The air was thick and silent on that sultry July night in 1967. The fireflies, ordinarily painting the evening canvas with a brilliant light show, were few and far between. There was only the briefest flicker here and there, much like the twinkling of the stars in the typical summer’s night sky. Tonight, however, the blackness of that sky was interrupted only by the momentary flash of distant lightning, followed by the low grumble of summer-time thunder.
As the tiniest hint of a breeze graced the night air, the sweet smell of honeysuckle drifted through the darkness and the crickets began their night-song to the trees. The woman on the porch sat silently, taking in the depth of the evening. The supper dishes had been washed and put away and her precious granddaughter, Beth, was snugly tucked into bed, her Beagle pup sleeping at her feet.
Rocking gently in the completeness of that night, Ruthie smiled as she reflected on the many blessings God had given her over the course of her seventy-eight years. She had been given a wonderful man with whom she had shared her life for the past 54 years. She had been blessed with two remarkable children and four precious grandchildren. There had been heartaches, that much was true, but the blessings had far outweighed the sorrows. God had been with her through the tribulations in her life, offering peace in the midst of each storm.
The stillness of the night was interrupted by the familiar creak of the screen door, followed by the dull thump as the wooden door re-connected with the frame. Next came the familiar pitter pat of her granddaughter’s tiny feet on the porch, their urgency indicating that something wasn’t right. She stopped rocking just as Beth leaped into her lap.
Holding her close, Ruthie asked, “What’s wrong, angel? Bad dream?”
Snuggling closer, her granddaughter nodded.
“It’s okay, punkin. It was just a dream. You’re safe here.”
Beth relaxed a bit as she nestled deep into her grandmother’s lap.
“You feel better now?” Ruthie asked.
“Yes,” the little girl whispered, “your lap makes the bad dreams go away. It makes me feel full inside.”
“I’m glad,” her grandmother said softly. “I love being your safe place. And sweetheart, I want you to remember that when Grandma’s not around, you’ll always have another lap you can crawl into. A big lap that can make you feel full inside, just like Grandma’s.”
“Whose lap is that?” Beth asked quietly.
“It’s God’s lap, sweetie. He will always be right there beside you, whenever you have bad dreams. Don’t ever forget how much He loves you.”
“As much as you love me Grandma?” Beth asked.
“As much as I love you, Beth. And even more than that.”
All around them the night moved silently through the moment. The sporadic blinking of the fireflies, the intermittent flashes of far-away lightning, the air perfumed with honeysuckle’s essence and the sound of the crickets serenading the trees. All of these snippets of the heart of that summer night were blending to form a memory that a little girl would reach for many years from then.
She would reach for peace and she would remember the depth of that July night so long ago. And, just as her grandmother had promised, God would extend His arms and welcome her onto His lap and into His loving embrace.
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