To Find Her Place (Redemption's Light #2) - Susan Anne Mason


September 1943

I’m leaving now, Mama. Are you sure you’ve got everything you need?”

Jane Linder glanced from her mother, seated in her favorite plaid armchair, to the wooden mantel clock and tried to ignore her rising anxiety. Today she needed to catch an early bus in order to attend an unexpected board meeting.

One that could affect the future of her job.

And today, of all days, Mama was having a bad morning.

“I’ll be fine, Janey.” Mama plucked at the fraying hem of her bathrobe sleeve. “Don’t worry about me.”

Jane pulled a napkin from the breakfast tray on the side table and set it on her mother’s lap. “You have your toast and tea right here. And there’s leftover soup for lunch. I’ll come home at noon and check on you if I can.”

Mama gave a wan smile that accentuated the bluish tinge to her mouth and pushed a lock of gray hair off her forehead. “I know it’s an important day for you. I don’t want you worrying about me. I’m sure I’ll feel better soon.”

“All right. I hope so.” Jane made a quick scan of the narrow living room, ensuring the drapes covering the front window were open no more than a few inches—enough to let in some light, but not enough that the neighbors could see inside. She also made sure Mama’s favorite floor lamp was on and that her crossword puzzles and Good Housekeeping magazines all sat within easy reach.

“If it’s too hectic and I can’t come home, I’ll call Mrs. Peters and have her come check on you.” Jane slid the telephone across the coffee table, closer to Mama’s chair. “In the meantime, if you start to feel worse, please call me at work.” She knelt and grabbed her mother’s thin hand. “Promise me you will. I don’t want you to worry about bothering me. Nothing’s more important than you.”

Mama’s thin lips trembled. “You’re such a good daughter. I couldn’t ask for anyone better.” Tears formed in her eyes, creating red rims around the edges.

Jane held back a sigh. Whenever Mama had a bad spell, she became overly emotional. And sometimes rather clingy, often begging Jane not to go into the office. At times, Jane gave in and stayed home, but then felt guilty about not living up to her commitment at work. There were even days Jane considered resigning her position at the Children’s Aid Society, but with her brother away fighting in the war, Jane’s income was the only real thing keeping them afloat.

Besides, the children were too important for her to quit her job. They were the reason Jane had become a social worker in the first place—so she could help disadvantaged children find a family to love them. It was a mission entrusted to her by God, she was certain. One she couldn’t in good conscience abandon. If it meant eventually hiring a nurse to stay with Mama during the day, Jane would find a way to do so.

But for now, she needed to be on time for this meeting.

“I have to go, Mama. I’ll see you later.” She kissed her mother’s papery cheek, whispered a quick prayer for the Lord’s protection over her, then grabbed her satchel and rushed out the door.

Jane’s heels clattered on the tile floors as she hurried toward the conference room situated on the second floor of the municipal building. The interior of the stone structure remained cool, a fact that Jane welcomed. Dressed in her best green suit and ivory blouse, she wanted to make a good impression and not appear like a wilted flower.

The double doors of the meeting room stood slightly ajar, and a murmur of voices drifted outward. Nerves dampened Jane’s palms as she paused to gain her bearings and take a breath.

She had a fair idea why the board wished to see her today. Her boss, Mr. Mills, had done her the courtesy of calling yesterday to let her know before it was announced that he had decided to retire and that the position of Managing Director of the Toronto Children’s Aid Society would now be open.

For the past six months, Jane had been filling in for her ailing boss as acting directress, a position that carried a lot of responsibility. Yet she’d welcomed the chance to prove herself in the role, hoping to garner the board’s favor. And today’s meeting might be the culmination of that goal, since she fully intended to submit her application as a contender for the position. If Vera Moberly