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"...Choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices...Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable."
For The Strength of Youth

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    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
 
Submitted by spazmom on 8 March 2007 - 12:35pm. |

What appeared before him now were glimpses of scenes - like watching parts of a moving picture, but it was full sized. The entire wall was encompassed in scenes as they slid by.

What was happening? Barely understanding what he was seeing, he finally grasped that he was observing moments of time in his wife’s life. His heart jumped in combination of excitement and fear. He’d often told his wife that he wished he could go back and change her childhood - she’d had such a rough one.

As he watched the slow evolution of time before him, seeing scenes that matched photos he’d seen often during the course of their marriage through family reunions and scrapbooks, he understood suddenly that it was as if he was being given an opportunity. Somehow, being shown where he could make that difference.

Holding his breath he wondered what this could possibly mean. Did the Lord work this way? It was like something out of a science fiction novel. It couldn’t be happening - was he hallucinating?

The scenes swirled before him, some familiar due to previous exposure, some of them matching stories she’d told him, most of them didn't bring any recollection. He watched in fascination, wondering what he was supposed to be learning by this vision before him. Was this craziness supposed to be comforting?

Then, as quickly as it had happened, it was gone.

He found himself stumbling back into the couch and sinking down with weak knees. What in the world was going on? He shook his head, closing his eyes for a moment. After a heartbeat, he looked at the wall again. It was back to normal, just photos and solid wall.

Pressing shaky fingers to his forehead, he stood up deciding it was time to get the kids out of the house before he totally winged out on them.

His parents were delighted to have the children for the next week, claiming they had been meaning to propose the idea to him. During the conversation on the phone, his mother had informed him the children needed a place that didn’t remind them of their mother every time they turned around. Then, in almost the same breath, she’d told him that he needed some time without them. Time to get himself together and back into the mainstream of life, ready to be a father again.

He appreciated the wisdom of her words, if not the emotion behind them. He knew he needed to focus on work and get some things done without any distractions.

When he told the children, they reacted with various stages of excitement. The teenagers weren’t as thrilled as the younger ones, but at least they were packing.

His emotions were close to the surface as he watched them silently stuff things in backpacks and look for notebooks.
His children had been solid as rocks through the past two weeks but they obviously needed a change. They needed to get out of the house, for one thing. It had become silent as a morgue, and that wasn’t good for them. Any of them.

It hit him with a tightening of his chest as he went to the younger children’s room, that they needed a home that had some life. A father that was ready to do some living - they needed a home again.

Sighing, he helped the youngest get their things together. Packing for one week was no big deal when you had one child, but when you had seven it was a little more complicated. They soon had everything gathered into the front hallway, various suitcases and backpacks, pillows and other paraphernalia.

His oldest daughter, Kathy, who had just turned 16, came up and slipped an arm around his waist. “Dad, are you going to be okay while we’re gone? You’re gonna be all alone.”

He slipped an arm around her slim shoulders, amazed as always at the beauty of her long, flowing, wheat colored hair and clear blue eyes. “I’ll be fine, Kath. You guys need to get some fresh air and get out of this house. All the plants from the funeral are dying, and your old man is just not putting out like he’s supposed to. We all need a break from things, and since I can’t leave the house right now with my work, at least you guys can get out.”

She made a face, looking over at her younger sister. “Sandy, I wish we could talk Daddy into coming with us.”

Sandy sighed, making sure she had all the CD’s she wanted to listen to in her backpack before zipping it closed. “Yeah, Dad. Like you’re gonna get any better here by yourself?”

Sandy was always the more pragmatic and worldly wise one. He didn’t always understand her thinking - even though sometimes it seemed too close to his own - but he loved her with an amazing depth of feeling that always astounded him when he regarded how he felt for his children.

“I’ll be fine, girls. You aren’t supposed to worry about me, you’re supposed to be teenagers and think only of yourselves and how put out you should be feeling at going to the country where there aren’t any movies or your friends or anything.”

Sandy made a face at him and turned to inspect her suitcase. “Yeah-right, Dad.”

Kathy sighed and leaned her head against his shoulder. “Dad!”

His oldest son, Andrew, came up, obvious reluctance on his face. “Dad, what are you going to do while we’re gone?”

“I’m gonna work on the computers, son.”

“Dad!” All three of them groaned.

“That’s not going to help!” Sandy objected, rolling her eyes.

“Why do you say that?” he asked, genuinely surprised at their reactions.

“Because you’ll forget to eat,” Andrew stated, folding his arms.

“And you’ll be down there the whole week without even realizing it,” Kathy insisted, her face mirroring her concern.

He sighed - it was too much, they were breaking his heart. “Children, come here.” There was a bench in the front hall and he sat down, gathering them close and holding the three of them tightly, making Sandy squirm. “I love you very much. You have been incredibly patient and long suffering during the past week, but things cannot continue this way. We need a short break, and then we need to get back to life as normal, only now without Mom. My way of getting through this is to work. Your way is to get out of this house. Will you please try - for me?”

They all nestled close to him for a moment, and he relished the feeling of the three heads resting on his arms and chest. It was a rare moment when the three of them would be together without bickering over something. He closed his eyes and sent a mental prayer of thanks to his Heavenly Father as they stirred.

“Okay Dad.” Andrew pulled back so he could look up into his face. “I’ll try.”

“Me too, Dad,” Sandy said with a watery smile, and he gently wiped a tear away from her cheek.

“We all will,” Kathy followed with a sigh, although her expression showed she clearly wasn’t sure he was making the right choice.

“Let’s make sure that Danny and the rest are ready,” Sandy said briskly, heading toward the stairs. “You know how Grandma hates to be kept waiting.”

He watched as the three of them went up stairs to get the younger children ready, showing more life than they had for days. He closed his eyes and lowered his head into his hands. How had he deserved such wonderful children? Where did their inner strength come from? Surely it was something they had learned from their mother, he felt very low on the emotional maturity scale right now.

Before he knew it, he was watching them drive away in the large custom van his parents owned. His mother had given him a penetrating glance before leaving, letting him know he hadn’t fooled her at all.

“We’ll have them back in time for school,” she told him briskly as his dad had helped the children load everything in the back. “This will be good for them. They need some time away from everything.”

They had been packed within a matter of minutes, his dad shutting the doors and the kids waving through the windows. Tom had sighed, waving back at them, thinking there was nothing like some time in Bear Lake. He almost envied them. He was glad it was late spring time. If it had been winter, they’d have been in St George and it would have been much more complicated getting the kids down there.

He had sighed, shutting the door with the realization of how quiet the house was. The feeling of emptiness multiplied, and he shook his head. He went to the kitchen and grabbed a drink of soda before heading downstairs to work. He’d been unable to work on things for two weeks now, with the funeral and everything. He had lots to do, starting with that computer program.

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