As was her ritual, Janice pulled the little beaded purse out of her secret pocket.
Grandma, I’m walking…….
The coliseum was lively this evening. As she walked out of her dressing room, she slowly traced the beading with her fingers as she recalled that day, long ago.
“Come in, Grandma’s Darlin. Sit by my bed, here. Grandma has to talk to you.”
“Yes, Grandma,” Janice said, giving her grandma’s hand a love pat.
“My darlin’, where’s mommy?”
“Baby, grandma’s got to tell you some very important things today. I know that you’re only eight years old, but you must listen and remember. Can you do that?”
“Honey, you know that grandma hasn’t been well….”
“I just want you to know, Janice, that I’m dying but I’m very happy. Jesus is going to move me in with grandpa and my mommy and daddy. It’s going to be sad in your heart when I leave, but you must remember that I’m moving to my real home, and you’ll see me again later.”
Janice began to cry, softly. “Can I go with you, grandma?” she asked, her tiny chin shaking slightly.
“No, Janice. You can’t. Remember I told you all about Jesus?”
“Well, he’s in your heart now. You’re never alone, Janice, but you’re going to have to be very strong for grandma. Okay?”
“Okay…” Janice said haltingly, wiping at tears with the back of her tiny hand.
“Mommy isn’t mommy right now. She has a drug problem but she will get better.” This time, her grandma’s eyes welled with tears. “She’ll always be my darlin’ …” she said in a faraway voice. She choked away a sob and forced herself up on her elbow to swallow some water.
“Now, Janice, you’re getting so big, aren’t you? For the last few days, you’ve made grandma her meals, and grandma is so proud of you.”
“I can do it, grandma. I don’t mind.”
“Janice, you have a more important job to do. Here, take grandma’s purse. There’s a telephone number in it. After we are finished here, I want you to walk down the corner to Ms. Susie’s store. Give her that number and ask her to call it for you. I’ve already told her you’ll be coming. People will come to help you and mommy. Don’t be scared. Let them do all that they must do. There is another number on a yellow piece of paper. When they come, give those to them and they’ll get mommy help, too. Can you do this, Janice?”
“Yes, grandma. I’m a big girl.”
“Honey, I’ve worked hard at loving, at forgiving and at serving. My walk is finished to the best I could do. Yours is just beginning. Come closer, sweetheart.” She placed her heavily blue veined hand upon the top of Janice’s head. “God loves you and has a plan for your life. You are blessed and highly favored.” Can you say that, Janice? Say ‘God loves me and has a plan for my life. I am blessed and highly favored.’ She made Janice repeat it several more times. “I want you to say this three times a day, every single day. The Bible on my nightstand has all the answers to life. When you go to Ms. Susie’s store in a minute, please take that with you. It’s my gift to grandma’s darlin’. When you call that number, people will come take you somewhere safe. They will take your mommy somewhere to get well. You are to take my Bible before you go.” She rehearsed it all again with Janice until she was sure she remembered each step. “This is sooner than I’d have wanted it, but God knows best because he has a plan for your life, my darlin’. I’m trusting Him to do the rest.”
“Grandma, I can’t leave you. Mommy can’t take care of you.” Janice held onto her grandma’s arm, crying.
“No more tears, Janice,” her grandma had said. “Remember, you’re blessed and highly favored. Now, Janice, go….walk……..now. In Jesus’ name…. walk.”
“And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for…… That precious, joyful and highly favored child of God who has come to encourage you in your walk…..it’s Grandma’s Darlin’, Janice Shaughnnessy!”
Smoothing the skirt of her glittery gown one last time and placing her grandma’s purse into the secret pocket, Janice picked her chin up. With one last wink to her mother in the first row, she walked…. into the spotlight.
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