of proud grandparents, several young men in uniform, their mothers or sweethearts clinging to their arms, all gathered in anticipation of the hour to come. From her seat next to Jack, she searched the familiar faces. Down front, Sara McConnell sat between sons Peter and James. Peter had let his hair grow longer, now that he was at college, and the blonde mane was very becoming. He was even better looking than the last time Emily had seen him, which must have been almost two years ago. James, home on leave from Southeast Asia, was in uniform. Thin and deeply tanned, he looked older, and there was a tense, haggard expression on his face as he gazed down at his mother.