Chapter One: The Letter
Clutching my medical alert pendant, I hesitated. I hadn’t yet recovered from watching Jim Senior pass ever so slowly. I didn’t want to go like that and figured the whole thing would be over sooner if I didn’t press the button.
But my failing lungs caused a most severe agitation making seconds seem like hours. The less air I took in the more I panicked. The more I panicked the less air I took in.
So I pressed the button and not a moment later I heard a voice say, “Your faith will set you free.”
The voice was clear and distinct and suddenly, I remembered where I was going. Embracing my transition I praised God. My suffering dissolved as peace enveloped me like a warm pool.
It happened at midnight on the twenty-seventh of July. I remember the date because it was my ninetieth birthday and the kids had thrown me a gigantic party. I remember the time because I was staring at the clock and missing my late husband Jim Senior. My lungs finally gave up at exactly midnight.
Emergency medical technicians busted into my room. “She’s not breathing,” I heard one say. But his statement was incorrect. For the first time in thirty years I could finally breathe and I could do it magnificently. I had become perfect.
In the background I heard a technician call my time of death. In the foreground I beheld the glory of my Lord.
Ha! How silly it was of me to think my sufferings on Earth could compare to the radiance of heaven.
My oldest children will know where I’ve gone for they have always been strong in their faith. But my youngest son Jim Junior may have doubts. He’s always looking for proof; if Jesus Christ was standing before him, I bet Jim Junior would want to poke Him just to be sure. “Mama,” Jim Junior said when he was little; “when you get to heaven will you send me a butterfly so I know that heaven is real?”
Oh honey! Heaven is real and I want to prove it to everyone.
I can’t do that, but I did get permission from the Man in Charge to write this letter and I’m tossing it down hoping my message will reach someone. Anyone.
By the way, I’m putting the letter in a plastic bottle because Jim Senior said it would be safer than glass. Please recycle.
Chapter Two: The Butterfly
In a park below an eight year old boy was begging his dad, “Can we please wait a little longer?”
“I’m sorry Jimmy,” said the dad. We’ve looked everywhere. Tomorrow we’ll hang fliers and search again.”
“But Dad, I’ve prayed and prayed and I just know that Harry the Dog will come back.”
Jim Whitsell III explained to his son that God answers our prayers on His time not ours.
Meanwhile, the letter in a bottle descended rapidly. Before it reached the treetops of a nearby neighborhood it transformed into a butterfly which was brilliant in both size and color. The butterfly zoomed and darted until it reached its target.
When Harry the Dog saw the brilliant creature he forgot about all the squirrels he was chasing and he galloped after the new toy. The butterfly flew away and Harry the Dog chased it with great avidity, determined to catch it. Not that Harry the Dog was intending to cause harm, but that he wanted to know if the thing would squeak if he scrunched it between his teeth. The dog chased the butterfly across seven blocks, over a sand pit, around a swing set, and into a wide clearing of grass.
“Dad!” shouted Jimmy interrupting his father’s speech on how God’s answers do not always match our expectations. “It’s Harry the Dog. He’s back.”
While the reunited family coagulated into a lump of hugs, barks, and laughter, the butterfly circled three times and then flew away.
“Did you see that?” Asked Jimmy’s mother.
“God sent that butterfly to lead Harry the Dog back to us,” said Jimmy.
Jimmy’s parents laughed lightly with a ‘kids say the silliest things’ kind of laughter.
But Jimmy leaned into Harry the Dog’s ear and breathed a secretive whisper, “I just know God sent the butterfly. I can’t wait to tell Grandpa Jim Junior.”
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