Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Not Seen

"Oh, I'm so tired! I'm definitely going to bed by 8 tonight," little sister confides.

The stated time is hours away. In the meanwhile, she gets busy with gathering up rubbish from the lower paddocks. Slowly, the trailer was fills up with twine from haybales and other other no-longer-useful items.

A while later, she returns to the house. Her face echoing her announcement, "I'm done! Trailer is full.. Let's go to the tip, right now."

Feeling a bit unwell, the idea has no appeal to me. I have a license though. I grab a tissue and agree.

Though the sun is slinking behind the hills, Jana is keen to see her project completed. The return trip takes an hour, missing her bedtime only slightly. Mum gives us the okay. We rumble out the driveway.

Before dashing out the door, I grab the camera and my purse. The latter, just in case I need to show any police, that yes, I am a law-abiding citizen.

We see the first kangaroo resting on the bridge. I slow down and toot the horn. I smile, relieved to watch it jump off the road, rather than into the car. So far, so good!

"Ah, Stella, turn that way - around the back. Watch out for the ruts! I guess you haven't been here before?" The sudden commentary makes me laugh.
"No, I guess I haven't really. Not a big fan of the tip."
She laughs. It isn't exactly like she loves it either.

"Slow down," she warns me. "that's the gate."
I obey.
"How about I back it in?" she adds.
"Definitely! That's your expertise!" I willingly admit.

In a moment, we are inside the fence, forward-facing though. Still, Jana has a plan.
"I'll drive towards the right and reverse towards the middle opening."
Harder said than done. She tries from the left. Better success.

"Hey, don't hit that pine tree," it's my turn to warn.
"Hmm, that being there sure makes things harder," she grimaces.

After trying this way and that, we get it into a satisfactory position. She turns off the ignition. Happily, we swing open the doors and have a look. At least, it had looked okay inside the car. Once out, we aren't so sure.

"Needs to be backed up just a little bit more," we concur.

The key is turned. Click. Dashboard lights flash on, but apart from the dull "click", there is silence under the bonnet.

Suddenly, we realize that it's quite dark... and we're stuck in the tip - in a not so highly-reputable neighborhood too. My nose starts to tingle. The dirt brings on a volley of sneezing. I need a tissue. We have no torch, but feeling for it, I find the tissue. Still, I'm not enjoying this.

A few more unsuccessful tries. We pray together (and constantly in our minds thereafter.)

Finally, we decide to empty the trailer. We hope that rest might convince the car to perform.  Every last piece is discarded. The trailer door is swung back up in place. The bolts screwed back on. We instinctively head back towards the front doors. Will it start now?

I pray silently. Watch apprehensively. Click. Nothing. The battery was undeniably flat. Realization washes over me. We have no way of getting ourselves out of here. Short of walking all the through the night and leaving the car behind. I remember that I left my mobile behind. I had brought my purse instead. How un-helpful now!

Apprehensively, we walk away from the vehicle. The clouds cover the moon. It's dark. We're not usually outside at this time of the evening. As we walk together, I realise I'm afraid. Not terrified, but in need of some assurance. I pray silently. The promise comes to the surface of my thoughts, "The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him and delivereth them." Claiming it, believing it, I know it is true - that very moment. I couldn't see angels. I couldn't even feel their presence. Yet I knew.

 We head towards the light. Is it an oncoming car? Soon, we realise it's not. Must be houselights. We consider knocking on doors. We exit the treed area, our shoes touch the bitumen. We stop momentarily. I'm surprised by what I see. Or rather the lack of what I see. Despite being only 9 o'clock, there is not a single houselight. We recognize the light to be the lone street light, revealing a payphone.

Hope sparks. Our key to help! We quicken our pace. Cutting across the green, we soon are under the light, surrounding by thousands of happy insects. I look through my coins. Oh, no! Do I only have American coins? I wonder under my breath. I look on the over side. Then up at the payphone. How much do I need? Will 20 cents do?
"Fifty cents is the minimum for a call," Jana informs me.
I groan. I have none of them! But wait, how many 20s do I have? Three! I quickly drop them in; dial home. Mum answers. Relief! She's awake!
"Mum, we're stuck. Please come and help us!" we plead instantly.
The answer takes us by surprise. "Don't worry, just go back and relax. Dad is on his way already."

We walk back, confidence lengthening every stride. There is not a hint of light from the cluster of few houses.. I could feel scared again, especially walking away from the light. But I don't. The angels. They are not seen, but surrounding us. I know it! It doesn't take long for us to be seated back in the vehicle.
I snap a picture and blow my nose. We sit together. I don't know how long it is between when we first sit down until I see the approaching light. Not long.

"That's Dad!" we both shout. We jump out of the car and go to meet him. We hug gratefully. So grateful to have a father who anticipates our needs.

It's a bigger job than we anticipated, to get the car started. But, I'm not worried. I know Dad has it under control. It's very late when we finally get home, but we didn't have to walk.

I climb up onto my bed. Tonight, I kneel, just like every other night. What I say differs though. I'm grateful, so grateful for so many things.

"Thank-You, Father for everything. For the angels that surrounded us. For sending Dad to help us." I smile. And I realize that it must've have been about the time that we prayed together that Dad woke up and got the idea to come check on us. "For anticipating our needs and providing for them. Father, thank-You for being the best Father in the universe. Thank-You, that You have everything in control, even when I can't do anything myself."

I pause. Why was I so sure that angels were by us? God's hand was certainly over us. But, how could I have known for sure that what I couldn't see was a reality?

The verse returns, crystal clearly to my consciousness. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

That's the reason I knew. Faith - the Evidence of what's not seen
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