Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: JOY (12/07/17)
TITLE: Missing Joy
By Sylvia Young
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“Oh, my sweet girl,” I whispered, my throat clogged with emotion. “I miss you so much.”
Months had gone by, and yet I couldn't clean out her room. My husband had begged me to give away her things or at least pack them up, but I'd burst into tears and he'd yield to my grief.
When I lay down on her bed, I could pretend for a moment that she might come bounding in through the door any minute and laugh at me sleeping in her tiny bed.
“Silly Mommy,” she'd tease. “This is my bed.”
I could almost hear her sweet voice.
The pillow was soaked with my tears again. “Why Jesus?” I gasped, buried in my sorrow. “Why?”
“Why is my mommy crying?” the little girl asked, her eyes wide with wonder.
“She misses you,” came the soft reply.
“But she knows where I am, doesn't she? And we'll see each other again really soon.”
“It doesn't feel soon to her. It feels like forever.”
“But it's not,” the girl insisted. “It'll be any minute now.”
He took her onto her lap, held her close and spoke with kind patience.“That's the way time is here, but not on Earth.” He paused for a moment, taking her hand in His. “Do you remember when you went to camp?”
She nodded. “I cried myself to sleep every night.”
Pursing her lips a little, she thought before answering, "Because I missed my mommy.”
“But you knew you would see her again.” His voice was soothing, calm.
“Well, it was hard to remember that. It felt like it would take a really long time.” Her little face scrunched up tight as understanding came. “I see what You mean. I wish I could tell her not to be sad. I wish she knew that it'll be alright.”
He smiled at her and pushed her hair off her forehead, bestowing a tender kiss on her brow. “How about if I tell her for you?”
“That would be great!” she replied with a big smile, jumping down off His lap and skipping away. “Thanks!”
“Mommy? Are you okay?” A dear voice reached my ears and pierced the fog of my sorrow.
“I'm fine sweetheart,” I answered, but my voice was strangled.
“Why were you crying?”
I couldn't lie to my small son. “I miss Joy.”
“Me too,” he replied. “Where is she?”
I'd told him a hundred times already, but he wanted to hear it again. I sighed a little, pulled him into my arms and gave the pat answer. “She's in heaven, darling, with Jesus.”
“Then why are you sad? Isn't that a good thing?”
I could barely see him through my tears.
“It's good for her, I guess, but not for me.”
“But...we'll see her again, won't we? And then we'll all be happy.”
I leaned over to inhale his scent. He smelled so much like Joy.
“Can I look at one of her books?” he asked, his voice tentative. I never let him in this room, so worried that he would mess something up.
“Please Mommy? I'll be real careful. I promise.”
Looking into his hopeful face, I wiped my eyes and nodded. “Let's read one together.”
On Joy's bed, David pressed close to my side, and I drew comfort from him. Tears still leaked from my eyes as I read him one of my daughter's favorite books.
“It was a happy story, Mommy,” David told me when we reached the end. “The mommy found her puppy.”
“Yes, dear, I know.”
“So, you don't need to cry.”
Then he did something that Joy used to do when she was his age. He got on his knees, took my face between his hands and rubbed his tiny nose against mine. There was no way he could have known that she'd done that. He had just been a baby then.
“It'll be okay, Mommy,” he whispered. “Everything will be okay.”
A warming presence enveloped my whole being like an ocean's wave, and then, finally, my heart found peace.
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