And then I hit rock bottom… I thought to myself, if not aloud, “This is it! I’m all washed up and literally on rock bottom. Things in life cannot get any worse! All the work… all my life… and now, rock bottom. I guess that’s it! Nothing to do but… Ooo, that’s cool! It kind of looks like a fossil or something! I wonder if there are anymore around here. There’s another one! Wow! Who knew rock bottom could hold so much promise? Huh!”
I should have listened but, I was tired and didn’t want to get up again. The cries in the night are not unusual for an active-minded child. Well, that’s what the psychologist told us. “Go back to sleep, honey!” my wife said to me at 2:02 a.m. Yeah, 2:02 will forever haunt me.
You see our six-year old daughter was a sleepwalker, night talker and screamer. Often, I would wake up to a small figure cuddling close to me in the wee hours of the morning. I’d typically throw an arm around the child and go back to sleep. On this night, however, she only screamed, and my wife and I decided to give it a few minutes before I got up to go comfort her. She always slept through her nightmares, and she never remembered them the next morning.
This one time… Oh God! This one time I let here scream more than usual, and even the abruptness of her stopping should have warned me something was different. It wasn’t until the next morning when I went to her room to wake her that reality hit me. My sweet daughter was gone, and I knew in an instant I would never see her again.
I was still crumpled on the floor crying when my wife came to check on us and see what the hold up was. Upon seeing what I saw – she too crumpled. After a time, we managed to get up and discuss where we had gone wrong.
The old stone-carved idol we had found on our vacation to the Grand Canyon lay where our daughter should have been lying in sweet slumber. The old figurine that once occupied its countenance had changed to that of a young girl. I guess the old Native American man wasn’t joking with us after all.
Drip, drip, drip… “Honey, I think it’s still raining outside. It seems like a good morning to stay snuggled up under the sheets and blanket. It’s getting colder!” Drip, drip, drip… “I expect our sweet children will be bounding in here at any time taking flight to jump onto the bed and on top of us…” Drip, drip, drip…
“Is that thunder I keep hearing? It seems like it’s been going on forever!” Drip, drip, drip… “I’m sorry! What did you say? Everything seems muffled. I must be coming down with something.” Drip, drip, drip…
“Whew! Why is it getting so cold?” Drip, drip, drip… “Whoa! What the heck is that? Holy smokes that’s got to be the brightest light I’ve ever seen! Honey! Honey, do you see this? Honey?” Drip, drip, drip…
“Sargent! We can’t stop the bleeding. He’s been hit too many times.” Drip, drip, drip… “He’s been mumbling the whole time since I got here. I think he’s dreaming. I can’t make out what he’s saying, and I swear it looks like he’s smiling. Oh no! I can’t find his pulse.” Drip…
“Okay! Mark the time of death and hand me his dog tags. I think he had a family back home. He was one of the brave ones. God’s speed, soldier! Now, we need to get out of here.”
The constant thump, thump, thumping was making him crazy. “What in the world is that incessant noise?” he thought. The sky was clear except for heat lightning playing tag in the distance over the gulf waters. “Well, it’s not thunder! I’m never going to get any rest at this rate. Ugh!”
thumping slowed. He was drifting off in
fond memories of fishing with his dad, then his kids, and then his
grandkids. “Life has been such a
blessing,” he thought to himself. A
smile played across his face. “I’m so tired!”
the room, by his bedside, his children and a few of the grandchildren watched
this transformation happening on the sweet old man’s face. “What’s he thinking about, dad?” one of the
grandkids asked. “Well, if I know my
daddy, he’s thinking about fishing.” Came the reply. “Gosh, I haven’t seen him smile in a long
time!” replied another.
There was a
deep breath from the bed, a long, slow exhalation, then nothing more. A nurse, who’d been sitting on one side of
the bed, placed her stethoscope on the man’s chest, over his heart. After a few moments, she looked up with tears
of compassion in her eyes and made the announcement. All those present let out a cumulative breath
that they didn’t realize they’d been holding.
After a few
minutes of sniffling and quite sobs the eldest son bowed his head and thanked
God for this beautiful, wonderful man that he called dad. Then, the youngest grandchild whispered these
words, “I hope you catch a lot today, grandpa.
I already miss you! Good luck!”
The view master found its protagonist. He was draped in a myriad of colors, and was
chasing around and around. Just a
sliding shuffle and click away from another heroic scene. What adventure awaits? Who would become the antagonist to this
adventurous soul? Ah, but isn’t that
what the wheel of fate has in store for each of us. We spin and shuffle through life hoping to
load the next adventure and scene that will be better than the last.
Stop! Get out of the loop and live. We only have so many spins in this life, and it seems the more that pass the faster we go through the next set. Just a thought…