“Grandma, look! I’ve got a sparkler!”
Caroline’s eyes blinked open; Carly was hovering near her with a sparkler. Carly’s kinetic joy was contagious and her eyes glowed as silvery glitter hissed from its stick. Caroline shrugged off her fatigue and smiled as she turned to her granddaughter. “That’s wonderful, Carly. I’m so glad you showed me.”
Caroline had been in the midst of a wonderful daydream, but seeing Carly’s enthusiasm was almost worth having to wake up. She could go back to the dream later; today, her family was gathered for a Fourth of July picnic, which had become a family tradition. Her daughter Amanda’s home was near enough to the park for them to be able to see the community fireworks show without having to leave Amanda’s yard.
As she stared, fascinated, at the cascades of silvery sparkles, Caroline wondered if this might be the last picnic she’d share with her family. Her interrupted dream had been about heaven; she’d been thinking of it a lot lately, since the doctor had told her about the return of her cancer. Caroline didn’t look forward to what the disease would do to her body, but she was looking forward to heaven.
Caroline had no regrets; she’d had 80 wonderful years of life and until Jack had died 10 years ago, she’d been blessed with as idyllic a love story as she could have hoped for. But, as she faced what might be the last year of her life, she’d found many of her thoughts centering on heaven.
She had tried to imagine heaven: a place dominated by God’s glory and with nothing to focus on except for fellowship with Him. She’d be so happy to see Jack, and her other loved ones, in heaven, but she imagined she’d mostly be overjoyed to see her Savior, face to face.
The sultry heat of this holiday evening, combined with a full stomach, had lulled her to sleep. Carly’s exuberant interruption had awakened her, and now she was reluctantly brought back to reality.
“Grandma, how come the fireworks haven’t started yet?” Carly asked, discarding the burnt-out stick of her sparkler. “I want to see them.”
“Look at the sky, honey,” she answered. Carly tilted her head skyward as she continued:
“They can’t start showing fireworks until the sky is dark Don’t worry, Carly, they’ll be starting in about a half hour.”
“But it’s night time now!”
“No, Carly, it’s not. This time of day is called twilight. Look at the sky: it’s all grey now, like the color of your new kitty. For fireworks, the sky needs to be as black as coal.”
“But it’s almost dark, Grandma. Look; I can’t even see the sun anymore. I want it to get dark. Why doesn’t it hurry? I wish we could just stretch our hands up to the sky and pull down the darkness to make it come faster.”
Caroline laughed. “Yes, Carly, that would be fun. But we can’t. We have to wait for God to change the twilight into darkness. But, when the sky is ready, we’re going to see some amazing fireworks.”
Carly sighed. “OK, Grandma. I guess I have to wait.” She tilted her head skyward a few more times, but the twilight didn’t change. Suddenly, she scrambled forward. “I’m gonna go see if Mommy has more watermelon. Do you want some?”
“No thanks, sweetie. I’m kind of full. You go ahead; I’ll wait here while you finish your watermelon. Come back when you’re done so we can watch the show together.”
As she watched Carly sprint toward the picnic table, and saw her daughter Amanda smile and hold out a crescent of watermelon to Carly, Caroline realized her words to Carly had been spoken to her own heart as well. Now, in the twilight of her life, she wished she could speed the process of her earthly life’s impending darkness, so she could now enjoy the glories that awaited her in heaven. But, like Carly, she had to wait for God to move time at His own pace.
She stretched her shoulders as she settled back in the chair, waiting for the show. She was in no hurry for this twilight to pass, but, for Carly’s sake, she hoped the fireworks wouldn’t be long in coming tonight.
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