Continuing from Chapter Ten
Jessi Recalls Another Childhood Memory
Young Timothy and Jessi, perched in their favorite position on the ottoman, readied themselves for another one of Grammy's stories. Grammy in her wingback chair, Her open Bible in her lap, she began.
As usual, Jessi imagined herself and Timothy living the story as Grammy read it to them. They found themselves on a mountainside overlooking a vast body of water. They watched as a man constructed his house, upon the sandy shore. ("How foolish," interjected Grammy, "To build on such a foundation.")
Suddenly, lightning flashed, thunder roared, the rain came down in ferocious torrents. The house on the sand fell, and great was its fall. Timothy and Jessi shuddered at the sight. (Grammy interjected again, "Such it will be to people who build their lives merely on the temporal-ness of this mortal world, and not on the lasting values of the things of God.")
Alex’s Real Passion
Having finished a call from a friend on West Coast, Alex Grater, placed his cell phone on the coffee table. He reclined back on the sofa, stretching his arms out over the sofa's back.
"What's up, man?" another of Alex's friend asked, who was enjoying the New Year's bowl games in Alex's apartment, a girl on his lap, hugging him. "You miss your girlfriend, right, or are you sad to see the Bears lose?" he said, laughingly.
"Neither, man," Alex responded. "The Bears can lose (you got to remember, I'm a Wolves fan now), and I don't miss Carol. She's out of my life for good. She has a new friend. She's taken on religion, too, for some reason; she seems to be very happy. And so, I'm happy for her," Alex said, "If that's the life she wants. She's gone, and that's it — no more women for me, definitely not a churchgoer. Now I can give my full attention to my real passion. And this is it right here," Alex said, pointing to the TV, surfing the sports channels.
The night wears on, and so do the cheers, screams, and re-running of the parades. At last, the football games concluded, so has another New Year's Day. Having cleared out the beer cans, emptied the ashtrays, and disposed of the pizza cartons (Any leftover pizza went into the fridge for probably his breakfast the next day, or maybe some for lunch.), Alex said goodnight to his company.
With all the events of the day still playing loudly on his mind, he then retires for the night, pondering all he had learned that day. Another workday, the first of the new year was just around the corner, a few hours away – those "holidays" and the old year now in the history books, the new year, and those new "resolutions" set to begin.
Much of such, however, as the inner conscience tries to woo a hardened heart, those resolutions made in the pinnacle of the New Year's celebrations, for sure, will soon prove to be nothing more than a "trivial pursuit," once the new day dawns. Those resolves, as those of the real world have discovered, have no bona fide substance, to begin with, only whimsical fantasies for a better life apart from the One in whom all life consists. That's how it is with Alex and company, desirous for a better living – made their way.
Jessi’s Sad Beginning of the New Year
The inner conscience continues wooing, not so with those who recognize the essence of the real life, which resolves that they should no longer linger with the trivial nor be charmed by the physical world's delight. They determine, while in the mortal world, to pursue those things that are higher and nobler – those things possessing enduring values and qualities. As Jessi Whitcombe and her friends – those who yield to the inner conscience' wooing – experience every day; oh, how high the joy even amidst their human endeavors.
Another Christmas then come and gone, likewise another New Year's, now it's back to ‘normal,' so say those of that other world, yet they not knowing indeed what "normal" is. For those of the real world, however, Christmas brings a yearlong joy, as they have recognized their real purpose for being, and the real normality afresh.
At times, however, those of the real world also learn there is joy even through trials and sorrows, as Jessi experience at the dawning of another year.
"My little bullet head," Jessi whispered as she straightened Jenny's Strawberry Shortcake head covering, as she lay there in the coffin.
"No, my little friend, no one knows that name for you, but for me," Jessi continued, a tear rolling down her cheek. "It will always be our secret."
Feeling the gentle touch of a hand on her shoulder, Jessi turned about. "Nurse Carol," she said. Carol, hugging Jessi sympathetically, she then escorted Jessi to their seats on the second roll of the church sanctuary; the memorial service was about to begin. On the front roll sat Jenny's family – her parents and three older and three younger siblings; Jenny was the middle child. A choir of faint sniffles echoed through the church.
Facing death was not an uncommon occurrence in Jessi's young life, struggling with her illness as a child, the passing of her best childhood friend, Timothy, and his grandmother – her "adopted grandmother" – Grammy.
"She was so excited, expecting to go home finally," Jessi whispered to Carol, "After her long stay in the hospital, but then that cancer resurfaced… Oh-o," Jessi sobbed.
"I know how you so miss her," Carol returned, tears also running down her face, an arm around Jessi's shoulder, "So do I. But, she is well now – very well – we got to remember that; better than we are. And she is home, probably sitting on her Savior's lap, right there with your friend Timothy. Let that give us comfort."
"Yes, and thank you, Carol, she's right there, playing with my childhood friend," replied Jessi, smiling through her tears, recalling Timothy's memorial service.
The pastor's message expressed well Timothy's joy. A video presentation of Timothy's short life followed. Afterward, others, youth, and adults alike shared what young Timothy met to them. Lastly, Jessi stood before the congregation.
"He was my best friend, and still is," she began, eyes tear-swollen. "I miss him now, and I cry when I think about all the good times we had playing together. But, I know Timothy is now with Jesus, and I'll see him again when we'll play together on Heaven’s shores."
A Surprise When Jessi Returns to Work
Having taken a week off because of the passing of her little friend, Jessi returns afresh to her work at the hospital. Upon entering the hospital lunchroom, her eye catches sight of the table where she would often sit with Jenny, dining together, and Jessi reading Jenny a Bible story.
Strange, there was Jenny's "favorite chair" – that wheelchair that Jessi used to escort Jenny to the lunchroom. "What's that doing there"? Jessi asked herself.
With her lunch, Jessi approached that table and sat down. Alone, gazing at that wheelchair, a tear fell from Jessi's eye onto a slip of paper lying on the table. What's this? Jessi thought. Picking up that paper, she reads it: "Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, ‘Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children'"
Another tear fell. A hand touched Jessi's shoulder. Jessi looked up. "Carol," she said.
"What's that?" Carol responded, reading that paper over Jessi's shoulder.
"It was here on the table, Jenny's wheelchair, too, when I sat down," Jessi answered. "But how did these get here? Who put them here?"
Unknown, Carol just nodded so, yet curious herself. She sits at the table there with Jessi. "Still shaken?" she asks.
"I miss her, of course," Jessi answered, "Will for a long time, I imagine," still wondering about the note and the chair. "Like I miss Timothy. But, I have to go on living my life here, as Timothy would want me to, and now Jenny as well, I imagine, in the blessed hope we'll meet again."
Carol pats Jessi's hand, comforting.
Looking up and gazing about the lunchroom, they noticed others observing, nodding, who also seemed to be in wonder about that chair being there. Then, Jessi spied a man at the entrance of the lunchroom, wearing a white physician's coat. Dr. Z., she thought? Was it he? But, she glancing momentarily away, and turning back toward him, he was gone.
"What's wrong?" Carol asked.
"I thought I saw Dr. Z. standing there," Jessi pointed.
Carol turned. "It couldn't have been; he's in surgery. I don't think he's finished yet."
"Must have been somebody else," Jessi said. "I guess that bright light through the doorway distorted the view."
"What bright light?" Carol asked.
"Hm-m," Jessi sighed, curious. Rising, she continued, "I better get back to work. I'll also return this chair to storage."
Together, Carol and Jessi left the lunchroom.
"It's good to see you back, Jessi," Carol said. "I missed you. Here," she then said, handing Jessi that slip of paper that she found on the table.
"You may still want this."
"Thanks," Jessi said. She folded the paper and slipped it into her apron pocket. "I guess I should hang on to it; I still may need it for encouragement at times."
As well, reminiscing occasionally Grammy's Bible reading times to her and Timothy as a child – always enjoyable expressed through her always-joyful countenance.
Another Childhood Reminiscence
Perched in their favorite position for Grammy's storytime to them, young Timothy and Jessi readied themselves for an always-exciting, imagined adventure. Before Grammy on that accompanying ottoman, they were all ears as Grammy began that day's Bible story.
Timothy’s and Jessi's gaze were fixed in the direction of all the people as they, too, standing amidst a large crowd, looked toward a bit higher elevation. They watched intently, seeing Jesus descend that mountain with the chosen twelve. As was His custom, Jesus had been up on that hill for a while praying to His Father, seeking His instruction and direction.
("A practice," Grammy interjected, "we should possibly apply to our lives, getting away to a solitary place, as Jesus often did, to be alone with our Heavenly Father for a while." Even at her young age, Jessi kept such admonishes in her heart and pondered them.)
Now on a more level plateau, Jesus (Yeshua) observed the crowd. Large numbers from around Judea, Jerusalem, and the seacoast cities of Tyre and Sidon, people from everywhere coming to hear Jesus' teaching, many also to be healed of various diseases.
"If only we could touch even the hem of His garment," they believed. "We would be made well." Some who were blind also knew that Jesus could restore their sight, as they have seen the result of His touching other sightless persons.
"Timothy, look," Jessi, exclaimed, pointing to someone in the crowd whom she recognized. "Isn't that Josiah?"
"Yes, it is," responded Timothy, also recognizing that young boy they'd met in a previous adventure. Then, rushing to him, they greeted him.
"Hi, Josiah," they both said.
Turning about, Josiah recognized them as well. They greeted one another happily. All three children then turned their attention to Jesus, who was beginning to speak to the crowd.
Jesus taught them remarkable things, new insights for living right. ("Insights the evil one didn't want humanity to become aware of, as he knew such teaching if taken to heart, would foil his plans for humanity's destruction," Grammy interjects.)
"Those who are poor," Jesus said, "Are blessed, for the Kingdom belongs to them. Those who hunger are also blessed, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are you who cry now, for you will laugh. Don't feel bad if people hate you, or exclude you from their little groups, or insult you, or if they reject you, because of me. Rather you should rejoice and feel blessed. That's how their fathers have treated the prophets. Great is your reward."
But, then, on the other hand, Jesus also taught, "Woe to you who are rich. You already have your comfort. And woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. You who laugh now will cry and mourn…"
The three children, along with the crowd, continued listening as Jesus spoke. "Love your enemies," He said. "Do good to those who hate you. Even bless those who curse you. Do to others as you would have them do to you."
(Yet, the evil one aspiring that hateful glare, confuses human minds with his ideas, contrary to Jesus' teachings, like, "Do to others before they do you; take, before another takes it.")
Before that crowd, as Timothy and Jessi stood in the midst, there beside Josiah, they listened with eager ears. "Judge not…" Jesus said. "Condemn not…. Forgive, and you will receive forgiveness. Give, and in return, you will receive in abundance beyond your greatest expectations. Look at your heart attitude first before you try to correct another's ways. What stored in a person's heart will reflect in his ways, his words, and his works…."
Grammy then, having finished her story closed her Bible; her children returned home.
(That evil one aspiring a hateful glare, however, searched ever so diligently through his destruction manual for ways to rid the world of these "righteous" ones before they spread more of this "truth" and cause more damage to his master's kingdom.)
Go to Chapter Twelve
© 2018 Charles O Newcombe