Darlene Slone held her hands out toward her oldest son in mute appeal. “Please don’t do this, Gabe,” she said. “Your father and I are only trying to help you keep to God’s path. You need our guidance!”
Gabe shook his head violently before shoving the brown locks that fell over his eyes back into semi-order. “I can take care of myself. I can make my own decisions, thank you very much.”
“No, please!” His mother begged. But it was too late. The door was yanked open and then slammed shut behind Gabe. A minute later they heard his car rev into life and speed out of their driveway.
Tears brimmed into his mother’s eyes and she turned to her silent husband for support. His eyes were already closed, but though his mouth moved, no words came out. Darlene copied her husband, realizing that prayer was the only thing that could save their son now. He was in God’s hands.
The dinner table was strangely quiet that night. With Gabe gone there was no one to crack jokes and tell funny stories about people from his work. Danielle Slone, Gabe’s younger sister, swallowed her food with difficulty. For some reason she felt as if there was a lump in her throat the size of a tennis ball. It turned her food into tasteless rubber and made it almost impossible to eat anything.
Finally Mr. Slone cleared his throat. “Dani,” her father said, “please bring me my Bible.”
Obediently, Danielle did so. He opened it to where they had read last night and started to read.
Suddenly the phone rang. Mrs. Slone jumped up, fear gripping at her heart. “I’ll get it,” she said. Quickly she answered it. “Hello? Oh… yes, I’m Mrs. Slone. WHAT??” the blood drained from her face and she sank down onto her chair. “But he’s alive? Oh… thank you… yes, we’ll come right away of course… yes… thank you so much…” She put the shone back slowly, shock written all over her features.
“What happened?” Danielle asked feverishly, her own face paling in fear.
“It’s Gabe,” Mrs. Slone whispered. “He’s been in a car accident and is in an ambulance on his way to the hospital.”
Danielle sat dry-eyed in a chair next to the still form of her brother. Hundreds of tubes linked him to life the giving oxygen mask while the monitor beeped steadily as she watched him. Come on, she begged mutely, fight it Gabe! You can conquer this! Wake up, please?
Her parents were around the small table, their hands folded and their eyes closed. Both of them asking God to give them their son, to spare his life, and ultimately to give him another chance to change.
Sitting next to her brother as his chest went up and down steadily, Danielle whispered a prayer of her own. “God, I love my brother. Don’t take him from me. Have him wake up, don’t let him die. Please, God, don’t take him from us.” Finally the tears came and she buried her face in her hands as she wept. Broken before God, she asked once more for Him to spare her brother.
The monitor hiccupped and Danielle lifted her head. Before her widened eyes, now reddened with tears, she saw her brother open his eyes. “Gabe,” she whispered, “You’re awake! You’re alive!” Her heart leapt with joy. “MOM, DAD!” she screamed, “Gabe’s awake! His eyes are open!”
Her parents rushed over. Mrs. Slone sank to her knees beside the hospital bed and lifted her tears streamed face to heaven. But this time, her tears weren’t from grief. “Thank you Father!” She whispered.
Mr. Slone grabbed his son’s hand and squeezed it gently. A tear dripped off the end of his nose, but he no longer cared. His son was alive!
A day later the hospital pronounced Gabe completely healed.
“I really can’t understand how his body did it!” The doctor had exclaimed while shaking his head in unbelief.
“With God all things are possible,” Mr. Slone answered simply. “It was a miracle.”
Late that night after Danielle had gone to bed, Gabe walked into the family living room. His parents were reading their Bibles together. Awkwardly, he cleared his throat. His dad looked up and welcomed him with a smile. “Come join us, Gabe,” he offered.
Gabe shook his head. “Dad, Mom, I want to apologize for the way I acted to you earlier this week.” He took a deep breath. “I’ve been praying a lot and reading my Bible, and, well, I got right with God today. I just wanted to let you guys know that I’m sorry for the way I’ve been behaving. From now on, some things are going to change in my life.”
“Gabe, our prayers have been answered doubly now.” Mr. Slone stood up and hugged his son. “We hoped that this would happen.”
“Sometimes it takes a miracle,” Mrs. Slone added.
Rachel dried her hands on her apron and hurried out to the mail Maybe today something will come from Richard! She thought excitedly.
Taking the mail out, she almost squealed in surprise. There lay a letter from Richard. She glanced at the date and realized it had been sent almost a month ago.
She broke the seal and took out the folded slip of paper.
I hope this letter find you well. I’m writing this as I huddle under a blanket trying to stay dry; it has been raining nonstop for the last couple days. I’ve made some friends with the guys in my regiment. One of them is a guy named Lester. I think you’d like him. The weirdest thing is that he’s from a town only about an hour from where we live. It makes me wonder if we’d ever seen each other before. He has a great sense of humor and keeps our minds off the horrors we’re facing here. I can’t remember the last time I felt clean. All day we’re trudging through the mud and hoping we don’t get noticed by enemy soldiers. The air is damp and thick making it hard to breath, but the mosquitoes are the worst. I’m not sure how soon I will be able to mail this, but at least writing it gives me something to do. I pray you are doing well. I miss you and dad and mom. Give them my love. Remember, don’t worry about me. I know you won’t listen, but at least I can say I tried. I love you, Rachel.
Your brother, Richard.
Rachel placed the paper back in the envelope. She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed her twin. As she turned back to the house, a voice called out.
“Hey, Rachel. Telegram for you.” Sam, the telegram messenger held out a small envelope.
“Who’s it from?”
“It looks like it’s from your brother.”
Rachel’s heart began to beat faster. Richard? Why is he sending me a telegram? A feeling of dread filled her as the truth began to dawn on her. He must be wounded!
Her hands started shaking and she handed the envelope back to Sam, “You open it. Please.”
Sam glanced at her uncertainly, then took the telegram and opened it, reading the three, short sentences.
Lester wounded stop Being flown to General hospital stop Please see him stop
Rachel let out the breath she’d been holding. Richard’s fine. He’s not hurt!
She took the telegram from Sam and thanked him, placing the required money in his hand.With a nod he turned and started back toward town.
Glancing down at the telegram, Rachel hurried into the house and removed her apron.
“Where are you going, dear?” Mom walked out of the dining room. Rachel thrust the telegram into her hands, “This will explain. I’ll be back soon.”
“Is there a Lester here?” Rachel asked the nurse at the front desk.
“Do you have a last name?”
Rachel shook her head, “I’m not sure how long he’s been here. He’s a soldier, wounded in Vietnam.”
The nurse thought for a moment and flipped through the records, “Ahh , here. Lester Delvin. He got here yesterday.”
“Can you tell me what happened to him?”
The nurse glanced at her curiously, “Do you know Lester?”
“No. My brother met him in Vietnam and today I got a telegram asking if I would visit him.”
“He was wounded badly. The doctors weren’t sure if they could save his leg. He was sent first to a hospital in the U.K. He arrived here yesterday morning.”
“And his leg?”
“The doctor is trying to save it, but Lester’s still unconscious.”
“Can I see him? I mean, is he allowed to have visitors?”
The nurse smiled, “I don’t see what it would hurt. Follow me.”
She walked down numerous hallways and finally entered one of the wards. Pulling back a curtain around one of the beds, she spoke softly. “This is him. You can sit with him a while if you like.” she motioned to the chair next to the bed.
Rachel nodded, “Thank you.”
The nurse closed the curtain and left. Rachel took the seat and studied the man lying on the bed. He was young, certainly not much older than her own eighteen years. His black wavy hair was brushed back from his forehead and his closed eyes were just visible above the tubes that were connected to him. He must have a sister, a mother somewhere worrying about him. I can’t even imagine how I would feel if Richard was in a hospital and no one was there to tend to him. What can I do to help? A thought struck her and she reached out her hand and gently placed it in his. “Dear God, I don’t know this man, but I know that somewhere there is someone missing him. Please give them peace. And help him to heal.”
Suddenly, she felt his hand gently squeeze hers, she glanced up at his eyes just in time to see them open, “He will, Rachel. He will.” the voice was a whisper.
She started at him in astonishment, “How do you know me?”He smiled slightly, “You’re the feminine version of your brother.”