The dizziness was more than he could bear. After a moment of sitting, he tried to stand. His knees began to wobble, but he was able. His head ached. His body ached. He felt blood flow down his leg as he put one foot forward.
Doing his best to ignore the pain, he continued walking.
“Mom, when Daddy gets home, can we all do something?”
Virginia smiled; she loved some of the ‘unusual’ ideas that little Suzie would come up with. “What’d you have in mind?”
Suzie thought for a moment. “Ice skating.”
Virginia laughed out loud. “Ice skating?”
Big brother spoke up. “You don’t even know how. And besides, you’re too little.”
“Am not.” She looked over at her mother. “Am I, Mommy?”
Virginia turned and gave her oldest a ‘look’ before answering Suzie. “Well, maybe it’s something your father could teach you.”
Big brother Charles spoke up again from the back seat. “How much longer, Mom?”
She breathed in a heavy sigh before answering. “Just a few more miles. Maybe…about thirty minutes.” She missed him more than usual this time around, and was so thankful that they would all be together soon.
The car continued to roll down the two-lane highway.
His mind raced back.
Thoughts of who he was – who he is – filled his mind. He tried, oh how he tried to remember. But there was nothing.
Concentration suddenly gave way to unbearable, excruciating pain, and down his body went.
The last thing he remembered before slipping out of consciousness was a beam of light.
Light. Peace. Safety…
The car came around a wide turn in the road.
It was Charles who first saw the shape. Saw it a split-second before Virginia did.
“I see it.” She hit the brakes. Hard. The car came to a stop, inches in front of the body.
Little Suzie peered over the dashboard of the car. “Is he…dead?”
Virginia looked at her son in the back, and addressed him. “I’m going to take a look.”
Suzie started to cry; a small, muffled sound.
Charles took over as he leaned over the front seat and touched his sister on the shoulder. “It’s okay, Suz. I’ll be right here.” He looked at his mother. “You sure?”
Virginia nodded. “I’m sure.” She looked at both of her children. “I’ll be okay, really I will. God will protect me.”
Virginia Preston opened the driver’s-side door, and got out of the car…
Flashes of brilliance danced in his head.
Soft music filled his mind, his thoughts…his being.
He thought he saw a smile, thought he heard laughter.
He opened his eyes and tried to focus on his surroundings. Before he could make anything out, he slipped back into unconsciousness…
“I want to wake him, Mommy.”
Virginia smiled as she let out a little laugh. “We can’t do that, honey. Not yet.”
Virginia stared at the man in the bed. “Soon. Very soon.”
He wanted to open his eyes, but the part between want and ability prevented him from doing so. Still, he tried. And after much effort, they slowly began to open…and he found himself staring into the most beautiful face he’d ever seen.
The beautiful face suddenly jumped, letting out a small gasp.
He tried his hand at words. They were hoarse, raspy. His mouth was dry. He managed a whispered, “Hello.”
“Hi.” The beautiful face answered back. And then, “Oh.”
He watched as the little girl moved slightly to the left and reached for a pitcher of water. She slowly began to pour some into a glass as she spoke again. Her voice was simple, innocent, pure…angelic. “Mommy said to make sure to give you this when you woke up.”
He took the glass from her and smiled again. “Thank you.” The water was good, very good.
The little girl smiled as she watched him drink. When he finished she took the glass from him and set it back on the bedside table. “I have to get my mommy now. She said to.”
The little girl started to turn away, then quickly turned back. She walked over to the side of the bed and hugged him. “Don’t you worry. We’ve been taking care of you. Mommy says you’re going to be alright.”
She started to turn away again, but he stopped her. “Can I ask you something?”
She grinned. “Sure.”
“What’s your name?”
She looked at him questioningly before deciding she’d gotten the joke. “You know my name, silly.”
Virginia grabbed the pot of coffee from the kitchen counter. She did her best to smile as she offered to top off her husband’s cup.
He smiled and let her pour.
After a moment of silence Virginia spoke. “You don’t remember a thing?”
He slowly shook his head.
“Me? The kids?”
Silence. Then, “Nothing.”
Virginia smiled. “It’s okay. The doctor will be here soon.” She gently placed her hand on his. “We trust God. He’ll see us through this.” The next words out of her mouth seemed all too familiar. “The Master always has a plan.”
He looked encouraged.
She continued. “Besides, it’ll be good to have you home for awhile. We’ve missed you.” She got up and placed the coffee pot on the burner. “I’m just glad I decided to go the other way last night. I haven’t traveled that road since the new highway opened. Guess I just wanted to take the old way.”
“Lucky for me you did, huh?”
Virginia was about to answer when her eyes caught something draped over another chair.
Her husband caught her staring. “Is that my coat and hat?”
She continued staring. “Uh. No, they, uh…belong to a friend.”
She got up and walked over to the chair where the coat and hat lay. She touched them, and the memories came flooding back. “You and your family have been my miracle. Now. Let me be yours…”
A tear rolled down her cheek and fell onto the hat in her hand. Through teary eyes she made her way back to her husband and stood directly behind him. She placed her hands on his shoulders, and didn’t have to wait long…before his hands found hers.
Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! – Hebrews 13:2 (NLT)