(Continued from Part 1...)
(Thirty years later…)
“Hannah, come here. Quickly, now!” I yelled. I was weary, and could not bear to call for my child another time. My husband, Michael, was several towns away, looking for work to provide for our family. We were married twenty-five years ago, and have only two children. Hannah and Isaac are good children, though they are often disrespectful and rude. I was nearly past my child-bearing years, and I wished desperately that we had been able to have more children. But God must not have meant it to be so, and I tried to remain content.
For some reason, however, I was always angry about something, and I could not do anything about the bitterness that I carried about within me. Deep inside, I knew that it stemmed from my jealousy of Mary. She had given birth to the “Savior” and he seemed like a perfectly normal child. There was nothing special about him. Although he is grown now, I have yet to see him save the world. Mary had gone on to have eight more children, and I was jealous of her ability to have such a wonderful family.
I have not talked to Mary since that fateful day when she told me of her pregnancy. I let myself stay angry at her, and, even now, I have no intention of forgiving her. What she did was just too wrong for me to let go of. Do I carry a grudge? Perhaps, but she deserves it.
Hannah finally came in from outside, her face red from the cold. She went straight to the fire and began warming her hands and cheeks. I watched my daughter and thought to myself how beautiful she was. Nearly twelve, she was nearing the age of womanhood, when she would think of marrying and leaving me. I tried not to think about it, but I did know that it was inevitable.
“Why were you calling me, Mama?” she asked. “I need you to find Isaac for me. I haven’t seen him all morning,” I said. Hannah nodded and went off in search of her brother. Isaac was forever getting into trouble, though it seemed that trouble usually found him. I sighed at the thought of bringing up such a rambunctious boy, but I knew that Michael was teaching Isaac how to be a man. Though he was only seven, he had a love for life that I admired.
When I watched Isaac laugh so joyously, it made me realize that something inside of me had died; the part that loved life and looked for the good in every situation. Bitterness and anger had become such a part of my routine, that I did not even try to change my ways.
“Mama!” came the cry from outside. I pulled a shawl over my shoulders and hurried outside to see what was the matter. Hannah was hunched over something in our field, and I ran over to see who it was.
It was Isaac. Nearly frozen, he lay collapsed on the ground huddled in a ball. I felt his forehead. It was a fever higher than I had ever felt before.
“No,” I breathed. It couldn’t be my Isaac. My beautiful, lively boy was laying there, closer to death than I had ever seen before. “Hannah! Run and fetch someone. The doctor. Someone!” I yelled. Hannah’s frightened face melted my heart, and I lay a hand on her shoulder to comfort her. As she ran off, I lifted my sweet boy into my arms and carried him inside. I wrapped him in blankets and tried to get him to drink water, but all he could do was moan and tremble.
My son was dying.
Hannah came running back with a man I had not seen in a long while.
It was Jesus. The man who I had come to loathe.
“What are you doing here?!” I screamed. Jesus looked at me calmly, taking my hand and leading me to a chair. I could not speak. Why was he being so kind to me? He went over to Isaac and sat on the pallet next to him. He took my son’s hand and looked at him with a tenderness I had never seen before. Part of me wanted to scream at him to stop touching my boy, but something inside of me stopped and I watched in wonder as he breathed words that I could not hear into Isaac’s ear. What seemed like only a moment later, a short gasp came from Isaac’s lips, and his eyes fluttered open. I hastened to his bedside, and looked into his face.
His fever had broken.
I looked at Jesus in bewilderment, and he looked back at me with eyes that told of something I had never seen before. I still do not know what it was, but I do know that it was something I had never seen in a man here on earth. I looked up to thank Jesus, but he had already gone, slowly shutting the door and leaving without expecting any thanks.
My bitter heart melted only slightly, and I realized that maybe I could be wrong. Months later, I had come to think of the miracle as only a coincidence. Jesus had only been there at the exact moment Isaac’s fever had broken. It wasn’t his doing. It was luck. Chance. Coincidence.
My heart hardened even further, and I thought that nothing could break through the wall I had built around my heart. Nothing could touch me and erase the bitterness encasing my ability to forgive.
Nothing could break me.
2 years ago