Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Checkout( 06/09/11)
By Joanna Stricker
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
They say I’m not here. But I am. I’d tell them, but I can’t.
My body lies cold and still. I see tears hiding in their eyes. My favorite visitor, after Mommy and Daddy, is Pastor Nick.
I want to reach out—say it’s okay.
But it’s not. My body got hurt.
It was the bird. It was small, like me. It crashed. I opened the window to see if it was okay.
It lay there. I thought it was broken—it lay crumbled on the ledge. I knew better, but I didn’t think before reaching out. A faint beat stirred its red breast as I gently touched it. Tears welled up.
Daddy’s face swims into view. He touches my cheek for a moment. Mommy is asleep now. They want her to leave. I don’t. Let her stay. She didn’t open the window.
She doubts herself; but I know, Daddy too, that she loves us and takes care of us.
Jesus, help them.
The words spring to my mind, if only I could speak them.
I thought the bird might need a doctor. A doctor could make it fly. Maybe.
I read the lips of the man leaning over me. The words aren’t audible, but I recognize the form. He touches my chest. I know what he’s doing—listening to my heartbeat.
His coat is white, the ceiling is white, even the nurse’s caps and the masks visitors sometimes wear are white.
White is boring.
Pastor Nick wears white shirts, but he has fun ties. They are bright-colored with cartoons like Bugs Bunny & Elmer Fudd, Sylvester & Tweety-Bird…
Maybe the bird thought I was a cat. I only wanted to help. I reached out—picked him up. He lay motionless in my hand, but then…a heartbeat. I wondered; would he fly again?
Mommy sings softly, “You shall give your angels charge over [him]…” I love when she sings. A heated blanket tucks around me. It feels good. Gentle, warm kisses touch my cheeks.
I always wanted to fly; my favorite dreams were of soaring in a blue sky. But I wasn’t stupid. I didn’t mean to fall. But my bird, he wasn’t broken—not like I thought. He sprang into motion—startled me…
“Lord, come.” Pastor Nick’s voice is loud in the silence. When he prays, I remember that Jesus is inside me. He’s here. Listening, hearing even unspoken things. I know He loves us. I can feel Him, feel Him loving us.
“With God all things are possible.” Pastor Nick tells Daddy, his big voice booming across the room.
I like that he has a hard time using his “indoor” voice, and when he laughs it makes me want to smile.
I am tired of not speaking, not moving. I want to run, use my loud-boy voice, to laugh. Maybe Daddy will help me buy Pastor Nick a Road Runner tie. Road Runner…he falls sometimes, but never gets hurt…
I remember waking to white light. I don’t think it would scare me now, but I haven’t forgotten that feeling. I think I know how my bird felt, waking in my hand. I don’t blame him.
“Lord, please.” I’m the only one who can hear Pastor Nick. His face is tucked into my pillow. I can hear the longing in his voice. I know what he is asking, and I agree.
I’m not ready to fly yet.
I don’t remember falling, but I do remember a brief moment. My bird—he flew! Straight up, into blue sky. He wasn’t hurt.
Jesus, I want to be with you. But I want to be with Mommy and Daddy more. Can you wait? It won’t be long for You…
I belong to Jesus. A short time ago, I knelt by my bed; Mommy and Daddy heard me pray. I was so happy, and I know He was too.
Mommy tells Daddy a verse she read, “Do not be afraid, only believe!”
My eyes open. Something feels different.
I can see Mommy and Daddy praying.
My eyes, they blink. Mommy and Daddy don’t know yet—but I do.
Jesus is healing me.
I am no longer cold. I can’t see Him, but I can feel His smile.
A smile spreads across my face. Mommy and Daddy’s eyes are closed.
Give me a moment. My head moves slightly as I wait. Then…
My voice, it whispers.
Accept Jesus as Your Savior Right Now and be Certain of Eternal Life.
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