Miriam picked at the thread of her cross stitch. She’d need more of that light blue to finish, she thought, as she set it aside. The shadows around her were lengthening, making charcoal sketches across the soft browns of the valley, and her dimming eyes found it hard to focus on her work.
She sat on an old crotcheted rug on the packed-earth floor of her tiny hut and gazed through the doorway. Beyond the dappled blue haze of the mountains, the sky grew pink, the very shade of the little woolly cap she’d just made for her newest grandchild. She chuckled and sighed at the thought as she followed the progress of a fat, lichen-green caterpillar inching its way along the reed mat in the doorway. Some liked to eat them, but she’d rather leave them be!
Wasn’t Father God good to send such glorious pictures to her each day? A bright, new one to welcome in each morning and another as the day gave its last burst of colour to the sunset, before it closed its eyes to sleep. And then there were all the small, yet just as special, in-between ones, like that comical caterpillar.
Miriam breathed in the fresh, cool air, suffused with hints of yellow jasmine and misty droplets – the promise of rain. A lone kingfisher, a soft turquoise in the last of the sun’s rays, fluffed its feathers and settled down on its branch for the night.
The dark was closing in around her now, and she hurried to light her rusty lamp, the pale flame flickering gingerly, before popping and crackling and bravely shooing away the shadows.
She bolted the door against the night and prepared for bed.
Through the small, square hole which served as a window high in the mud wall, Miriam watched as the inky blue become indigo, and pricks of silver twitched and sparkled as they each found a spot in the night sky.
Nowadays, Miriam’s dreams were full of laughter and colour. Mostly happy thoughts drifted and mingled with the images of loved ones and friends. Long ago, though, they had been dark and frightening. Fearsome ghouls of death had crept in through that small, square window, stealing away her peace and her joy and almost her very soul.
But then – when the path ahead had become too hard to bear, Father God had found her. In a dream, she had seen Him and she knew that He’d always been there! She had felt His eyes watching over her as a child, protecting her from danger : that snake bite which could have killed her in the maize fields long ago; that time when she so nearly drowned in the river, as she helped her mother with the washing; and years later, at the birth of her first-born when they both had come close to death.
In her dream He had reached out to her.
She was drowning in a thick, black void, its claggy air squeezing the life from her. He had come for her wearing a scarlet cloak, lifting her up and out of that bog, giving rest to her weary frame.
Father God had brought healing and laughter back into her life. The ugly fear had gone and peace had slipped gently into all those empty spaces, allowing joy to grow and swell in every crevice and loop of her life.
Miriam lay down with a satisfied sigh, once again praising her Father for another perfect day. Sleep would come easily and with it, happy and colourful dreams. And tomorrow – more new and wonderful pictures, just for her – sent from her Father God.
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