Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FAMILY VACATION (07/30/15)
TITLE: Breathless Holiday
By Jack Taylor
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It had been almost a year since I’d had the chance to let go and this was my moment. We were in a tropical paradise in Kenya. The acacia and palm trees swished in the gentle breeze, the fragrance of frangipani and jasmine hung in the air, months of intense stress was due to become a distant memory.
Only, the niggle was there.
I turned my head away from the pool which was slightly up the hill. My son was playing with new friends and my infant daughter was being safely guarded by three teen girls in the water who had agreed to give me a break. What did I have to worry about?
“Life is good, Lord,” I sighed.
Thoughts of my youngest flooded through my memory; being rushed to the local hospital, finding out that both the doctor and the mid-wife were on medical safari, and then desperately trying to hold the hospital gown in some semblance of decency as I was hurtled in a wheelchair down hall after hall until we arrived at the birthing room. A visiting doctor stepped into place just as the water broke and out she came.
The first ten days were a fight for life as Laura battled through jaundice and malaria. Her weight dropped like a rock off a cliff. We called out for prayer as the doctors considered a blood transfusion on such a small body. Moments before their deadline they called it off. Laura was a fighter. She turned the corner and began to feed as if to make up for lost time.
“Life is good, Lord,” I told myself again.
Yet, the niggle persisted.
I picked my head up and listened. The laughter of dozens of people around the pool flowed freely.
It had been a hideous six hour drive in the blistering heat across the worst potholed roads you could imagine. The sun had sucked every hint of moisture from the ground over the last years. An oasis like this one was rare.
I got to my knees. “Jim,” I said to my husband lying nearby. “Where are the kids?”
He turned his head and muttered, “probably right where we left them.”
I got to my feet. My four year old son stood tentatively at the edge of the diving board with his friend’s father in the water, arms outstretched, ready to catch him. He was laughing joyously. He seemed okay.
“Life is good, Lord,” I sighed.
I took a step toward the pool and looked for the teen girls. They were at the edge of the pool laughing and intent on their conversation. I wondered where Laura was. “What’s the matter, babe?” Jim called. I took three big steps across the grass and then ran toward the pool.
When I reached the top of the rise where the pool was situated and quick-stepped across the burning cement I saw her. She was face down in the middle of the pool and not a single person was seeing her.
I dove without question past the teens and thrashed my way to my baby. Accusations about what a terrible mother I was screamed in my head. I grabbed her and lifted her up into the air. She opened her eyes and smiled.
That time at the Safari Club still leaves me breathless. Two dozen years have gone by since then. I don’t have pictures in my scrap book but I can see it as clear as the hibiscus that we did get a picture of. I see her smile and I feel that little niggle, reminders of my heavenly Father watching even when no one else was.
I needed that reminder last night as we hurtled toward the hospital again from our current family vacation. I had been lying in my tent when I felt the niggle. I needed this break. “Life is good, Lord,” I sighed.
We were camping two hours from home, Jim, myself, Laura. Laura’s husband was off on business. The night was still with scattered laughter from happy campers. I pushed off the sleeping bag.
“What’s the matter, babe?” asked Jim.
I pulled on a sweat shirt over my nightie and put my feet into my flip flops. I unzipped the tent. Two steps from Laura’s tent I heard the groan.
Laura was in pre-mature labour. Once again I was breathless, but once again God was faithful. Today, I’m a grandma.
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