A few months had passed since Daddy made his way into Heaven. The farm looked the same. The crab apple trees still sent a burst of fragrance up the hill and around the house into the front yard whenever a warm wind decided to wake up. My dog Ginger continued to find me when I wandered outside looking for strange bugs or mystical arrowheads. The woods surrounding our home never stopped speaking into the breeze, calling me to explore. Dad was gone, but sometimes I could hear his voice echoing over the ridge urging me to come in for supper.
I noticed a swing appeared a couple of days ago under one of the crab apple trees. It was the kind that you put one foot in and glide around upright. Susan, my older sister, must have tied it to one of the limbs earlier in the week. Checking it out is definitely on my mental list for the day. Hopefully, I'll have time to squeeze it into my busy schedule before the sun dips down behind the barn.
Time sure has a funny way of speeding up when you don't want it to and slowing down when you want it to hurry along. Maybe God got that whole thing backward. He absolutely knows what he's doing, but everyone is entitled to an oversight. When I make it to Heaven, I'll be sure to tell him that the clock should move fast during class and slow down during playtime. I'm sure plenty of other angels will back me up on that.
I felt a lot closer to God after Dad moved on. Maybe because I knew Daddy was with him, or perhaps because I needed help filling that void where a boy's father is supposed to reside. God and me have our moments, though; things aren't always pretty. Sometimes I'll pick a fight with him, but he tends just to listen. I guess disagreements will pop up when you're close to someone. Lucky for me, Jesus has unlimited patience.
A few words buzzed from my mouth like angry hornets assembling and taking flight, "I hope you know my mother's heart is broken. She didn't deserve this. None of us did. Why did you choose my dad? He worked hard every day, always doing his best to care for us all. I can't go two days without someone telling me how he was a good man or how he helped them once when they needed it."
My face grew red while tears filled my eyes after noticing my old bike leaning against the homemade wooden basketball goal. And I continued, "He just taught me how to ride that ya know. He was supposed to teach me other stuff, and you took him. None of this makes sense, and your decision was wrong. I hate you."
After wiping my face on my shirt, I marched toward the rope swing behind the house. The lasso made that tightening sound as I stepped into it and raised myself above the ground. Using my momentum, I swung back and forth as high as possible, pretending I was Spider-Man, who had also lost his Uncle Ben. The slight breeze from the swaying motions felt good, hitting my dirty face. My eyes closed for a few moments while I envisioned my body floating high over the earth, noticing how tiny everything looks from up here.
Like always, real life ascended to the surface, and I noticed I'd gotten into a predicament. Just below my feet, yellowjackets hoovered around the fallen apples like hot lava, ready to disintegrate me head to toe like I was beaming up on Star Trek once I stepped down. My tense body dangled overhead like an anticipated second course for hungry zombies. Again, God managed to slow down time at the worst possible moment. I must have hung there for an hour or longer before I heard it.
"Let go," the voice whispered. I'm unsure if it was Jesus or my dad, but I decided to listen and let go. My right leg slipped through the lasso while the rope tightened around my thigh, trapping me with the vicious flying insects. "Great advice," I belted as my back landed flat on the hard, unforgiving earth. The more I fought to get away, the tighter the cord squeezed. Any moment the angry yellowjackets would devour my flesh, leaving only a pile of bones, with one tibia left wobbling in the air a few feet over my final resting place.
A familiar voice broke the chaos, "Chris, what is wrong with you? Just get up." Mom must have seen me through the kitchen window and made her way to my resue.
"The yellowjackets are going to sting me, Mom! I'm trapped," would be the final words ever to escape my mouth.
Shaking her head, she spoke again, "Oh Chris, these aren't yellowjackets. They're corn flies, and they are harmless." She loosened the rope as my bruised leg fell to the ground. One of the bugs landed on my chest, looked at me like an idiot, and buzzed away. We walked back to the house together that afternoon. I guess God was trying to tell me to let go. Things may get a little worse sometimes when we do, but eventually, it gets better.