Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: HOPE (joyful, confident expectation in salvation) (03/05/15)
TITLE: When We Meet Again
By Pauline Carruthers
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The hour before dawn was always the hardest, when a pinprick of light crept silently through a chink in the curtains and he knew she would have just fallen asleep. Sometimes in the night he could hear her praying, stifled sobs escaping into the quietness as she poured out her desires and expectations to the Lord. He stretched out a weary hand and switched on the dim lamp by the bed. It was getting harder to stay, but he knew she needed time. He must have drifted into sleep again because he suddenly became aware of her presence beside him, his cold hand clasped in hers. A tremulous smile touched her lips as she busily tucked the warm duvet around him and suggested porridge for breakfast, knowing it would simply grow cold.
“Orange juice would be good” he murmured, his heart aching to plead for more time with her. His brown eyes, half closed, met hers and held her gaze. He had always told her she had beautiful eyes; sometimes palest blue as a summer sky, other times dark as a sapphire. She ran a trembling hand over her tousled auburn hair and he smiled, aware that she never liked to look untidy. An awareness of his own hair, thin and brittle, brought a momentary sadness. She used to run her fingers through his thick dark hair. Now she gently swept a warm hand across his forehead, lovingly brushing back the limp strands.
“Read to me Ginny.”
Picking up his well-worn Bible, Ginny shuffled the pages, searching for an encouraging Psalm.
“No, read from Revelation he whispered. I love the sights, sounds and feelings it inspires in me; raising my expectations, reminding me of God’s promises.”
Drowning in the beloved sound of her voice, he listened, taking in every nuance, every intonation. She read until his eyes softly closed. Then straightened the duvet, patted the pillows and gently moved a hand over his damp cheek.
Only half sleeping he was aware of his name quietly spoken, like a murmured prayer, and his watch on the bedside cabinet ticking away their precious time. Opening tired eyes, he scanned the room, mourning the times before his illness, when they had shared the bedroom overlooking the garden, the heady fragrance of white roses permeating the flimsy white voile curtains. Now, because of the pain and the morphine drip, he slept alone, in this room she had decorated in soft beige and cream; bright yellow artificial sunflowers on the windowsill; a brass lamp with yellow shade by his bed. He loved this room because she had created it especially for him. It made him feel peaceful. A mere glimpse of the beauty that await him in Heaven.
With the diagnosis of his terminal illness they had pinned their hopes on a miracle, believing and trusting that God still had a plan for their lives. Time and his gradual deterioration had moved the boundaries. Now they clung to the glorious expectation of eternal life with Jesus, trusting Him for the time in between.
“Ginny. I want you to promise me that you will still move to the seaside. I want to picture you walking by the sea, watching the waves ebbing and flowing, marvelling at the vastness of God’s Creation and looking forward to the time when we meet again. I want to know you will live your life according to God’s plan for you. I have to leave you, but He will never leave you.”
Talking wearied him, strength was failing. He watched her as she sat beside him, head bent, tears spilling. When she looked up he could see the reflection of Jesus in her eyes and an unexpected joy lifted his spirit. He knew she would survive and after the mourning would continue to grow in faith; confident in the knowledge that their Saviour would shelter her beneath the shadow of His wings, until that day when they would meet again. He watched as she stood, crossed the room and picked up a CD. His favourite Mat Redmond song filtered into his consciousness.
‘And on that day when my strength is failing. The end draws near and my time has come. Still my soul will sing Your praise unending. Ten thousand years and then forever more.’
Ginny was taken by surprise. A weak raspy voice was joining in the chorus. Joy unfolded, hope for the future rose, as quietly she blended her voice with his.
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