The telephone kept ringing, but I was just too exhausted to pick it up. In the recesses of my mind I kept waiting for the answering machine to do the honors, but for some odd reason I never heard the hum and then click of the machine and the familiar message of Maddie’s voice playing, instead it was just an annoying ring. Whoever thought that simple noise was perfect for such a device must not have expected to receive a call at three in the morning.
So here I am now annoyed, trudging out of bed to get the phone that is all the way in the kitchen where I left it. “Hello,” I answered angrily, expecting an explanation from whoever was disturbing me at this hour.
“Hi Mommy,” sounded the sweetest voice I had ever heard, but sadly it didn’t change my mood. I shoved the feelings the voice procured deep into the darkness of my heart.
“Who is this?” I demanded.
“Oh, mommy,” the voice went on excitedly, “you should see this place, it is absolutely beautiful! There is so much still to see but I had to call and tell you how wonderful it is! The sun is so bright it feels like it is kissing your skin. Oh and Toby’s here. He was never lost after all Mommy! Daddy’s is busy talking to some man by the water, but I wanted to hear your voice Mommy and tell you how much I miss you. I can’t wait to see you!”
I didn’t have a chance to speak, to say this must be some mistake, but my thoughts were interrupted by the child.
“Oh and mommy, one more thing, this is really, really important.” The child paused as I waited. “Are you listening?”
“Yes,” I mumbled quietly.
“I don’t want you to be sad anymore. I don’t like seeing you sad. When you come home I want to see you smiling not crying. Please Mommy, can you do this for me?”
“Yes, baby I can.” I didn’t understand it, but I was crying, sobbing actually. I couldn’t help it. This child, this lovely little girl on the other side of the telephone touched my heart strings that were broken and torn and she mended them in just a few simple words.
“I have to go now Mommy, but I will see you soon, okay. I love you more than you’ll ever know. Bye Mommy.” Before I could ask any questions or even truly understand what just happened, the line went dead.
I put the telephone back on the receiver. My body was trembling. I went into the living room which was still dark. I sat down in our chair and wept. Normally the old chair would bring comfort, but just now it felt beyond empty. The whole house felt empty. The pain was unbearable to the point that I couldn’t hold it anymore. I did something I said I would never do.
The sobbing racked my body as the words poured out like my tears, “I have heard that you reach out in the most unexpected ways. If this was one of them, I am listening. Only you could have allowed that call to come through. I want to be able to go home. I don’t know how to do this really, but please God, take my heart and fill it with you. Take this pain. She always told me you would accept me if I asked. Please save me and take me.” I fell out of the chair onto the soft carpet and cried like never before. Everything became blurry and soon sleep claimed me.
The sun was shining on her hair through the stained glass window. I walked forward only by the grace of God. I reached her final bed and kissed her soft forehead. While still bent I whispered in my daughter’s ear, “Thank you baby, for ringing me in the night.”
The tears streamed uncontrollably as my sister guided me to a chair. They were tears of sadness but also of joy, because some day I will see my husband and daughter and even our dog Toby again because through her excitement my precious little girl picked up a telephone in heaven to tell me to be happy.
“I’m happy baby,” I whispered for her ears alone. The telephone was never a more precious thing to me than that early morning when the Son had not yet risen in my heart.
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