“I saw a fox this morning Zeb. It was right at the crack of dawn. I couldn’t sleep. The pain is real bad now. Remember how you used to rub my back and I’d rub your feet?
“I never thought I would miss rubbing your crusty old feet… but I do. I’d give anything to have you here with me again, laying on the sofa with your feet on my lap, watching old movies together…” Catherine sat down at the kitchen table, painfully rubbing her back as she waited for the water to boil.
Though she was all alone, she continued talking. “I wish you could have seen that fox this morning, Zeb. It was a silver fox, and he was beautiful… midnight black, except for the white ring around his tail.” Looking off into space, Catherine sat there, picturing the fox she had seen this morning, while sitting on the porch swing, remembering how she used to lay her head on Zeb’s shoulder, as he would slowly swing back and forth.
While she had been on the swing, reminiscing, she saw the fox. He saw her too, and he’d looked right into her eyes, as though he was trying to communicate with her. She wondered what the fox was saying, but she just couldn’t grasp whatever it was that he – just then, the tea kettle whistled, interrupting her thoughts, as she struggled with difficulty, to get up from the chair.
After making some toast, to go with her tea, Catherine sat down at the table in pain, grabbing her shoebox full of medicines. She had rheumatoid arthritis throughout her body, and walking was increasingly difficult. Her children had tried talking to her about moving in with one of them, or worse, moving into a nursing home, but she had refused, hiding the severity of her condition from them, for fear that they would force her to leave this home that she loved.
How could she ever leave this home? It held too many precious memories. Now as she sat there, counting her morning pills, she smiled wistfully. Things just weren’t the same without Zeb. “Oh Lord,” she prayed, not for the first time. “I’m so lonely and homesick. Won’t you please take me home to be with You and with Zeb? I’ve lived a good, long life, and my kids are all grown up. Even my grandchildren are all grown up, with children of their own. You’ve blessed me with a long life, and I am so grateful, but heavenly Father, my body has turned against me. I’m in constant pain, and I miss my Zeb so desperately. Please, Lord, take me home. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
She shook her head, as she counted the bottles of medicine in her shoebox. She had to take fifteen different medications just to function. That was no way to live. After eating her toast and drinking her tea, she took her morning medicines, and then painfully shuffled back out to the porch, once again easing her aching body down onto the swing.
As she rocked herself back and forth on the swing, she looked up and saw the fox again, and just like earlier, he looked as though he was trying to say something to her. As she gazed back into the fox’s eyes, her heart began to flutter erratically. “Oh dear,” she thought. “I don’t have my nitroglycerin.”
Then suddenly, her eyes shifted from the fox, and she looked up into the warm and smiling eyes of Jesus. “Are you taking me home now?” she asked calmly, and He gently smiled, holding His hand out for hers, and as Catherine reached out to grasp Jesus’ hand, she looked up at Him in amazement. Gone were the gnarled and crippled hands of an old lady. She now had the hands of a young woman in her late twenties to early thirties, and as she stood up to go with her Savior, she gasped, for all of her pain was gone.
Then, as she started to leave, she looked down and saw her body slumped on the porch swing. She could even see her heart beating weakly and irregularly. It fluttered for a moment, magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still. Catherine looked into her Savior’s eyes and smiled victoriously. She was going to that place where there was no more pain and no more tears. She was going home.
Cheryl A. Showers