Going Home

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She held out her frail and shaking hand toward the younger one extended toward her. The strength of the grip comforted her and the young man smiled gently. “Thank you Pastor Rick, as usual Senior Bingo Night was a wonderful evening for all of us!”
“Anna Mae you are a blessing and a pleasure to have in our little congregation! Martha tells me you have a birthday coming up next week! How many years’ young will you be?”
“Well Pastor, if I can still do the math I believe I will be turning 79 on Wednesday. I hope you will drop by for a piece of cake and coffee!”
“Anna Mae, I would be honored to be with you on your special day! Now you be very careful driving home tonight, the snow storm moved in much earlier than predicted and I am afraid it has become a roaring blizzard. Please call me the instant you get home so I know you are safe!”
“Don’t you worry about me, I will be fine!” And with that the tiny old woman made her way to her 1950 Chevy, her pride and joy. Getting behind the wheel she couldn’t help but feel a bit uneasy as she watched the snow forming a white wall in front of her, and desperately tried to push away the fear beginning to creep into her the inner part of her soul. As brave as she might have sounded when talking to the young pastor she found herself trembling like an aspen tree in spring now, alone in her car. Anna Mae drove at a snail’s pace for miles, and soon enough she had only one more road to navigate before she would be safe and sound in her lovely little cottage in the woods.
She carefully negotiated the turn she had made for more than 50 years, knowing full well that between her and her cozy home and hearth she had to navigate nearly five miles of a one lane road cut through some of the thickest woods in the county. It was only a road in the sense that it went from point A to point B and a car could drive on it, it really was little more than a path that twisted and turned on itself as it cut through the darkness of the forest. It was a good thing that she knew the road so well because she was virtually driving blind; it snowed so hard even the trees she knew were only inches from her car were obscured. And then in an instant the fear she had been working so hard to keep at bay flooded through her uncontrollably when she heard the Thump-Thump-Thump! “Oh no, Lord, please not now! Not here!” The wheel under her quaking hands jerked violently and she struggle with the little strength she could muster to keep from banging into the trees that she couldn’t see, but knew were there. Once she finally brought the lumbering antique to a safe stop she finally relaxed and took her foot off the brake; only to realize she hadn’t put the transmission into park. Cackling shrilly and a little hysterically at herself she slipped the knob into park. She felt the tension leave her shoulders and was surprised by the release because she hadn’t realized it was there.
And then, just as her trembling began to ease, the full impact of her situation hit her like a brick falling from a building. It’s late, it’s dark, and she never had taken everyone’s advice and gotten a cell phone. She didn’t even have one of those little necklaces that had a button to call for help. Those are for old people, and she had never felt old before tonight. She sat for a moment to carefully ponder her options, and realized there weren’t very many of them. She could spend the night in the cold confines of her automobile, and pray that she would still be alive in the morning or she could head out in the blizzard and trudge slowly and carefully through the piling and blinding snow. She could feel the wind rocking her gently inside the car, which told her the trek before her would be treacherous indeed. But what option did she have? Stay here and succumb to the cold by curling up and doing nothing or battling the wind and snow to bravely make her way home?
It felt like she had already walked for miles by the time she felt her legs go weak with fatigue, but in reality she had trudged only a few brutal paces. She knew if she turned to look behind her she would still see her crippled car, although it seemed she had left it far behind indeed. She had left her porch light on, and yet she couldn’t see the welcoming glow and the fear began to escalate within her heart again. But the plucky old woman she was battled on like a trooper. She was going home and no freak snow storm was going to stop her! The snow was getting deeper now in spite of the trees that should have sheltered the road from the depths, and each step she took was a mighty fight. She kept her head bowed against the biting wind that threatened to bring her down and still she crept along with grim determination. Now she was desperately clinging to the trees, and used them to propel her step by step. Finally she could go no further and she wrapped both arms around one giant oak as she struggled to catch her breath. Then she began to pray with a vengeance she never knew she possessed, she knew she had chosen wrong, she was far too old and much too weak to make the hike she was attempting, and now she feared she would pay for her arrogance with her life. The old woman felt herself sliding to the cold, snow covered ground and could do nothing to save herself. Her heart thundered in her breast and she knew she would be going home tonight after all. Her heart was slowing and she was enveloped by peace. And suddenly she felt herself cradled by strong and loving arms; it was her time after all. She glanced up to sneak a glimpse at the Angel who had come for her.
“Pastor Rick!” she spoke in a weak and breathless voice. “I thought you were Jesus come to take me home!”
“No Anna Mae, I’m not Jesus! But I guess for tonight I am you savior!” He wrapped her in a blanket and carried her to his truck, placing her gently in the front seat where he covered her gently in another warm, woolen blanket. “Anna Mae, you didn’t call!” the young and loving man of God whispered. And then Anna Mae went home.





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