“Concentrate.” The words whispered through Aileen’s mind, and muffled the wind that howled. One foot in front of the other… one step at a time.
She clutched her coat tighter. “The snow feels like shards of glass. I think my face would be bloody if it wasn’t so cold.” Aileen trudged on for a few minutes in silence until her mind drifted and a deep sleepiness beckoned her with a warmth and peace.
She paused and shook her head and then her whole body to rid herself of the mind-numbing trance. “I won’t give in. I can’t… too much depends on me.” Saying the words out loud seemed to help keep the blackness in her mind pushed back.
“Concentrate… why am I doing this?” The smooth soles of Aileen’s black dress shoes slipped in the snow. “The children. They’re waiting in the van.” She stayed near the edge of the road as the middle was scattered with black icy patches hidden under the swirls of snow… the same icy patches that had landed them in a ditch.
“Paul needs me to keep going. Concentrate on Paul. He’s hurt. Bloody. His head is bloody. Unconscious. He wanted to surprise me… my birthday.” She forced the words past the wind that pressed against her face. It was so very cold. “Determined to take me out… even though the weather... so sweet… now he needs me… needs me to concentrate.”
“Only two miles. I can do this. We do it every time we walk to the park. The park… to play in the wading pool. So hot there. And the mosquitoes. I hate mosquitoes.” A giggle escaped Aileen’s tight chest. “Lord… feel free to remind me of this moment when I complain about mosquitoes next summer.”
“Oh. I forgot You. God, do You see me? Us. The van, my kids, Paul. He’s bleeding, God. “
“I am trying, God. On my family. On each step.” The snow turned to sleet again. But it didn’t seem to hurt her face anymore.
“No… Aileen. Concentrate on Me. I need your attention. It’s just you and Me.”
“Ok, God.” She tucked the tissues tighter around her nose and mouth and into her hood. She had left her own thick scarf with the kids to help them stay warm. A smile cracked her frozen lips. “At least I don’t need to worry about my runny nose.”
“I love your quirky sense of humor. You always find something to smile about.”
“Not so easy right now, Lord. Help me out here.”
“What do you remember from my Word?”
“You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
“I know your sitting down and your rising up.”
Aileen looked down. She was sitting on the ground and wet snow had collected on her black dress pants. “Oops. How did that happen?” A weird giggle escaped. She pushed herself back to her feet. “Shoes are gone.” Her voice sounded childlike and lost. She wasn’t cold anymore. The white surrounded her like a blanket.
“Concentrate on Me, Aileen. What do you see?”
“When I concentrate on You, the storm dims. In fact… I think I see lights over there.” One foot in front of the other. Her eyes were nearly swollen closed. She squinted into the storm. “Yes… they twinkle.”
“Oh yeah… um… You are the Light of the world. Light. Like the lights in the farmhouse. Christmas lights. Tree in the window.”
“I am your Light, Daughter.”
“Light. You are the Light when I am lost in the storms. So many storms in my life.”
“Look to me, Aileen. The storms come and go. I am always here. I am Light and Life and Truth and the only safe Shelter. When you concentrate on Me… you see only Me… not the storm. Then I can lead you in the path I have prepared for you.”
“Yes, Lord. Teach me to concentrate on You.” Aileen stumbled into the aura of multicolored lights and fell to her knees as the motion-sensor flooded her path with light. A star blinked in a window. The door opened and hands helped her into warmth.
A blanket hugged her shoulders and a steamy mug nestled in her hands. Voices swirled around her.
“Talking to herself.”
“What’d she say about a van and kids? And someone bleeding.”
Aileen didn’t notice as people hastily loaded snowmobiles with blankets, hot coffee, and first aid supplies. She was still talking to her Daddy.
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