The kids were already out in the warmed van waiting for me to take them to school. I lifted my coat from the back of the chair.
“It’s been two days short of a month since this whole odyssey began,” I said, “and the empty gallon of milk—you know, the jug we use to dispose of the used syringes—it’s three-quarters full.” I put an arm into a sleeve. “That’s a lot of needles being put into that tiny body,” I said with a sigh that revealed my weariness of the topic. “But it’s the same every day. As soon as she wakes up, we need to check her blood sugar and then get some insulin into her before breakfast.” I adjusted my collar and then slipped the other arm into its sleeve. “The groan she gives. The frown she makes. She’s been doing so well, but I feel like lately she’s getting scared again. She’s pulling away and crying when it’s time to do what absolutely has to be done.”
God sat calmly on the bench near the front door, His back to our Christmas tree, the glorious emblem of cheer that shouted with superb form through our front windows into the dreary neighborhood beyond.
“To be expected,” He said. “It’s still a lot for a little girl.” He looked to me and patted the seat beside Him. “She’s tired. People get tired.” He slid a few inches to make some room.
“How do you usually respond to her?” He asked. With my coat zipped to its collar, I sat down beside Him to put on my boots.
“I hug her tightly,” I said, “and tell her how much I love her. I tell her how much You love her. I tell her how she’s the bravest girl I’ve ever met.”
God smiled and reached around to fiddle with a strand of lights on the tree that had gone out. Their absence left a somewhat dismal void in the middle section of the tree that apparently bothered us both.
“They don’t make these things like they used to,” He chuckled while pressing at each bulb as if trying to discover the culprit. Why He did this, I don’t know. Divinity needs no informing. With a word, He brings things into being. With a glance, He can order a man’s heart in one way or the other.
“For the most part,” He said casually and tapped at one bulb in particular, “like you said, she has been doing pretty well.” The tiny bulb flickered at first, causing the entire strand to struggle, but then in a moment, each of the lights along the winding thread gave a soft and steady glow. The tree’s mid-portion of emptiness was swallowed by a wash of white, and the lifeless ornaments danced again.
“Thanks,” I said.
“You’re welcome,” He returned with a little pep. “But keep an eye on that one,” he added and pointed back to the struggling bulb. “It looks like it may have a tendency to go out every now and then. When it does, don’t give up hope. Just take a moment and give it the loving care it needs. It’ll make all the difference in the world for the whole tree. You’ll see.”