She held the green sundress up to her body skeptically. She put it back and stepped onto the escalator.
At the bottom was a Hispanic boy with dark hair and very large eyes. He looked about four and he was watching the stairs where they slid down and became flat. His eyes scanned where the stair railings disappeared and suddenly he reached into the hole they slid into.
The escalator stopped.
His cry of pain was immediate. His hand was stuck.
She hurried down the stairs to see the boy’s father turn around and bend over beside him. He held a credit card and a cell phone in one hand, which he continued to hold as he reached in and began yanking the boy’s hand. It wasn’t coming out. The boy screamed in fear. His father yanked.
The tiny hand came free. Its knuckles were torn through, and a deep gash ran down the side of one finger onto his hand and up his thumb.
She crossed to the nearest counter. “Call security there’s a boy-a little boy who got his hand caught in the escalator.” The woman got instantly on the phone.
She walked swiftly away towards the double doors. The boy’s crying followed her until she was outside.
Inside the privacy of her car she began to cry.
Sobbing, she raised her hand up to the top of her head and made herself breathe. Her heart was so grieved there were no words. She was praying and protesting all at once. The cries of a child in physical pain are stark in their sincerity. They hold no indulgence-only panic and need.
She was furious at herself for not saying “No!” the moment he began reaching. Her anger burned against the father, so callous he had not even set anything down to reach the boy. Who did he have if he didn’t have his parents? She drew the little black book out of her purse-opening it at the bookmark in 2 Corinthians 4:18
For we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The things which aren’t seen. God sees him. He has God for his Father.
She could not see it, but oh how she wanted it.
The things that are not seen. She said it again and again. The things that are not seen are eternal.
It was her prayer the whole drive home.
“Thank you, I am so grateful to be here with you,” the large shouldered man with the soft voice began. Like an affectionate father he smiled out over the assembly in the upstairs room of the strip mall. They sat in folding chairs; outside sirens raced by drowned out only by the sounds of the industrial electric fans at the back of the sanctuary.
“Before I start I would like tell you a little about my life. My parents didn’t really pay attention to me. Even when my Father got a better job he didn’t really spend time with me. I felt alone. But if your life is like that,” he looked over the young ones in the front, kicking their feet in the air, “I want you to know that David writes in Psalm 27 ‘Though my mother and father forsake me,’” his eyes dropped to the four year old boy at his elbow who stared blinkingly up, “the Lord will take care of me.”
“Before we begin, let us pray together,” He bowed his head. “Gracias, Jesús , que está con nosotros. Thank you Jesus, that you are with us. Amen.” He smiled at the upturning of their faces, surprised at the shortness of his prayer.
“Turn to second Kings, chapter 6,” pages fluttered. “Verse seventeen.” His voice boomed as he read: “And Elisha prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha!”
He held the book he read from with a quiet victory as he began to preach. And every so often, as if his joy were too great to prevent it, he held the old book up, in a hand with knuckles scarred across, and a dark mark that ran down the side of one finger onto his hand and up his thumb.
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