Straight to the Heart…

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I take a moment to be still and look outside my window. It’s the middle of the day. It is so very still and quiet, this is rare in my house full of boys.

The grey clouds hover above inviting me to reach for my steaming cup of earl grey tea. The wind is blowing the trees, back and forth, back and forth. Some pinecones fall to the ground in rhythm with the sparse raindrops.

It kind of feels like my old home, all the way over in Seattle. If I just look at the scene directly out the window, I might just believe it. I close my eyes and daydream that I am there- minutes away from my best friends, a short stretch of I-5 the only thing separating me from my family and everything familiar.

I open my eyes and remember where I am.

I think of the road as the rain falls faster.

The long and twisting road, with its confusing turns and its uphill battles- the road that has brought us here to Ontario, and to today in 2014.

Sometimes our destination seems like it will never be reached, almost like a cruel joke.

Sometimes I was so afraid on those turns that I near gave up the fight.

Sometimes I was so sad that the road became flooded with tears.

Sometimes so frustrated that doing anything to get me off this road looked good.

This journey has been 8 years. Wonder what my attitude what have been after 40? In a desert?

Yet even when my faith small, even when close to giving up there was something that kept me going.

Like a sparkle of Light in a dark sky,

like a ray of sunshine thru these cold, dark clouds,

like the Light reaching out for me and my family…

Hope.

Even if it was just a little, it was enough to keep me hanging on.

Not like–“I hope God shows up” like I hope the rain is going to stop. Or I hope my coffee is strong enough today– but a confident expectation in the midst of a road that would oftentimes appear bleak.

A hope that says:

His promises are true.

His unfailing love for me is real.

He is going to return for His Bride.

A hope that knows He has sent us.

“Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”. John 20:21

Knowing that He is for us, despite the evidence we see with just our eyes, despite the confusing road, one where sometimes we could not see one step in front of us.

This road has led us ‘straight to the heart’.

The journey has exposed our hearts and where our treasures lie- in our destination or in Him?

It has opened our hearts that He may reach into our very souls and speak to us tenderly, filing us with hope only He can give.

It has fanned the flame in our hearts to tell those who do not know Him, of His saving grace.

And it has led us straight to the “Heart of South America”.

m_paraguay This long, twisty road has led us to Paraguay. A beautiful place that has groups of people with no understanding of the Hope we have.

As our excitement for the turn in our road grows, we have come to the point where we could say, we would not trade in our road for another. What we have learned the past few years we could never have learned in a classroom. Our Teacher, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who has ministered to our hearts like no other.

So we will follow Him all the way to the Heart of South America.

And like a wise man we know once said, “The journey IS the destination”.

My thoughts are interrupted by a little squeal, “I’m awake, Mom!”.

I look out the window, the rain falls, the wind blows, my tea is gone and its back to life in real time.

Peace in my heart and stillness… on the road, and in my soul.

Thank you Jesus.

 

The Pain that Reminds me I am not Home: PART 4: The After.

Print**Those of you who follow our blog know we keep a journal of most of our travels. This time was no different except our pain so raw and our grief so fierce that I didn’t have the energy to post anything until now. But here it is- our roadtrip after losing our Skye…**

Starbucks- 9:45

Gas- 9:48

On the road: 9:58

Traffic Jam I-405- 10:20

Here we go.....

Here we go…..

Judah talking to himself. Ransom reading. Wesley driving. Me heading for healing. Driving from what I am leaving behind: trauma, pain, yet embracing it, feeling it, this is how I know I am alive and on this earth, because I feel this pain.

The Pain that Reminds me I am Not Home…

I let it come. And I live thru it. And I long for my true Home.

Philippians 3:10: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…” .

I have had this as my life verse since the first time I read it. Never meant so much to me until now, the most traumatic summer of my life.

Loss of plans.

Loss of life.

Yet He could sympathize in every single hurt and pain. He knows the loss of a Child well. He met me where I was at. Crumpled on the floor, laboring for a baby I would not meet on this earth.

Crying so much I thought there could be no more tears. But they came.

Angry. Sad. Confused.

When my 3 year old says, “I love your baby, Mom!” and kisses my stomach, and I don’t have the heart to tell him yet.

How will I tell him?

12:30 p.m.

Need Coffee.

My one year old thinks if anyone has food in their hands then it must be for him too. This was discovered as he ran up to a trucker at the rest stop who had a sandwich. He was yelling, “Snacks! Snacks!”.

1:51 p.m.

Ransom: “There’s no God like Jehovah! There’s no God like Jehovah! There’s no God like Jehovah!”.

My boy, singing me some Truth.

My boy, singing me some Truth.

I thank God for my son, who is singing some real Truth here.

Today Judah spoke his first real sentence!

“Milk! I want milk! Please!”.

Growing up too fast I tell ya.

Day 2: Leaving Missoula Montana.

9:05- We go to the free continental breakfast. A kid’s dream- fruit loops, donuts, muffins. Not stuff we ever have in our house but its free so we let them have their fill.

We see some older women going into the elevator. They seem really irritated. Ransom is jumping up and down in the elevator saying, “This feels so weird!”, really loud. Not culturally appropriate for an elevator but he’s 3. The irritated one smiled.

Another of the irritated ladies is at the front desk. She is talking rudely to the front desk girl. I have been a front desk girl so I can relate. Not fun.

We walk by and take our stuff to our car.

Three minutes later the irritated ones all walk to their car. I realize that they are all together. I ask Ransom if he would like to tell those ladies to have a great day. Nothing can make a day better than a cute little kid. He wants to. He wants me to come with him and hold his hand.

We walk 4 cars down. They were busy loading up their things so they didn’t hear him the first time. Say, “Excuse me ladies!”- I encourage him.

He clears his throat. “EXCUSE ME, LADIES!!”. He calls out.

They turn.

“Excuse me, ladies!”, he exclaims. “Have a great day!!”, he says in the cheeriest voice ever.

Smiles all around.

Mission accomplished.

“Thank you, young man! You have a great day too and a wonderful trip!”, smiled irritated lady number 1.

“Thank you!!”, he says with an ear to ear grin.

Don’t know where they were headed.

Or where they were coming back from…

A funeral, a wedding, a reunion…

You never know where a stranger has been or where they are going but everyone needs Light. Today you can have the privilege of being that Light to someone- that is what my son reminded me of today.

12:30 p.m.

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

—Hillsong

Miserable mess thru Montana

Numb thru North Dakota

5:15ish

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I just realized I had a fun day.

Singing songs. Going to Jamestown.

Seeing the biggest buffalo in the world.

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And I realize that I hadn’t cried all thru North Dakota.

Then 68 miles west of Fargo, I break down again.

I am so sad to not meet my baby.

And that our baby won’t come on road trips with us,

or sing with us,

or go see Buffalos

or see cornfields,

or ask what a wind mill is,

or want to swim in the pool with us,

or ask repeatedly for fruit snacks,

I don’t know how I can possibly cry anymore,

but I am.

My throat hurts from the constant lump.

I just want my baby to be alive.

__________________________________

The last day of the road trip…

The leaves are changing color already, he says.

Yeah, its pretty, I reply.

The faster they change, the sooner I am out of this worst summer of my life.

The pain is raw.

Yet He is here.

My Dad.

Holding me.

Sympathizing in my pain.

He has felt this agony.

“When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.”

He has said this to me,

and I have found,

in my very worst summer,

this to be true.

The Pain that Reminds me I am not Home: Part 3: THE HOURS.

image_largeTwo of my best friends and I are at a restaurant right on the water. I can see Mount Rainier  and the sky is beautiful. This is why I love this city. God’s creation is utterly amazing. We breathe it in and marvel over how gorgeous it is.

They ask me how I am doing. And I get to tell them my testimony of this past week of utter turmoil and distress that was transformed into peace and rest and a feeling of being protected and comforted by the One who spoke all of what we are seeing into existence.

I tell them how I am grasping onto this peace that is mine. I tell them that He has met me right where I am at. I tell them that He has taken me out of a deep pit of turmoil and placed me into the promised land- of peace and of rest that is so sweet and lovely.

We finish eating and pay. We need more time. This is how we are. We can talk for days and we would still need more time. Thank You Jesus for these friends. You knew I would need them with me tonight.

We need more time so we go to find a coffee shop. The first two are closed. Why? How? This is Seattle, people! We find one that is in a grocery store that is open.

We get tea and gelato. Yummmmmmm.

I excuse myself for a moment. To use the girls room, ya know?

It’s happening. Oh Lord, its happening. I am losing my baby. I start to panic and  He reminds me- “Peace I leave you, Peace I give to you.”.

Daughter it is yours. It is yours, dear child.

Thank You, God. It is mine. I breathe. In and out. I breathe.

“I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.”.

I go out to my friends and tell them what is happening. I sit with them and I cry. They have the perfect things to say. They have the exact words I need to hear. Thank you Jesus for these friends, You knew I would need them tonight.

They take me home.

I ran in the front door and crumpled into my husbands arms.
“What is it?? What is it?”, he asked.
“Our baby. Our baby is gone.”. I cried, barely able to speak.

With tears stinging my eyes, my face pale, and my heart so very heavy, I handed him my Book and asked if he could please read this to me:

“Do not be afraid for I have ransomed you, I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you go thru deep waters, I will be with you. When you go thru rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk thru the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up. The flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.” –Isaiah 43

when_you_go_through_deep_waters

“Read it again”, I cried, desperate to cling to His Word and Truth in this horrible moment, “Read it again.”.

And he did.
And the waves came as dreams of a life so joyously anticipated diminished as our tears fell.Hopes of a life that changed the path of our lives, here yesterday, gone today.Oh the sting of death.

A life, a person, our child-
who we would never lay our eyes on,
who we would not lay in that bassinet,
who would never wear the first onesie I got, exclaiming, “I love my Mommy!”
who would never on this earth meet their brothers,
who we would never hold in our arms.
But a person who from the first moment we knew about, only brought us joy.

I took a shower and it was a long one. It was the only place I could completely break down in sobs without my kids seeing. I get in and I just let everything out. I sobbed, loud and hard and not holding anything back. And there were more tears than water from the faucet washing over me.

And He was there. In the midst of my grief and sorrow I felt His protection, His comfort, His love, His tears with mine.

For He had lost a Child too. He knows my pain, He feels my agony, He has tasted of this unimaginable grief.

He agonized over His children on a Cross.

I sob, “Dad, You are my strength. I cannot see or comprehend Your plan for me, but I trust You because You love me. You love me.”.

I finally believe it. The word Father no longer tainted by what I knew of my biological father. The word love no longer for everyone else, but for me too.

You love me.

HE is my Father. He always has been. But now, as I scream and sob and writhe in pain and sorrow, I actually believe it.

The next few days were horrible. Some trips to the doctor. Agonizing hours in the ER. The last day of the week brought the end.

A day I see as our greatest loss, but to my baby, the greatest gain. For our baby went straight to his/ her Creator and never had to taste of the pain of this fallen world.

For ten hours I labor for our baby who we won’t meet this side of eternity.

Skye Hazael.

We pick the name Skye because we have always loved it.

Hazael means “God sees”.

He sees Skye:

“For you formed my inward parts,
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.” —-Psalm 139

He sees me and my husband:

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” —Psalm 34

He sees us. We are not just a number but we are His children.

He sees me in the pit of despair and He came and gathered me up to Himself.  To love me. To be my Father. To walk with me. To carry me.

“I also give my life to Him forever, for sorrow with Him must be sweeter than any joy I have ever known…” – Streams in the Desert, pg 318

We thank the Lord for our baby.

Skye Hazael.

A baby who has changed our lives for eternity.

A baby who has shown us in his/her life and death, more of who our Saviour is.

A baby who has reignited the fire in our souls to live out Acts 1:8.

And as we thank Him for our Skye, we also think of the others. The ones who go thru this kind of loss and other pain, trauma, and suffering- that have no hope. They do not know Him yet. For them- this world is the best they will ever get.This horrible fallen, sick world is the only hope they have.

For us, this is the worst we will ever have it. For us, it only gets better.
For we know of a place where there will be no more asking “Why?”. No more tears, no more pain, no more suffering, the sting of death gone for all eternity.
And we know of a Person, Who makes all things new and Who brings beauty from ashes.

Oh Lord, take us tho those who have no hope!! Whether they are next door to us or  at the ends of the earth, take us to them that they may hear of the hope You bring!

And as we continue to grieve for our Skye, we continue to be sustained by the Lord Jesus Christ. Day by day and minute by minute.

The One Who brought us thru “The day”, Who walked us thru “The Week”,  Who has taken us thru “The Hours” and will sustain us in “The After…”…

He is faithful.

My Dad is faithful.

The Pain that Reminds me I am not Home: Part 2: THE WEEK.

Google
 I google. And then I google again. And then I google a little bit more.
Deep in my spirit I know googling is not good for me at a time like this. In fact, its bad for me, really bad for me in times such as this.
I ignore my gut.
But that doctor… He didn’t tell me what was going on. I feel like I need to do my research. This is my justification for my constant googling.
So I google. And I ask God, why?
why1
My husband sees my tear stained face and my computer shining in my face.  Tenley, he says so tenderly, stop googling.
He knows what googling can do to me. He’s seen me. He knows me. He sees that I am getting anxious.
He tells me he is checking himself into a walk in clinic. For what? I ask. He’s not sick.
So I can ask them some questions. You stay here with the kids.
My dear dear husband. He knows. He knows I am afraid. And so instead of me checking myself in to ask them for a second opinion of what is going on, he goes and checks himself in.
I am grateful for him. I promise myself I am going to tell him more often how grateful I am for him.
He heads out to the car. I watch and tear up again. And gather my strength. I may not know what is going on with the baby inside me but I have two toddlers who are ready to play hard.
We go for a walk. We talk about colors, and dogs, and trees and leaves and airplanes. We play trucks in the front yard. We have a picnic.
Dirt fills their finger nails.
Grass stains appear on their pants.
Laughter and smiles drown out any tears and uncertainty.
We slurp down a few popsicles.
I  smile. I am having fun. I feel good. For a fleeting moment.
Until I see the car pull in. I remember my circumstance. It comes flooding back.
We may be losing our third child.
He tells me that the walk in clinic didn’t really tell him anything we don’t know. He gets on the phone. He is calling my nurse from that doctor I saw yesterday. She reassures him that everything looked fine and that only time will tell what is going on.
But as a mother and with a mother’s instinct, I knew. I just knew something was not right.
I promised myself that I would not google anymore. In fact, I would not really open my computer this week. I couldn’t.
I pray.
I am angry. I tell God that I am angry. We changed ALL of our plans! We were on our way to South America. We finally got our paperwork after all this time! But 7 days before, we found out about the baby.
We had decided for a few reasons that we would remain in Canada to have the baby. We had made this decision with our supporting churches spread over two different countries and their leadership. And they had unity in the decision- that is how we knew it was from You.
We had sold our car when we thought we were leaving for South America and then we had bought another one  when we found out were were headed back to Canada. They had found and rented us an apartment in Canada already.
My boys are so excited to have a new brother or sister. They talk about the baby all the time. They look at my tummy and kiss it and talk to it and we pray for the baby together. I had already imagined what our life with three kids would be like. I had already gotten a belly band and got the baby their first outfit and had been faithfully taking my prenatal vitamins. This baby was a surprise but we are so excited for it. So so excited. I already announced this baby on all social media.
See–
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We are still getting congratulatory emails.
And now…and now…I can’t even say it. I can’t even pray it. Lord You know everything that is going on. You see all that is going on- with the baby. And with me. I am in literal turmoil. My stomach and my throat feel like they are going to eat me alive.
Lord, please. I beg You, I beg You.
He has two words for me. Two words that I don’t want to hear at this moment.
Trust Me.
I do trust You. Now, tell  me my baby is going to be ok!
Trust Me.
I do. I do. Tell someone else my baby is going to be ok!! Please!!
Trust Me.
I do! I do!
Do I???
I decide to sit in His presence and just shut up.
And He shows me something that would change the course of the next week and my life.
My hope.
Daughter, sweet daughter whom I love, where is your hope?
psalm62.5-6
I think and I pray and I ask God to show me my heart.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it
I, the Lord, search the heart”. —-Jeremiah 17
Show me my true heart, Lord. Not what the ‘good’ answer is but where is my heart right now??
I realize my hope is in the outcome. The outcome of my baby’s life. If my baby is alive, then I will be ok. But if my baby is dying or is dead, I am definitely not ok.
Trust Me, He whispers.
My hope.
It needed to be somewhere else. If it was in my circumstance I might just be crushed soon.
Him. In Him.
In His unchanging character.
My circumstance may change but He is always the same.
I listen.
I listen.
I pray.
Jesus, oh precious Jesus. I am falling apart. I don’t know what to do, but I am looking to You. I am looking to Your unchanging, unfailing, neverending love to consume me so that I have strength to stand no matter what. I feel so out of control. I cannot do anything to save this child.  I am letting go of trying to have control and but as a mother-bear I am jealous for my child. Peace, I need peace.
A few days pass. The lump. The knot. A new constant in my life.
It is the weekend and it is the evening. My three year old and my one year old are falliing asleep. It has been a long day.
It has been a long week. For all of us.
I have wrestled with God. Back and forth. Angry and sad and confused and trying to stay positive.
Sometimes not knowing is just the worst.
I am reading an article. It’s about the peace of God.
It reminds me of a truth that I tend to forget when I am consumed with my circumstance.
My teacher in school used to say-
“Whatever is in your line of sight will consume you…”
Peace and Jesus are not consuming me right now- my circumstance is.
I continue to read.
I don’t need to ask for peace. It is already mine. It is a free gift given to me by the Creater.
John-14-27-NIV1984
I am reminded that the peace that Jesus experienced on earth is mine. Because of His blood, it is mine.
I am reminded  that the same peace He had as He was about to give His life and take on the sins of every person, past, present and future, is mine.
That is the same peace offered to me, given to me by Him the moment I first believed.
I just have to grab hold of it.
I decide to take it. Why shouldn’t I? It’s mine.
I choose to lose the turmoil and to take the gift of peace.
 God is using this little baby of mine to teach me a thing or two about Him and about life.
The lump is disappearing and the knot dissipates. Instead, calm.
I clutch my swelling stomach and I thank Him for my baby. That no matter what happens, I am this baby’s mother. Their only mother. And they are my little one. I am so thankful that I have that privilege of carrying my baby for however long. I pray that my baby is ok.
I don’t know what is going to happen but no matter  what, Lord, I am placing my trust in You. We are in this together. Walking together.
I pray.
I rest.
Peace.
For the first time in a week-peace. A peace that I cannot understand.
Google, the furthest thing from my mind.
I fall asleep in perfect rest, physically and spiritually.
God in His perfect timing and infinite wisdom knew I would need this because tomorrow would bring me my answer.
To be continued…

 

The Pain that Reminds me I am not Home: Part 1: THE DAY.

I cannot not wait. I see the clock, it’s way too early to get up. But I cannot contain myself. This is going to be the best day! I had been eagerly awaiting this day. Counting it down on my calender.

Did I have a paper chain? Maybe.

paper-chain-1

I get up. I get coffee. I get in the Word. I read over Ephesians 3. My friend and I are memorizing a verse so I write it down a bunch of times to memorize.

Did I ‘rap’ it too? Maybe.

ephesians3_16

Wow.

His

Glorious.

Unlimited.

Resources.

Empowering me.

With Inner Strength.

Little did I know that this very verse would be the gift from God that I needed above all else this week.

I get the kids and husband up. Feed them. Coffee them,well just coffee the husband.

It’s time.

We climb into the car. It’s raining.

Hard.

I hate driving in this kind of downpour but today I don’t care. 

rain on the windshield

Today we get to see our new baby. So nothing else can ruin my day. Especially rain.

I am so excited. My husband is too. Even though he doesn’t say it, I know he is.  

We remind the kids where we are going and our three year old is telling us that he is so happy to see the baby in my stomach. “Can the baby come out now, Mom? Does the baby want to play Lightning McQueen with me and go racing?? “.

The rain pounds. My husband mentions he wishes we had a tin roof with this kind of rain.

We get to the doctors office and because this is where we are, we wait….

And we wait….

My kids sit at the kids play area. They get bored with the two toys that are there in about two minutes. They grab a hundred business cards and dump them all over the floor. My husband and I try to keep them occupied.

I remember I had filled my purse with something they would really want and this was the perfect time to pull them out.

Snacks. Snacks that will save this room from looking like a tornado hit it.

They eat quietly. I heave a sigh or relief, sit down, and pick up a parenting magazine with an adorable gerber baby on the front. Mine will be cuter.Hopefully with an afro like I had when I was little.

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I start dreaming of who this little person will be. What their personality will be like, what they will look like, what their first cry will sound like…

My name is called, interupting my daydream.

I go back thru the door. Do the usual pregnancy appointment stuff. The nurse and I talk. She signs me up for all these emails for discounts on stuff. Usually I don’t sign up for these things but she made it sound really good and today I didn’t care. I was going to see our baby. That’s all I really cared about.

My doctor came in. My regular doctor was out this month so I had someone I didn’t know.

He said the baby looked fine. He said how many weeks the baby was. But he was wrong according to my count. He was off by a long shot.Maybe he was just seeing the screen incorrectly. He looks again. The baby was measuring alot smaller than I thought it should be. I tell him that.  He tells me I must have calculated wrong. Ok well, I guess he is the doctor, but…

But I had a bad feeling about this.. Oh no…

I knew how far along I was so something must be wrong. He didn’t seem to think so. He seemed to think I was wrong. He says everything looks good and smiles. He says since I need another C-section that he can give me a tummy tuck too at that time if I want.

Hmm, thanks??

I ask him about the size of my baby. He says, well, if you are right about the babys age, which he still doesn’t think I am and tells me so, then either the baby is a little behind in their growth and would catch up soon or, (throwing out the term casually) I may be having a ‘missed miscarriage’. If I was right about the baby’s age, I could be having one of these.

A missed what?  What does that mean? And by the way, you probably shouldn’t just casually throw out that term to a pregnant lady unless you know for sure whats going on. But I’m not the doctor…

And now he won’t answer my questions because he thinks I don’t need to worry because, like he said before, I am wrong about my calculations.

Oh no. Oh no.

What was happening? What does this mean? Did the baby stop growing? Is the baby ok? 

I asked another question, a fog surrounds me. I feel like everything is going in slow motion. My husband asks a question. I zone out.

Confusion. A headache is coming on. 

Everything spins for a second.

I look over at my three year old. We had prepped him all week for this and now he wanted to see the baby, but you can’t really see much on the screen but a dot. And the doctor is turning the machine off. My son’s eyes lock on mine. I think he can see the fear in my face. 

I look down.

Please Lord, Oh please Lord, help me to be strong – “I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources that He will empower you with inner strength thru His spirit.”

Thank you, Spirit for reminding me of this in this exact moment. I need this. I pray it again.

I believe Him at His Word- that He can do this. That He has the unlimited resources to do this, to empower me, with inner strength. I believe that His power will be made perfect in my utter and inexplicable weakness.

He can do this, even in this terrifying moment.

The doctor keeps talking. Wah-wah-wah- I am not really hearing anything he is saying.

He tells me to set an appointment for two weeks out so he can measure the growth of the baby again.

He’s not answering my questions and he keeps making jokes. I am thinking, this is not the time for jokes.  But instead I smile, gather my strength,  and say, “Ok I will see you in two weeks.”

I never saw the man again.

And little did I know that this would be a day I would never forget, for it would change the course of my life, forever.

To be continued…