Lauren set down the basket of clothes and surveyed the kitchen area. The dinner dishes were piled up on one side. She sighed; they were next on the list, right after putting Tommy to bed. “Oh, and I still need to get those bills in the mail, too.”
She leaned despairingly against the fridge. There were always more chores. She loved her house, she loved her family, but there was always more to do. She raised her eyes upward, “Lord, I really do want to find time to just sit and read the Bible and really pray for people. But it seems so hard to find the time. I know it’s important--and I try. But lately, I’m just tired all the time.”
She let her head drop, reprimanded by her own disappointment at being unable to prioritize the right things. She looked in on Tommy playing with his cars. He had stacked books on an incline and was racing them down his make-shift hill. She watched his innocent play for a moment before calling him to bed, “C’mon Tommy. It’s time for bed.”
Tommy gave her a sad look and sent both cars down the track one more time. The red car made it all the way to the bottom but the blue car plunged to a certain doom off the side of the books. Tommy jumped up, grabbed both cars and obediently headed to the bathroom. He parked both cars on the sink as he grabbed his toothbrush.
Lauren went into his room and sat on his bed to wait for him, pulling down the covers. Tommy came in, setting his cars on the night stand in their proper place just like his father would do. Lauren smiled; he’s growing up so fast--next year he’ll start school. Tommy shuffled over to the bed and knelt down to say his bedtime prayers. Lauren knelt next to him. “Tommy finds time to pray every day”, she admonished herself.
He recited his prayer quickly but stumbled on the last line, “I pray the Lord, my soul to take.” He hesitated a second before crawling into bed. Lauren pulled the covers up tight, noticing the tell-tale frown; he was always thinking. Lauren sat down, waiting for the questions to come wondering what it was this time that had captured his mind.
“Mommy, what’s a soul? And why will God take it from me?”
Lauren blinked twice and closed her eyes, a prayer silently forming on her lips. “Lord, please give me a good answer that he can understand. He’s only five years old, and he’s already asking questions I can’t answer.”
Lauren inhaled, “Honey, a soul is the part of us that will go to live with God after we die. It’s hard to understand, but we won’t have the bodies we have now.”
Tommy frowned again. He gets this natural inquisitiveness from his father, Lauren thought, bracing for the next one.
“So we’ll be like ghosts then?” he asked.
Lauren winced. “No--not ghosts honey; it’ll just be very different. Our souls are like the essential part of us, our thoughts and values and something a bit more. I don’t know how to explain it. But it’s a very good thing, Sweetheart. Someday we’ll be in heaven together.”
Lauren scrutinized his face. Sometimes it was like talking with an adult. It was scary. And yet other times, he was very much a little boy wanting to know why it gets dark at night and wanting the light to stay on. Now his eyelids were drooping; that unquenchable curiosity was being shut down for the night.
Lauren hummed softly to quicken his passage to slumber land. She kissed him on the forehead and wandered back into the kitchen. The dishes were still there—waiting. So were the bills.
Lauren took a sharp breath, coming to a decision--the dishes would have to wait. “Tommy’s asleep and Jim won’t be home for a while yet. I need this time. I’d rather do it in the mornings but it just doesn’t seem to work. I have time now. My soul yearns for God’s word.”
She smiled as the Holy Spirit painted in her mind the image of a deer refreshing itself beside still waters. She could see herself settling beside the deer on the lush green pasture--a blissful picture of serenity. She opened her Bible to search the Psalms; her soul was ready to feast on its gentle, soothing words.
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