A shiver courses through my frigid body as I awaken and stare up at the starry sky. It looks as though dawn will arrive shortly. Leaves crumple on the damp ground beneath me as I roll over, snuggling into the threadbare blanket I’m fortunate enough to still own.
Our gypsy village of vagrants is unusually quiet this morning. I don’t see any trashcan fires burning or hear any arguments. The silence is simultaneously a relief and eerie. I close my eyes once more and try to imagine the home I once knew. My mind travels the expanse of time to transport me back into my queen-sized bed with the overstuffed down comforter. A warmth flows over me for a moment as I remember its softness. The warmth disappears with an icy gust of wind, taking with it my recollections of a life best left unremembered. I fall back into a fitful sleep.
When I open my eyes for the second time on this crisp morning, the camp is back to its usual bustling self. I must hurry if I wish to eat today.
“Good morning Biddy!” I turn my head at the greeting of my closest companion. “Beautiful day today isn’t it?”
“I’ll let you know once my eyes start to focus!” I say, wiping the crusty remains of sleep from my aging eyes. I reach for my glasses and tighten the screw with a bitten down fingernail. “Aw, that’s better. Sure is a beaut, Dodge!” I reply, placing my scratched spectacles on my face.
I begin gathering up my meager belongings. Once they are safely stashed, Dodge and I head over to the breakfast line at the mission about a mile away. We don’t mind the walk; the exercise helps relieve our aches caused by spending nights quivering on the hard earth.
Every morning we head out for breakfast and then it’s off to collect cans for a while. Most of the good bins have been gone through by noon. Then it’s time to wash windows. I used to complain about how frustrating it was that I couldn’t reach the upper windows of my two-story home without a special pole attachment. Now I beg to wash other people’s car windows and my only tool is a dirty rag that probably does more harm than good, now that I think about it.
God blesses us with a good haul today. We receive a record high at the recycling center. The sun is setting and the cold wind seems to be going for a record itself. Dodge and I say good night and I head off to set up for bed.
I reach for my bundle of belongings I hid this morning only to come up empty handed. My blanket and only picture of my husband and children that had survived the fire, my travel sized toothbrush - even my Bible, everything, is gone.
I curl up under my tree and gather leaves around me, but realize it’s useless with this wind. I pull my limbs in tight against my body and bury my face into my chest. Tears flow as thoughts of my loved ones fill my heart. The temperature continues to drop as I shiver myself to sleep.
Soft voices rouse me. I rub my eyes and reach for my glasses, but realize I don’t need them. I can’t believe what they are showing me.
Everywhere I look there are mansions surrounding a crystal blue sea. The ground seems to be glowing, and then I realize the street is reflecting light off its golden surface. Angelic voices singing praises to God serenade my ears. Figures rush towards me and as they approach, I recognize them all.
“Welcome home Wendy!” My parents greet me as my husband and daughters wrap their arms around me. It has been so many years, yet they’re all here, just as I remember them!
The crowd separates and the most beautiful being I have ever encountered stretches His arms out to me. I feel a quick panic as excitement fills me. Gasping in awe, I fall at my Lord’s feet. He laughs gently and caresses my cheek. My soul tingles and feels. He helps me to my feet and kisses me on the back of each of my hands.
My smile stretches across my face and laughter bursts forth. My feet begin to dance and all of Heaven rejoices with me at being in the presence of our beautiful creator.
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