There was a sound in the hallway that seemed strangely familiar. The woman awoke and sat upright, it sounded like her son’s toy, she was sure of it. It was her third nap of the day and she was tired of sleeping, but there not much else to do.
Her son was not out in the hallway, she confirmed that; but it still brought her to the now very familiar place, longing. She wanted to see her son, to hold his little hands, to look into his eyes. She tried to picture him in her mind’s eye but found the details were too faded. She missed him so much, why couldn’t she picture him? She rummaged through her drawer to hold the familiar picture. Ah, that was his eyes. She laid down and made stories out of the shapes in the ceiling patterns above her to tell her son.
Her doctor had agreed that after 30 days she would be ready to go home, and she had only two more days. She had only made one friend in her time there. They had a decent conversation, one thing she craved more than she cared to admit. She encouraged the young woman to talk, and had listened to every detail of her childhood intently. It was uncomfortable to see the resemblance, she was more like the young woman’s mother than she cared to admit. When the realization of this hit her she withdrew from the young woman and did not approach her for several days.
It was too close to home, she would not face it at first. Finally she had broken and cried bitterly until there was peace. Regret had replaced denial. How she wanted to go back and fix the mistakes she had made now! Facing some hard memories, she saw how much like her daughter, the young woman had been innocent to blame and yet had shouldered it. She remembered her daughter’s light stroking on her hair as she lay in a stupor, even though she had treated her so badly.
The woman sought the younger woman the next day, hoping to find closure by admitting truth. She was disappointed to find that the young woman had already left the facility. She had retaliated in anger, refusing to speak and hitting her pillow continually until the pillow became the wall behind it. They had restrained her and in a fit of rage she bit down on her lip until it bled. Her actions were not welcome, and her caretakers were unimpressed by her tirade.
Oh how she wanted to return home, to lay next to her husband or to watch her daughter at practice again. Her daughter was naturally talented, athletic, and taller than she was already. She lapsed into thought and finally took another bite. Her food was cold. Forcing another bite, she looked out the window at the unchanged scenery. There was nothing like the beautiful trees in their yard right now, she was sure of it. Rarely had she looked out the window at home, or even noticed them when she walked into the house, but now she yearned to see them, even for a moment.
The next day dragged on and finally she would leave the following day. Her husband would pick her up, and she had rehearsed the meeting in her mind. What a wonderful man she had married, and now she would treat him that way. Moments ticked away through the night with maddening laziness. It was only 2am? She pictured the rooms of her house and even the people next door, all of it seemed so dear and valuable. She fell back into sleep, and dreamed of her son’s small hands in her own.
————–Thoughts that motivated this story————————–
This story tried to capture the emotions behind finally going home after a long wait.
But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.
In Matthew 2:19-20 we that true to His word, God sends a messenger to tell Joseph it is time to leave. The messenger doesn’t instruct them where to go, except to the land of Israel. He doesn’t promise things will be easy when they get there, and it won’t be.
There are times when I would love to know what is around the corner. Looking at Joseph, I have to ask myself, would I want to know what is next? Is it enough to have an answer for today? Do I have faith to trust like they did? No, I can’t say I do. God had directed them all along, but I imagine there were moments where even they would be tempted to trade knowing God’s direction for a little peace and quiet. After such a strange and unexpected time, it had to seem so nice to return to a normal life. What a faith lifting moment to finally hear from the angel again!
Going home after a long time away is always a welcome thought. For the years I was away, my family ached for my return, and we all wondered if we would ever see each other again. When I think back to that time I do so with regret and gratitude. Although I have become used to the routines of home again, I can never take it for granted again. Our time is precious with those we love, they are what make it home. Lord, help me not to forget these gifts, but to turn it to praise to You, and to have faith enough to trust those I love to Your providence.