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The Extended Hand

428 pages7 hours


The Extended Hand is a "contemplative memoir" that covers two seemingly separate lives.

When Robert answers the phone, he has trouble understanding his neighbor's question: "What do you mean, there's a notice in today's paper listing our condo for sale?" Through the kitchen windows, he can see the ocean waves rolling in toward the Maui beach. Surely there must be a mistake.

But when he calls his wife Marti on the eastside of Seattle, he learns the truth: "Yes, I filed for bankruptcy."

Once, as a child, Marti fell through an open manhole into a sewer and was rescued by the extended hand of a caring man. Now, even though her business mistakes have wiped out the assets of a thirty-year marriage, Marti Eicholz discovers that her husband is another man capable of extending a hand to someone in need.

The Extended Hand is the first-person story of how I came to that point of having to tell the man I loved that I had lost all our worldly goods, without giving him a warning. Only in retrospect did I understand why I, the daughter of a charismatic fundamentalist preacher with a need to control his family, was driven to excel and perform perfectly. As an adult, I found it hard to love myself--when my first marriage ended, after ten years, I was still a virgin--and went into a web-based business venture when the Internet was still a novelty, unable to acknowledge that I was in an emotional black hole.

My story is also that of one preacher's daughter who learns to accept the extended hand of the living Jesus cleansed of the rules and exclusions imposed on it by a narrow, fundamentalist view of the bible's truths. My marriage is alive and thriving today because I have finally learned to accept the gifts that are yours when someone extends their hand in love, and you accept it, in humility and gratitude.

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