"I'll be just a minute," said Mom convincingly, as she shut the car door and dashed into the drug store.
Maybe she means it this time, I thought, repositioning the blood-soaked gauze that filled the gaping holes in my mouth. I slumped over, shoved my brutally uncomfortable purse under my head, and closed my eyes.
My momentary slumber was interrupted by the sound of approaching footsteps. "Mom?" The thought of her prompt return provided a sense of relief from the raging pain but the footsteps kept moving right on by. The gauze would not absorb much more of the blood that oozed freely from places where wisdom teeth were rooted just a few hours earlier. "Where is she?"
I pulled my jacket over my eyes, slipping into another merciful minute of unconsciousness before awakening to a noise so loud I was sure my eardrums would burst. Was it screeching tires? Blaring horns? Rolling thunder?
I jumped out of the car and looked up into the sky. Before I could process the magnificent site before me; I was there, up in the air. I soared across the sky with thousands of others. It happened all at once and over time. It felt real and unreal.
I lifted my hand to my cheek. The swelling was gone, the pain no more. This was real. I was caught up in the very rapture that I had come to comprehend just a few months earlier at a campus crusade. I marveled at God's grace and mercy.
Then, I saw Grandpa. He was tall and strong. His disease-ravaged body no more. He took my hand and sang praise to God just as he had done so many times on earth. He embraced me for a minute and a year. I had missed him so much.
"Where's Mom?" I asked.
He lowered his gaze to earth, to the parking lot and the car. I saw Mom on her knees as the world around her broke into chaos; panic-stricken family and friends searching for the missing. Most had no idea what had happened. Some, like Mom, seemed to know.
I could see her hands folded in front of her. It had been so long since I'd seen her pray. Since the divorce. Since the move. Since the world turned upside down on our family.
Grandpa smiled broadly as he gazed down on his beloved daughter. "It's not too late," he said. "It won't be easy, but she has another chance. God's arms are still wide open."
We moved through the air. My heart grew lighter and lighter, as a song rose up in me. "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord!"
I closed my eyes, soaking in heaven, when the door opened abruptly.
"I'm sorry, honey," said Mom apologetically.
I opened my eyes and felt the jolt of pain in my jaws. "Where am I?"
"Wow, the doctor said you'd be a little loopy," said Mom, starting up the car.
What just happened? Where's Grandpa? I wondered silently.
"We have to run two more quick errands before we go home," Mom added sheepishly.
I leaned forward and peered up at the blue sky.
"Did you hear the thunder, Mom?"
"Thunder? There's not a cloud in the sky. You ok?" she asked, stopping for a red light.
"Do you blame God for the divorce? For losing the house?"
"Well, of course not...but without your dad around, there were so many chores to do, errands to run. Life just got too busy."
"Mom, I thought maybe you could give God a second chance?"
She thought without speaking.
I wondered if there were just too many scars. Could she even make a turn now?
"God's arms are still wide open," I said softly.
"How strange that you would say that," she mumbled. "That's what your Grandpa said right before he..."
I leaned forward again and peered at the sky--now certain about that which I could not see.
"It's true, Mom. God loves you. He always has. The time is near for His children to go home. I know Grandpa will be there and I need to know you will be there, too."
The light turned green. Mom's foot moved from the brake to the gas pedal. As we headed into the intersection, she suddenly flicked on her turn signal and made a hard right turn.
"Where are we going now?" I asked.
"Straight home," she answered. "Today's errands can wait..."
Sherrie is a believer in Jesus Christ, a freelance writer, a wife and a mother. She resides with her family on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, where she was born and raised. Mary Supebedia is her beloved grandmother.