“What do you see?”
The child stood before his mother, eyes wide and staring as if through her. His small body trembled. It was just past midnight, and he’d risen from his bed in a panic, disoriented by the darkness.
“God” he answered, breathlessly, the urgency in him rising.
“What does he look like?”
“I can’t see him. His light is too bright. But he’s holding up a giant orb.”
Chills ran down the mother’s spine. An orb? Not the language of a nine-year-old boy.
“What does it mean?”
“He’s showing me weather, like storms and floods, and fire, and stuff.”
“Why do you think He’s showing you this?”
“It’s a message,” the boy’s face, so angelic in this dim light, made his mother’s heart ache. What was happening to her son?
“God wants us to know that hard times are coming, and that we will have to learn to live together differently. He wants us to get along, take care of one another.”
“That is a good message.”
The boy relaxed then, his body surrendering to her arms. She rocked him gently, wondering what to say.
“Are you afraid?” she asked after a pause.
“No, Mom,” he replied matter-of-factly. “There are angels here too.”
“Yes. They came first, to tell me God was coming.”
She guided his slender body back to bed, sitting on the edge and stroking his hair as he fell back into a deep sleep.
“Do other people see God?” he asked her the next morning.
“There have been others, yes,” she answered hesitantly. They’d stopped going to church years before.
“Really? How do you know?”
“It’s written down.”
“In a book?”
“Yes. It’s called the Bible.”
She kept him home from school that day, sensing his need to be close to her. Later, they ventured to the mall where a man sold scrolls with the meaning of names.
“Maybe he has my name!”
“No, son. I made your name up. You won’t find it there.”
But the boy persisted, asking the man if he had any information about his name.
“I do!” came the reply. “Your name has two meanings, depending on the Greek or Hebrew translation. It means He who talks to God or He who listens to God.
The boy beamed, while the mother felt a deep sense of inadequacy settle around her.
(Written for Willow Poetry’s challenge: What do you see? Image provided by Hélène Valliant.)