Thursday, October 20, 2011

Who Hesitates...

So, Ruslan has to do a timeline for a school project.  All of my kids have had to do one in first grade.  They get a large sheet of paper and draw a horizontal line across the middle, then make little vertical dashes to indicate years, starting with the year they were born and ending with the present, marking each year with captions and photos.  We had to make a timeline last year for Sharon.  We adopted her when she was three.  I had some earlier photos of her from her foster mom so it wasn’t too bad, except for the impossible-to-miss fact that she never smiled, even once, in any of those early photos.   

Ruslan is eight years old, so I have to come up with eight photos; one photo and a caption for each year.   The problem is that I don’t have any photos of him younger than about five.   Who would think that something so innocent would cause so much trouble?  I don’t think the people who come up with these assignments ever adopted. 

As I was innocently digging through my photo pile, I came across these pictures:

It was a beautiful evening.  I had been putting our tomato plants in cages.  Reilly and Sharon took some of the leftover tomato cages and made “fashion art” out of them.  At first they were merely decorative, but eventually they came up with the cup-holder model, and the trend really caught on  (don’t try to understand, it’s art).  It was a really fun evening, just as school was winding down and we were all gearing up for summer vacation. 

Anyway, I was doing fine, until I noticed the date on those pictures: May 20th 2011.  The pictures were taken five months ago, the day before Bruce died.  It was such a contrast.  Here we were relaxing in the midst of a laid back, balmy spring evening.  Who could have guessed what was to come?  In a few hours, I would be on the phone with Maryann, hearing the news that Bruce was dead.  That one overwhelming loss was about to slam into our souls and then surround my every waking thought for the next several months.  All I kept thinking as I looked at those photos was, “God knew.  He knew that whole evening.  He knew what we were in for... in just a few short hours.”

And then I wondered, “Did He hesitate?” 

The first day of school for my kids was August 29th this year.  That morning, I had a difficult time waking them up, especially my daughter Reilly.  The little ones really don’t mind school and I homeschool the older ones, but Reilly is in fifth grade this year and school is hard for her.  Plus, summer for a ten year old… it’s just the ultimate kid-age; old enough to be a top dog in your little circle of friends, but still young enough to play hard and play well.

I sat at her bedside thinking, “now it’s summer but when I wake her up, summer will be over for her and the school year will begin.  As long as she’s sleeping, it’s still summer.  When she wakes up, summer ends.”  The weeks of sleeping late, staying home, playing with neighbors all day long, swimming, canoeing, and spontaneous roadtrips were about to end.  Enter: early mornings, peer pressure, school lunches, homework, and bedtimes.  I sat watching her sleep for ten full minutes, wondering why I hadn't found a way to stop time and trying, too late, to grab hold of those last few moments and keep her a child in the midst of summer vacation forever.  Of course, I failed.  I wanted her summer to go on for eternity, but I only managed to salvage ten minutes.

I finally mustered the will to wake her up.  After all, there is no stopping time and this was hardly a personal tragedy.  Still it was hard, because I love her so, to see that summer end.

So, I wondered as I was looking at those pictures whether God hesitated before He took Bruce away from Maryann, even if it was just for a second. 

I suppose it doesn’t matter since He still took Bruce in the end.  But all the same, I’d like to know. 

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