Janet woke up while day was still dark. The church bells were tolling, inviting the faithful for Matins. Birds were chirruping and a gentle breeze caused the wind-chimes to whisper a sweet melody. The grand-father’s clock announced the time – ding dong, ding dong five times.
Janet knelt by her bed and thanked God for this day. Her son, Charlie, was coming home. Since her husband passed away, Charlie, her only child ,had been her source of joy and encouragement. It nearly broke her heart when he was called to serve his country in the middle- east. But now all those anxious days of waiting were over. Charlie had been discharged and he was coming home to be with her.
The grand- father clock proclaimed the time – ding dong, ding dong nine times. Janet looked out the window.
“Why was Charlie so late,” she wondered.
She checked around the dining room. Breakfast was ready - Charles’s favorite blue berry muffins, maple syrup and pancakes, eggs, bacon and toast, coffee were ready. The table was set for two and fresh flowers were arranged in the vase. But where was Charlie? Janet sat by the window trying to concentrate on her daily devotions.
Then the doorbell rang. Janet jumped up. She straightened her dress and patted her hair. With a broad smile she answered the doorbell knowing that it would be Charlie. Her smile vanished as she saw the cop at the door. Fear gripped her heart. Had anything happened to Charlie?
“I am sorry, ma’am, Charlie is in the hospital and I came to take you there,” the cop said.
On the way to the hospital the cop said that Charlie had met with an accident and had succumbed to his injuries. Grief numbed Janet as she walked into the morgue and saw her son, her pride and joy, lying there on the cold marble, so handsome yet so peaceful. And then she lost conscious.
The next thing she remembered was sitting in the funeral parlor beside Charlie’s coffin, surrounded by her friends and her church family. She heard the church bells toll out, solemnly, dong….dong…dong as they bid farewell to Charlie, her beloved child.
Days rolled into months and seasons followed each other. It was spring again. Janet had survived her terrible tragedy. God’s plan for her life had unfolded with each passing day.
One day as she prayed alone in an empty sanctuary, she heard muffled weeping behind her. That is how she met Linda, a young pregnant girl. When Janet heard her heartrending story her heart melted. Linda’s husband had been killed in action just a month ago. She and her little son Freddie had no family or friends and no where to stay. She was alone and scared. Something prompted Janet to offer the girl her home and security.
That was the turning point in Janet’s life. Linda’s son Freddie was so like Charlie. The home was once again full of laughter and echoed with cheerfulness of little feet running around. The kitchen smelled with the aroma of blue berry muffins baking in the oven. As Janet sat by the window knitting socks for the unborn baby, she marveled at God’s plan for her life.
Church bells were ringing proclaiming the vespers. Geese honked as they flew home. Up in the trees birds chattered and screamed as they fought for the most comfortable perch for the night. A cool breeze played with the wind-chimes and made them chime in happiness. God had taken Charlie but He had not let her perish in her distress. He had blessed her with Linda who loved as a daughter, and Freddie who filled her days with gladness and the promise of a baby girl in the near future.
In humble thanksgiving Janet bowed her head and prayed:
“Thank you, God for fulfilling in my life Your promise,
‘So do not fear, for I am with you. do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you’ (Isaiah 41:10 NIV Bible)
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