Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Day Time Stopped: A Children's Story


"Jonathon, Jonathon, feet in the air,
He rolls and he rolls
But never gets anywhere.

Jonathon, Jonathon, first north, and then south,
Content to roll nowhere,
Once his feet find his mouth."

The baby giggled on the blanket as he heard the Angel sing his name.  His mother heard only the sound of June breeze, as it rustled through the leaves of the large oak tree.  His older brothers, busy playing in the yard, heard nothing at all. Jonathon, still young enough to recognize an Angel's voice, chuckled in delight. 

Donald had been the Mother's Guardian Angel for what seemed to him to be an eternity.  He was young, as angels go, and longed to be assigned to a racecar driver, military pilot, or some other daring individual. So for amusement, he sang poorly rhymed jingles that annoyed the other angels, and tussled the boy’s hair as they blew through the trees. Being all of seven and five years of age, Jordan and Justin were too old to hear the words, but felt the tingle of a giggle dance across their cheeks each time a rhyme sailed by.

On this morning Jordan did not give the breeze a second thought.  He had a mission.  As he followed his older brother Justin up the ladder of the jungle gym, he knew this was the day.  Jordan reached out for the first rung of the monkey bars, dangling for what seemed to be an awfully long time.
            His mother smiled, and stood up to help him down.  Donald shrugged, and slumped over so far forward that he did a front roll off the tree limb he had been sitting on.  To baby Jonathon's delight, the Angel trust his arms into the air, in an Olympic dismount fashion and exclaimed, "Jordan, young Jordan, so bravely he climbs, stuck on the first rung, for the thousandth time!"  Wearily, Donald followed her to the jungle gym.  But to their surprise, Jordan reached for the second rung, dangled a moment, and dropped to the ground.  "I did it myself, Mom!”  It was the first time Jordan had not needed assistance.  He ran and threw his arms around his mother's neck, as only a young boy will do.
"Jordan, I am so proud of you!"  His hair smelled like the outdoors, and felt soft and downy against her cheek as she hugged him.  "Watch me do it again!" Jordan called over his shoulder as he ran back for another try.
Jordan's mother felt the same pang of joy and grief all jumbled together she often experienced as the boys gained independence.  Even baby Jonathon was rolling over, striving to be free to explore on his own.  How she wished for just one minute that she could freeze these moments; that her boys would not have to grow up, and to leave her.
As Jordan's mother lay back on the blanket, she drew the baby close to her side, and closed her eyes tightly.  In her heart of hearts, she called out to God with a brief prayer, full of longing.  "Please Lord, let me keep all of them, just as they are.  They are so beautiful.  Thank you for my boys, Lord."

The breeze stopped blowing.  Donald grimaced, he was dumfounded. "She can't be serious!  They are just getting interesting!"  Somewhere in the place where Guardian Angels see both man and God, Donald turned to the Lord with a puzzled shrug.
 "Oh, Heavenly Father, what will you do with this one?" 
"I will grant it",  responded the Lord Most High. 
Now, it is important to note that Guardian Angels are responsible for interceding on the behalf of God's children, and Donald had become almost blasé' about the "Mother's Prayers" he received daily.  Actually, the prayers came hourly, if not more frequently.   
You see, since the Mother had brought forth three sons, her prayers were constant and almost always pertaining to their welfare.  "Lord, please keep him safe", "Lord, please don't let him fall out of that tree.” "Lord, grant me patience."  Donald had become accustomed to swooping below swings and padding falls off tricycles, sofas, and stair steps.   In fact he had even found himself a fairly cozy niche in the corner of the emergency room with a few of the other Guardian Angel "regulars". But this prayer not only asked for something seemingly impossible, even to an angel, but it came from such a tender place in the woman's heart.  It touched Donald as no other prayer had.

Embarrassed that he did not understand the response, Donald bowed his head as he asked, "Lord, I know that all things are possible through your mercy, but I do not understand how to grant this request.  How can you give the woman what she longs for?"
  "For the moment she will sleep, as she sleeps give her this message, and then cause her to awaken."  With those words, Donald found himself to be no longer in the place where God and man were both visible, but on the blanket, under the large oak tree.
            The angel gently rested his hand upon the Mother's eyes. Just as the Lord promised, she slept soundly.  Donald leaned down and gently whispered in her ear, "The Lord your God has heard your request, and shares the longing of your Mother's Heart.  He too had a son.  In each moment of his son's life, he looked down from heaven and knew all that is good in humankind.  He too longed to keep his son safe and protected for all eternity.  "You are my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” echoes throughout the entire universe and all that is beyond: a testimony of the love of God for his son.  In his mercy, God has answered your prayer.  No longer will your sons grow, they will remain as they are until such time as the Lord sees fit to restore what is destined to be".
In an instant, the Guardian Angel was gone, and Jordan's Mother awoke suddenly.  She was startled that she had fallen asleep in the middle of the day, and all through her being she felt the oddest sensation.   A warmth she would someday describe as a glow seemed to radiate from deep within her.  She looked to see Jordan happily falling once again from the second row of the monkey bars, and Justin playing catch with his baseball.  Her few minutes of sleep hadn’t caused her to miss saving her boys from some lurking peril. 
"Haw!" sighed Donald, "She thinks she saves them!"

The next day was just as perfect as the last.  The boys enjoyed the beautiful weather, spending the morning once again in the backyard.  Jordan continued to practice his new found skill, each time yelling, "Mom, did you see that?"  Justin practiced catching the baseball, and the baby continued to roll happily from side to side on the blanket under the oak tree.   Jordan's mother once again lay back on the blanket, and as she closed her eyes, she thanked God for her sons.

The days passed. Even though the boys marked each day off on the calendar, something was different. The sun never moved in the sky, and the days never grew any warmer.  "This is a perfect summer",  thought Jordan's mother.  But as the days strolled by, she noticed something was missing in her home.  The boys continued to enjoy the beautiful morning play times in the back yard.  Even though nothing changed, something was missing.  Jordan's mother couldn't put her finger on it, but it concerned her to the point of requesting God's help with the matter.

"It's about time!" gasp Donald.  You see, ever since God granted her prayer to stop time from passing he had been charged with the tedious task of guarding the family outside of ordinary time.  In his hands, he tenderly held a gleaming sphere, more fragile than a bubble.  Inside that sphere, Jordan's family remained unknowingly suspended from the passage of time.  No longer was the Angel needed to pad falls and find car keys.  He missed his emergency room friends terribly, and there was no one to listen to his rhymes.

"That's it!" Jordan's mother exclaimed as she glanced around the yard.  "They aren't changing, or learning anything new.  No one is curious, or testing their boundaries."  Now, somewhat confused, Jordan's mother wasn't sure what to pray for.

"Heavenly Father, is it time to restore what is destined to be?" the Angel interceded on the Mother's behalf. 
"Yes, but once again you will deliver a message, and this time she will treasure it in her heart of hearts".
Seated on a blanket under the large oak, Donald once again placed his hand gently over Jordan's Mother's eyes and caused her to sleep.  Gently, he whispered this message, "The Lord your God has once again heard the cries of your heart.  He knows the conflict of your soul.  He too knew the joy of watching his son grow and become more like Him each day.  He also knew that growth would cause them to separate.

           At the end of his life on earth Jesus cried out to his Father from the garden, asking to be spared from his fate.  The Lord, in his all-knowing wisdom, denied the request. For growth and change are the only paths to heaven, and the perfection and joy found in the moments of each age are swiftly replaced with those of the next.  Sometimes, they are replaced with moments full of sorrow. Some moments are quite ordinary.  Know that in heaven, these moments are not lost, but exist eternally with God outside time.  One day you will know God, and you will see those precious moments as He sees them.  Go in peace, and know that God loves you." Donald lingered for an instant on the blanket, just long enough for Jordan's Mother to see him as she awoke.  As she caught the kind gaze of the Angel, she understood something very special had happened.

Just then, Jordan's hand reached for the third rung of the monkey bars, slipped, and he fell with a terrified shriek to the ground.  The baby pulled to his elbows and crept off the blanket in his first successful attempt to crawl.   Justin, laughing heartily at Jordan's accident, forgot to catch the baseball he had just tossed several feet above his head.   "Oops!” exclaimed the Angel, too late to avert the impending collision between the ball and Justin's forehead.
            The sun shifted in the sky, and temperature began to rise. The boys didn't feel like playing outside anymore.  So Jordan's mother, gathering up the baby and the blanket, went inside to tend to the boys newly acquired scrapes and bruises.

And in the place where Guardian Angels can see both man and God, a resilient chuckle could be heard, as Donald exclaimed, "Thank you Lord, I am back in business!"

The End

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