The Holy Spirit and two small brown shoes
Are you a mess? Do you struggle to remain standing? Do you simply have no answers to all the questions? Does life feel too hard and your strength too weak?
Then it’s time for reinforcements. 7God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
He makes us strong enough to walk through the hardship. Like Hannetjie (not her real name). This is her moving last letter to her son:
If I could talk to you one last time, I would’ve wanted to tell you one more time how much I love you, and that I will always think of you with so much pride.
That the pride in my heart sometimes made it feel like bursting about the unbelievable progress you’ve made with your speech.
The stroke you had two years and four months ago was very bad. I’m so sorry we couldn’t do more to make you better. I keep wondering what had happened that night. I’m so sorry you couldn’t talk, couldn’t say what you wanted to. I’m so sorry that your marriage couldn’t withstand this great test, that she left you when you needed her most, that your business also couldn’t withstand the stroke, but all that was nothing, absolutely nothing compared to the accident, to death.
When the phone rang, I thought it was you, and I answered “Hallo, my boy.” But it was someone from the police and she said you were in a crash. And I asked how you were doing. She said it was serious, I had to come. It was just after 10.00.
There was silence between us as we drove there. Wordlessly, I prayed. My whole being screamed: “Talk to me,” but there was only silence. Both of us anxious and afraid. It’s not warm, but the hair in my neck was wet with sweat.
Just outside Kriel we saw the lights, the traffic congestion, and we knew …
They said wait, we can’t go closer now. I ducked underneath the yellow and red tape and walked to the front of the truck. I asked if the driver was injured. “No, only badly traumatised.”
About 100 metres further I saw your bakkie, skew across the road, covered in silver foil. That was when I knew, my dear child. That’s when they stopped me and led me back; I had to wait until they had finished measuring and photographing and I don’t know what else. I asked about you, about your little dog Tiny, but nobody wanted to answer me. Diesel was everywhere. Grandma phoned, asking if you were alive; I said I didn’t know.
Your friend you were going to visit joined us. After what felt like an eternity, workers started throwing sand on the road. Someone said it was a blessing, you had died instantly. Confirmation.
My head hurt, my heart shook, I wanted to throw up, talked to Grandma, your sisters and the pastor. Asked Grandma to tell my brothers. Only then did the workers start cutting you from the vehicle. After you were put on the stretcher, I was allowed to see you. They showed me your head, and at the bottom of the blanket, I could see two small brown shoes. My hand covered my mouth; I bent down, reached out with my right hand to touch you. Someone took my arm and said I wasn’t allowed to touch you. I had to confirm that it was you. It wasn’t. Your injuries were so bad, but the two brown leather shoes were yours.
Your sister phoned and asked whether you had given your heart to the Lord and I could confirm that you had done so Easter weekend.
They didn’t want to take your little dog with you in the vehicle and someone took her from the wreck and gave her to me. Darling, there wasn’t even one mark on her little body, it looked as if she was sleeping. I put her on the seat in our car to go and bury her at home. Then your friend took her, and said he would do it, because you two had been friends for so long and she was part of that friendship. She had been your pet for 19 years.
And then they drove off with you, and we could only look on with tears streaming from our eyes and a feeling of total dismay.
We drove back, again in silence, with tears dripping, over my face, into my neck, onto my chest. At home, your cousin was waiting with Grandma, and sobs tore through our bodies as we held onto one another. We had no words.
Then it was evening, and the hours crept by. I sat in the lounge under a blanket, your sister phoning almost every two hours. I said to her I was sure you were with Jesus, that you no longer suffered from the discomfort of the stroke, and maybe our Father wanted to use you to make sure that we were doing his will, so that eventually we could sit with you at Jesus’ feet, singing hallelujah with the angels.
Saturday the house was full of visitors, but Sunday, early morning, we prepared to go and visit you.
I went in alone, they put you on the floor for me, in a kind of pan, and left me alone with you. I walked around you, uncovered you and looked at all your injuries, touched your face, you were still wearing the two brown shoes. I sat down on the cold floor, and looked at you, disbelieving.
My Son, I’m so sorry, so very sorry that you didn’t enjoy your life these past two years and four months. But I’m grateful for the privilege I had to make your last few months as comfortable as possible.
You couldn’t speak, but you comforted me when I bumped the car. The touch of your hand on my arm. Your shining eyes when you were full of mischief. Made coffee for everyone, hiding mine in the kitchen. What you did, your electrical work, even though your speech and sugar held you back. I know none of us really know how difficult not being able to talk was for you. But I know for sure that you had to come back home, to reunite with the Father, to mend your relationship.
I don’t know how long I sat with you, someone came to fetch me.
The call came a few days later. The investigation was done and I had to come and identify you again. This time, fortunately, you were on a trolley and clean, your wounds stitched up. You were ready for your last journey on earth, without your no. 13 brown leather shoes.
Thank you, my boy, for 42 years and nine months, with the expectation that I will see you again.
Only the Holy Spirit can give you strength to walk this road.
Allow the Holy Spirit to be the power in your life.
2 Tim 1:5-7
How much of the Holy spirit is visible in your life?
How much space do you give the Holy Spirit?
Father, I have no words. Please let your Holy Spirit work in my life. Amen.