It was a quiet night at the hospital.
Nancy Jeremiah sat alone on a bench located halfway down one of the hospital's many halls. She had her head bowed, and she was crying.
She got up and slowly made her way to the nurse's station.
"Is there somewhere I can smoke?"
The nurse pointed toward the elevators. "There's a designated spot outside." She looked at Nancy. "You'll see a sign."
Nancy smiled faintly and walked away, her seventy-five year old body taking its time. Age wasn't the only thing that slowed her down; the events of the last twenty-four hours had taken their toll as well.
She shook her head as she walked, lost in thought. How could little Kaitlyn be in the room beyond those doors down the hall? And how could she, Nancy, be the one who was on this side of the door? Seventy-five years old, a smoker, enjoys an occasional drink from time to time. Doesn't believe in God (although she'd have to admit even to herself that she'd been praying to the God she didn't believe in for the last few hours).
How could she be the one on this side, and Kaitlyn - a perfect little six-year-old go to church every Sunday, never done a cruel thing in her life, angel - how could she be the one on that side of the door?
And how was it even remotely possible that she could hear the words she'd heard just a few short hours ago?
"She doesn't have long, Nana...it could be any time."
How was she supposed to understand? Who was she supposed to turn to? How was she supposed to believe?
She'd almost made it to the elevators when a hand touched her shoulder. She turned to see her daughter, Mary Ann.
Mary Ann looked at her mother through tired, red eyes. "She..." words were difficult, "...she asked for you."
Nancy gasped. "She spoke?"
Mary Ann nodded her head. "I was talking to her, and I told her you were here." She took a deep breath and tried to gain her composure. "She opened her eyes, real slow, and then in a whisper...she asked for you."
Nancy didn't know what to say. "I...I..."
"It's you she wants to see, Mom."
They both walked toward Kaitlyn's room.
Nancy's eyes adjusted as she walked into the darkness of the room. She quietly made her way to the foot of the bed and stopped. She looked at her granddaughter, who seemed to be sleeping, and then turned and looked toward the door that led back to the hall. For a second she considered making her way back to the safety of the hall, but noticed out of the corner of her eye movement coming from the bed.
She turned again toward Kaitlyn and watched an arm rise ever so slightly. Her hand was clinched into a fist, and she held it, suspended in the air.
Nancy walked over to Kaitlyn, thinking she wanted to hold hands. As she reached out to take her granddaughter's hand, Kaitlyn slowly opened her fist, and in her palm...was a crown of thorns.
Nancy fell back and landed in a chair that had been moved next to the bed. She looked at Kaitlyn's face. Her eyes were still closed; her breathing was shallow but steady.
Nancy sat up in the chair and looked at the small crown of thorns. Hesitating, she took the small item from Kaitlyn's hand, and as she did so, she heard a voice, a voice as clear as if the one talking was standing right next to her...
They made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on his head, and knelt before him in mockery, yelling, "Hail! King of the Jews!" And they spit on him and beat him, and then they led him away to be crucified.
She looked around in the room, convinced that someone else was there besides her and her granddaughter.
But they were alone.
She stared at the crown of thorns as she turned it around and around in her hand, while the words she heard echoed in her head.
Finally, she looked up again at Kaitlyn, and noticed she'd had once again clinched her fist.
She was frozen. She couldn't move. All she could do was watch as Kaitlyn's hand opened for the second time, revealing three small nails.
Nancy sat the mini crown of thorns down on the tray table next to the bed and reached for the three small nails. The voice overpowered the sound of her beating heart...
Then they nailed him to the cross, and crucified him.
The voice quickly faded and was replaced with the sound of a hammer pounding on steel.
It was too much for her to bear. She fell back again into the chair and stared at her granddaughter.
Was God really using her to talk to me?
In this way?
Under these conditions?
She thought of the Jesus of her childhood, and the memories of Easters past came in like a flood. She knew the Resurrection story, or at least, she thought she did.
Was so real.
She looked at Kaitlyn who still seemed to be sleeping. For a brief moment it looked to Nancy as if she had a glow about her. In the mist of all the 'hospital hardware' hooked up to her, she seemed at peace...calm.
Nancy was all at once relieved and disappointed to find Kaitlyn's arm resting on the bed. But then as if on cue, it slowly made its way into the air again, reaching out, clenched into a fist.
And again, little Kaitlyn had a surprise for her grandmother...
It was a small rock, or stone. And with it, the voice...
Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene went out to see the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, because an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it.
Nancy took the small stone and placed it with the rest of the pieces that she'd received. She looked at them all one by one.
Did he really do all of this for me? After everything I've said and done to him, does he really love me this much?
The tears began to flow as Nancy once again realized her granddaughter's hand was in the air. Her mind raced back to her childhood days, remembering the story, contemplating what was coming next. Her heart raced as Kaitlyn opened her hand to reveal...nothing.
Her hand was empty.
The angel spoke to the women. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn't here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen."
She slowly rose from the chair and knelt beside Kaitlyn's bed.
And she cried.
And she repented.
And she asked Jesus into her heart.
And little Kaitlyn's hand reached out and touched her...
All scripture taken from the New Living Translation (Tyndale Publishers)
A special thanks to the product "Resurrection Eggs" for the inspiration.
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