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Where Is the Water Fountain, Mommy?
Laura Anne Harrison
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Where Is the Water Fountain, Mommy?
As the early storm season began, the Fosters’ old, red brick house stood across the road from the railroad tracks that ran through the middle of town. Gusty, howling west winds ran through the huge oak trees that surrounded the house. Roaring winds threw the leafy limbs of the trees back and forth and pushed the weaker limbs against the side of the house. Flashing lightning skipped through the dark clouds in the gray skies, and crashing thunder slapped the air.
It was during this storm season that six-year-old Lizzie Foster glued herself to her mother’s side. As the lightning arched, bolted, and spit fire across the skies, and as the thunder bounced close by, Lizzie shed no tears. Instead, she grabbed her mother’s hand. Together, they walked through each room in the house, lowering each window and closing each door.
As the lightning bit the sky and the thunder crashed, Lizzie threw her tiny arms around her mother’s knees. Cuddling close to her mother, she stated in a tone that stood near the edges of fear, “Mommy, I’m afraid of thunder.”
Patting the honey-brown curls of the top of Lizzie’s head, her mother quietly repeated what she had said many times before, “Thunder’s just a noise, honey, and noise can’t hurt you.”
Lizze’s response was always the same – a whimpering, “But, I’m afraid of the thunder, Mommy.”
Her mother quickly scooped Lizzie up and held her close, until the thunder-noise stopped for a moment or two. As the winds howled, moaned, and played havoc with the tumbling rain, she brushed the stray curls away from Lizze’s face. Seeing the deep seriousness in her dark, fawn eyes, she cupped Lizzie’s chin in one hand and, with the pointer finger of her other hand, she pecked the tip of her small nose. As a giggling Lizzie reached up to peck her mother’s nose with one tiny finger, her mother repeated, “Thunder’s just a noise. And noise can’t hurt you”
Lizzie proceeded to point out, “Lightning can kill you.” Her big eyes met her mother’s eyes, as she waited for some reaction to her newly acquired knowledge.
Lizzie’s mother wondered where her daughter had gained that bit of information. “Yes,” she nodded. “Lightning can kill you. But, here in the house, it won’t hurt you.” As the lightning snapped at the sky again, Lizzie’s mother cringed and tried to act brave, “You’re safe here with Mommy.”
As the words left her mouth, thunder cracked and surrounded them with its drummer’s bomb-bomb. Again, Lizzie moaned, “But, I’m STILL afraid of thunder.”
Lizzie’s mother wondered how many times she would have to repeat, “Thunder’s just a noise, and noise can’t hurt you,” before her daughter BELIEVED.
At that moment, across the road from where they lived, a rumbling train shook the house and rattled its windows, Its harsh, blaring whistle sent Lizze’s hands to her ears, as it always did when the train roared down the tracks and shouted its coming to the railroad crossing that was less than a block away.
The rolling sound of the train on the tracks faded into the distance, and an idea shaped itself in the brain of Lizzie’s mother. Turning to Lizzie, she asked, “Honey, you know how loud the trains sound when they run by our house? That noise doesn’t hurt you, does it?”
Lizzie’s head swayed slowly back and forth, as her mother explained, “Well, the thunder noise is like the train noise. It‘s LOUD. . . . If you watch closely, you can tell when the thunder noise is going to come.”
Lizzie’s fawn eyes widened. Her ‘wanting-to-know’ moved her to ask, “How?”
“When you see the lightning run across the sky, the thunder will come after it. Maybe the thunder is chasing the lightning. Maybe the thunder is trying to catch the lightning. Do you think so?” Lizzie’s head slowly moved up and down, as she pondered the thought of thunder playing a game of tag with the lightning.
Lizzie’s mother caught her beginning acceptance of the idea. “I know, Lizzie. Let’s play the Thunder Game’. Let’s see if we can guess when the thunder is coming.”
As she delighted in the newness of the game, Lizzie’s fears crept away. Each time she saw the lightning jump across the sky, her hands flew to her ears before the thunder sounded.
The game ended, when the thunder and lightning ceased. As Lizzie and her mother pushed up the windows and opened the doors, the rain continued to spill from the sky. Fascinated, Lizzie watched it fall. As she peered out the window, she suddenly blurted out, “Mommy! Where is the water fountain? Where is the water fountain?”
Joining her small daughter at the window, her eyes searched through the window to see what she was seeing. The raindrops that fell were big. The effect of the huge splashes of the rain, stepping quickly into the deep puddles of water near the side of the house, appeared very similar to the bouncing water fountains that one sees in front of huge monuments in the park. The words leaped from her mouth, “That’s God’s water fountain, Lizzie!”
“But, where is God’s water fountain, Mommy? Where is it?” She could see the splashing water, but no spurting-spout pushing the water upward.
“God’s water fountain is the rain that drops from the clouds onto the water in the street. It gives everything – the grass, the trees, the flowers, the gardens – a drink so they can grow.”
“God’s water fountain is in the sky?” Lizzie was pensive. He mother could almost see her little mind trying to picture a “big water fountain in the sky”.
“Yes, honey. The clouds are God’s fountain, and He sends the rain down here to us. He uses the rain to make everything in His world fresh and clean and beautiful.”
“Why does He do that for us, Mommy?”
“Because He loves us, honey. When You love someone, you want good things for them. God loves us, and He wants good things for us. Everything He shares with us – even the thunder and the lightning – is good for us.”
Lizzie turned again to the window. “I’m glad God shares His water fountain with us, aren’t you, Mommy?” her little-girl speech drifted away, as she became lost for a while in “God’s water fountain”.
As Lizzie’s mother left her at the window, she felt an awareness of God’s presence deep down inside. Her mind overflowed with the thought that, even in the storms, God is there with “His Peace. . . Be still. . .” In the midst of frightening thunder and lightning, and violent wind and rain, God steps in to say, “Be not afraid. . . I am with you.”
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05 Apr 2008
Beautiful, just beautiful...what wisdom "mommy" showed. I walked with you thru each and every moment of this piece and loved every minute of it. Thank you for sharing this. GOD BLESS YOU
05 Apr 2008
Laura, your excellent descriptions in this story had me right in the midst of the storm. The mother daughter relationship was also precious.
If you have not already considered participating in the weekly writing challenge, I hope you might do so.
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