Tree Watcher

There were scads of people in the usually empty streets. Friends, family, hired mourners, strangers wondering what the crowd was about. The tall tree overhanging the street seemed like the best place to observe, hopefully the best place to get first news.

She hadn't seen her best friend, Tabitha for a number of days. Their last afternoon together had been spent happily, smiling and laughing together -- planning for future picnics and tree climbing. She hadn't seemed sick at all.

Then, the very next day, her father had told her of Tabitha's sudden illness. Nobody knew how serious it would be. Nobody worried too much. But she had been watching, waiting for an update, hoping to see her dear friend's face in the window, hands waving.

But as the days passed and the crowd began to gather, she felt a hollow place in her chest. A deep hurting spot that didn't think things were going to be OK anymore.

Now she clung to the jigsaw bark, rough against her tender skin, but not as painful as the heart ache. How she hoped for good news.

The air was tense, everyone waiting, uncertain. No one knew what to say, so the silence hung like a heavy cloud, ready to pour sadness.

And then the news -- bad. And the wailing - loud.

She hugged the branch, stunned, unwilling to believe.

Her eyes closed in pain, she didn't know how many minutes past. Then she heard new people arriving, heard an authoritative voice.
"Why are you crying and making so much noise? The child is not dead, only asleep."
Mark 5:39 New Century Version
Her eyes flashed open, surveying the scene. Who was that man they all crowded around? He looked nice. He looked like someone who could help.

She wanted to call out, to ask him to make her best friend better, but the words stuck solid in her throat. Her face must have looked so anxious -- eyebrows all knit together, tears threatening to stream down her cheeks.

Then he looked up into the tree and saw her. He saw her scraped legs and arms, her worried expression, the dried tear-paths on her face. He smiled just the tiniest bit, tenderly, with such great compassion. She felt like He knew what great friends she and Tabitha had been. His eyes told her that He understood the ache inside her.

And His greatest wish was for them to be reunited.

So, with purpose, he turned and went into the house, followed by three other men. Again, she waited, this time expectantly. He could do something -- if it was best. She ignored the bitter and sarcastic crowd, the yells of "why didn't you get here sooner". She closed her eyes again, tired from the crying, and pictured the amazing depths of love in His eyes.

She hung on -- to the branch and to that love promise.

A few minutes passed, long enough for peace in her heart, long enough for healing, long enough to open hopeful eyes and look around.

Still the crowds, murmuring; still the tree, rough.

But now -- in the window -- two faces, smiling at her! The eyes of unconditional love and the other eyes -- oh!! The young, brave eyes of her dear friend, alive, smiling, thankful. The Healer and healed looked at each other happily, then back out the window at her, still in the tree.

Maybe they will have a picnic together -- all three of them.