I grew up. Went to college for a bit, joined the military. Maybe went to church twice in four years. I had children. Tried to go to church. Tried to take them to Sunday School. It was hard. They didn't want to go. I wanted to sleep in. Sometimes I was really good about going... but then I'd get lazy again. I always believed in God, but I certainly wasn't what you'd call an Ideal Representative of the Christian Faith. I had kids out of wedlock, cussed like a sailor, had my priorities messed up. I failed more times than I could count. I'd try to do the right thing, but I always seemed to be making wrong decisions. I usually turned to God when things were messed up and I needed help. More often than I care to admit I'd forget about Him when things were going good. Needless to say, Avery didn't get her faith from me.
Avery just loved God. Absolutely. With all her heart and without question. He was her Father, her Best Friend, her Everything. He was who she chatted with about school and family; good, bad or indifferent, she talked with Him; shared herself with Him. She talked to Him like He was sitting next to her at all times. And she listened to Him; really listened.
Less than two weeks before the accident I caught her reading way past her bedtime.
"Aves, you need to go to sleep - you have school tomorrow."
"I can't sleep, Mom."
"Well you sure can't sleep if you're sitting there reading with the lights on. What are you reading, anyway?"
She held up her bible. "Revelations."
"Revelations?!" I spat. "That'll give you nightmares!" Now, I've never actually read Revelations, but I knew enough to know that's the end of the bible. The scary part. The one that talks about beasts and horsemen and the end of the world. Nothing good can come from a story about the end of the world.
Avery rolled her eyes at me and scoffed. "No, Mom, it's not like that. When the world we live in gets all confusing and we don't understand it, you can just read Revelations and it tells you all about heaven and you can be comforted by that."
I just stared at her. So many times in her life I did not understand what she was saying to me. I always knew there was something so special about her, so different, yet I brushed it off like I always did because I didn't understand it. "Just don't stay up too late, got it? You'll be too tired for school." I shut her door and walked down the hall. How does she know this stuff?
There is a ribbon in her bible marking a page in Revelations. I have desperately searched those passages for something, anything, that will bring me comfort like it brought her; I cannot find it. The words scare me and frighten me. I do not see what she saw. I am not comforted by what she read. And yet, it was the words she spoke to me that night that bring me comfort... her words were spoken to prepare my heart for her departure from our earthly lives. When the world we live in gets confusing, turn to God's Word; there you will find comfort. I do not doubt for a second that God was preparing me that night.
I just wish I would have said something different. "Tell me more," I would have said, peeling back her covers and sliding into bed next to her, lacing her long, slender fingers inbetween mine. "Please, tell me more, and I will stay here all night and listen."