As I read Doug Spurling’s The Voice, a phrase Kept going through my mind – “unto the third and fourth generation.” It’s from the Book of Exodus in the Bible – “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”
The Voice isn’t about sins being passed down through generations, but it about patterns of behavior recurring in generations. But fundamentally, it’s a love story, a story of love and faith stretching across generations and decades. Four generations, in fact.
It begins with RJ, who owns a fishing shop at a marina in the Florida Keys. His 16-year-old son Mac is working there, doing so well that he’s put in charge of maintenance at the dock and marina. He meets Maggie, or perhaps Maggie meets him. Mac joins the Navy, he and Maggie marry, and have one son, Richie. They want more but are unable to have more children. About the time Richie turns 16, he meets a girl, but Mac and Maggie know a mistake is being made. They marry anyway and Richie goes off to the Navy.
Then come the losses. Spurling piles several on at once – death, desertion, depression. Mac faces personal devastation. Richie’s wife moves away.
Eventually, we learn there’s a Rickey. And it is around Rickey that the story begins to turn.
The Voice is full of the stuff of life – love, faith, tragedy, injury. It’s about the sea, and sailing, and why we do the things we do when we’re dealing with pain and suffering. It’s about hope, and redemption. It’s even about how a bar can serve as a missionary outpost.
Individual patterns and character traits repeat themselves – falling in love at a young age; the connection to the sea and the Navy; and even a crooked smile. Extending through the years and generations is something else, too – faith.
The Voice is a story written for the heart, from the heart. Well done, Doug Spurling.
Photograph by Weyenbergh Jacky via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.