With coffee cup in hand, Esther sat in the swing, which hung with chains from the top of the large porch. There were many memories in that old swing.
Esther and James had bought the house five years after they were married. They used the old porch swing, which had come with the house until it no longer was safe, and then bought the new one. It wasn't unusual for the happy couple to sit for hours at times, rhythmically keeping pace with the other, talking, laughing, and making plans that would culminate in their twilight years.
The days of making plans were over now. Esther shook her head. Her mind was taking her somewhere she didn't want to go.
Esther and James had loved each other with a fresh new love every day. They were proud to tell anyone who would listen that they had been married fifty-eight years.
The couple had spent the past few days at their beach cabin when it happened. They had just finished taking their morning stroll along the sandy beach, with their arms wrapped around one another while they soaked up the soft morning sun and a slight breeze. When they returned to the cabin, James reached for the front door handle. He turned to tell Esther how much the morning walk had meant to him. Without another word or any warning, he collapsed.
Esther could not get past James to get into the cabin to call 9-1-1. Panicked, she began to yell for help, repeatedly. It had only taken one of the blood curdling cries from Esther to draw the attention of Susan, their next-door neighbor. Esther was so grateful to see her friend. By then, Esther had begun CPR on James, but had not been able to find a pulse.
The arrival of the emergency vehicles seemed to take forever. Esther knew; that morning's walk with her beloved James would be their last. The emergency personnel confirmed what she already knew. .
One of the children from down the street who was riding his skateboard interrupted Esther’s thoughts of that day.
“Hi, Mrs. Spencer,” Robby yelled out as he made a quick turn and stopped with expert precision just short of the bottom stair of Esther's porch.
“Well, hello there, Robby,” answered Esther. She loved children and Esther looked forward to when one of the neighborhood children came by to keep her company.
Before setting his skateboard down on the ground, Robby asked, “Could I come up and sit in the swing with you, Mrs. Spencer?”
“I'd like that very much, Robby.”
Robby was just seven years old and about as animated a child as Esther had known. He always wore the biggest, sweetest smile, which was like sunshine to Esther.
Robby's feet hung freely over the edge of the swing. While Esther began moving it in a rhythmic manner once again, Robby began chitchatting with her. Being seven brought bragging rights about who the best skateboarder was in the neighborhood and the home run he hit in his softball game the night before.
They talked for well over an hour when Robby became quiet. Esther had sensed something specific was on his mind since he sat down. She was right.
“Mrs. Spencer, I've been wondering about something. Do you think Mr. Spencer is in Heaven?”
“Oh, yes, Robby, I know he is!”
“How do you know?” Robby asked.
“I know, Robby, because you see, long before Mr. Spencer had the heart attack, he was saved.”
“Saved from what? Robby innocently asked. Esther was slightly amused by his question.
“Well, Robby, Mr. Spencer was saved from a place called Hell by accepting Jesus as his Saviour.
Robby asked whether he could be saved and Esther explained what he needed to do. They talked at length and before the morning was over, Robby had accepted Jesus as his Saviour.
Esther felt a new hope as Robby rode his skateboard home. She had always known the path the Lord wanted her to follow in the twilight years of her life; she just didn’t realize she could walk that path without her beloved James.
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