In the blink of an eye

I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life
~ By Your Side, Tenth Avenue North ~

I tried to go to sleep without writing this post. I pushed it out of my mind all day, and it came back in shivering, convulsing detail as soon as my mind was wandering before sleep. Every mother's nightmare. Today I almost watched my baby son die.

He's mechanical, that child. Can take anything apart if he watches you do it once. And I'm not exaggerating. I can't wait to watch how God uses that gift in his life. For now, he is happiest taking lids off jars and putting them back on, opening and closing doors endlessly, taking the screws out of my pan lids, and off the outlet covers. Inquisitive. It can be a wonderful trait - or a deadly one. Today, the door he opened was the front door. I was in the bathroom - just for a moment - with both the bedroom and bathroom door hanging wide open, as usual. I haven't gone to the bathroom alone during the day for years! I didn't hear the door open, or close. I just noticed the house was quiet, and hurried about my business, washed my hands (I'm a nurse, it's a compulsion by this point), and came out to see what the kids had gotten into.

No kids in the house. I figured they were out playing on the porch. But as I passed the windows on my way to the front door, I saw him standing there, a million miles away. Down the road, walking along in the middle of the driving lane. Every molecule in me exploded into action and I flew out the door, nearly knocking my niece over as I raced past her, still standing safely at the top of the driveway. Amelia was at the bottom, standing on the very last grain of sand, knowing she wasn't allowed off the gravel driveway and onto the road. Calling out to her baby brother, warning him it was dangerous to be walking on the road. The rocks cut my feet until they bled, and I never noticed. What I did notice was the ominous sound of a large truck flying down the road toward us at about 55 miles per hour. Deadly speed. The driver didn't see him in time to stop. The thirty pound speck of human flesh that is beloved, every inch of him beloved to me - standing stock still in the road as the truck rushed toward him. Waving his hands in glee. The driver must have seen him just about 25 yards before he hit him. The thud and boom of his brakes skidding in a hot last attempt to slow down, the passing bleat of a hundred decibels piercing forth from his horn. He swerved around my baby, the whole grain truck heaving over on it's axles. I screamed and probably swore, I suppose. (Knowing me.) Then dragged every last centimeter of breath into my lungs and screamed, "Come here, Caleb Aaron!" in my most commanding and sinister motherly tone. The truck was past, danger averted for the moment. I reached the end of the driveway and was out on the road before he could even turn to obey. Squeezing the air out of him, crying, praying, gritting my teeth at the awfulness - and mercy - of the whole event.

In the blink of an eye, everything could have changed. But it didn't. Those awesome truths of life and death, those same truths that came crashing in on me last summer when cancer came knocking, blew past in a split second today on the six wheels of a grain truck on a lonely country road. It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. (Acts 1:7) Just before all this happened, I sat talking to a friend about guardian angels. I went searching for the Biblical evidence on this tonight, when I couldn't sleep. And there it was, in my favorite Book, laid out in black and white.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (Psalm 91:11)

See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:10)

And to which of the angels has he ever said,"Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:13-14)

I knew from watching my own mother for years past that this day would come. The day I would really understand what she meant when she called it a great accomplishment to get all my brothers and I -alive - to our 18th birthday. I know more, now than ever, that prayer is a mother's greatest ally in the protection of her children. It is impossible to anticipate every twist and turn of this life, to thwart death for yourself and four other little souls in your care. There is only one being in heaven and earth who can do that, and it is not me. There was absolutely nothing I could do today to physically stop my son from being crushed by the bumper of that oncoming truck. Nothing but enlist the help of an almighty God and His host of angels.

That, and install some deadbolts that lock with a key from the inside. Which I'll be doing tomorrow.

And everything You hold in Your hand
Still You make time for me
I can't understand
Praise You God of Earth and sky
How beautiful is Your unfailing love
Unfailing love
~ Unfailing Love, Chris Tomlin