Patsy flits from flower to tree to clouds and back again, opening her arms wide to embrace the kaleidoscope of vibrant colors and shapes surrounding her. Winking reds keep time to the music of the shimmering yellow tints waving to each other in the mellow breeze, ruffling the gossamer threads of her ethereal garment caressingly. Out of her mouth escapes a childish giggle of innocent delight as she observes my methodical lumbering strides across the meadow path.
“Hey, Peety, what ‘cha doin’?” she asks, her girlish voice a melody of flowing syllables.
“Following you,” I mumble, feeling clumsy. “How’d you know my name?”
I chase her, as in a game of tag, trying unsuccessfully to imitate her fluid movements. She sails gracefully into the atmosphere, turning a series of gravity-free, death-defying somersaults before landing effortlessly on the soft grass in front of me.
“Why—why—you’re Patsy!” I suddenly perceive. “How’d you do that?” I point vacantly upward.
She gazes into my eyes, willing me to pay attention, and I see in hers a familiar reflection of yesteryear.
“You’re still landlocked, Peety. Once you see the Master, your body will change . . . Come!”
Patricia Stevens squirmed as she sat beside her grandparents in the family pew at Heritage Community Church. Pastor Wingar seemed to be talking straight to her as he read from the open Bible balanced in his hand.
“God loves YOU, God sent His only Son, Jesus, from His palace in heaven to a lowly manger stall for YOU. Jesus lived among us, fully God and fully man, for YOU. He was crucified for YOU. He arose for YOU!”
Patricia’s eyes widened as each word penetrated her awakening soul, like a drooping flower revives from an April shower’s raindrops. She opened her heart to Jesus that morning, confessing her sins and acknowledging Him as her Savior. She was twelve years old. She continued growing in her faith, joining the family of God, becoming salt and light to “unbelievers” all her days.
Peter Groves was a hardened 18-year-old miscreant on his way to a nefarious future of crime. His almost non-existent childhood with an overworked mother trying to put food on the table after his father had deserted them for greener pastures, was rough. Peter didn’t believe in God, judging and labeling “Jesus freaks” as weak and hypocritical as strongly as they labeled and avoided him like a leprous sinner.
Until a birthday celebration changed everything. Peter and best buddy, Larry, out bar-hopping and partying, were too drunk to think about not driving. Neither one of them saw the oncoming van driven by a young mother carefully maneuvering through the stormy night. Neither recognized that the familiar bridge’s hairpin curve was wet and slippery until the ear-splitting crash of metal on metal accompanied by the melee of broken car parts and pieces of torn flesh and screams were flying through the wafts of the chilly night air.
“Looks like the drunk driver’s the only survivor,” the police officer angrily declared. “Don’t know as he’s worth saving, but we gotta try.”
The prison sign-in log revealed only two visitors for Peter Groves throughout his incarceration: Phil and Grace Harmon, parents of the van’s deceased driver, Hope Long. Peter, bowed down with guilt and despair, had reluctantly agreed to see them, expecting angry triads, recriminations, and hate. Instead, they offered forgiveness and a reprieve from God.
“We miss her, but she’s gone and we can’t change that. God forgave us when we didn’t deserve it—how can we do less for you?”
Peter broke down then, accepting Jesus as his personal Savior. He then dedicated his life to high school student assemblies where he told his victorious story, evangelizing many teens into God’s family.
Patricia Stevens and Peter Groves met, fell in love, and eventually married. They served the Lord together faithfully at a Mission school up until Patricia suffered a fatal heart attack forty years later. Peter grieved for his loss, but looked forward to joining her in heaven one day, along with the others who had gone before him.
Patsy takes my hand, and I know our destination will complete my joy.
“Come, Peety,” she repeats, “and see what is in our future.”
We float on a moonbeam with thousands of others across time and space toward a distant love-generated Light so intensely pure we stand on tip-toe in joyful anticipation of eternal life, echoing the angels’ songs of praise and adoration forever.
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