Inviting Light

It was the dead middle of January and dark outside by 4:30. With the sun down, the air would be frigid in no time. We were covered with snow and more predicted on the way. I was in bed by 7:30 under multiple blankets to try to stop the chills. My temperature felt like it was shooting up, and the pressure in my eyes was excruciating. All I could do was lay there and drink sips through a straw. Somehow moving anything brought on the spinning, so I spent the day drifting in and out. I managed to change scenery and sit elsewhere momentarily, but then it was back to my room, where relief seemed to be waiting. The only escape was to surrender to sleep.

I thought I heard a strange sound near my bedroom door that I had left half open. I opened my eyes, thinking it was one of my dogs trying to figure out what was going on with me. That is when the same peculiar noise came again. Closer. Whispery and constricted, it seemed as if someone was choking. I sat up a little more. I wondered if my daughter heard this. The tv volume in the living room was down low not to disturb me. From my vantage point, I should have been able to see her in the other room. Closer now, the raspy voice drifted to my ears again. A single word finally made sense.

“Mom!”

That was all it took for me to be in an upright position. I flipped on the light to investigate. My daughter was in a mid crawl trying to tell me something but pure terror had overtaken her speaking ability.

“What is going on?” I said, trying not to fall over from the dizziness that was coming on quick.

“Someone is on the porch! I saw a face in the window looking in at me.”

She was breathing so fast I could hardly understand her. I wanted this to be a fever dream! The reality of what she just said left me feeling a bit weaker.

One of my underlying concerns was the addition on the back of my house and that someone would come in and be at the sliding glass door. I knew I had some time because I always locked that entry and put a bar across for extra security.

“I was sitting on the couch and felt like someone was there. I turned my head and saw a face. I don’t even know if this is real! It was this pure white face like a ghost!”

I grabbed my phone and stumbled toward the kitchen. Why had I not put up the drapes I should have years ago? I slowly peered around the corner. Sure enough, a wild eyed girl was staring at me through the glass. The lights were off behind her, but I could see her face. Seeing me, she started to knock slowly and pleaded to come in.

I was thinking,…not on your life, sister! I had just read an article about an elderly man nearby who fell for the same scheme. A pathetic looking young woman showed up at his house asking for help, and when he let her in, a man with a gun beat him nearly to death and robbed him.

The little bit of space between her and me was going to stay intact.

“I’m going to get you some help.” I held up my phone to show her that I was trying to assist her. She started rambling.

“Please let me in. They threw me out of the car, they took my phone, and I have nothing but my purse.”

She proceeded to take a small handbag and dump the contents on the floor. She got down on her knees and rummaged through the pile of junk in front of her.

“I’m not going to let you in, but I’m calling for help right now!”

She angrily looked at me and started calling me a bunch of names I won’t repeat. Including who she thought I supported for the President of the United States. Yep, she definitely was not coming in.

“911. What’s your emergency?”

“There’s a person on my porch needing assistance, and she wants to come in. I have been sick today with the flu and was in bed, and I am not sure what is going on with her.”

I described in detail what was unfolding before my unbelieving eyes.

“Are you taking any medications for your illness? Are you hallucinating?”

What?

“No! Really, a person is talking crazy on my porch right now.”

“Okay. We will send someone over.”

I kept my eyes on my surprise guest as she went from sobbing to cursing to laughing hysterically.

“Help is coming,” I said. This brought on another berating of my character and how awful I was.

“You hate people!” She screamed.

By now, my whole house had every light on, and all occupants were fully aware that we had a weird situation going on. I noticed a trickle of sweat come down my face. Adrenaline is your best friend, as all of my symptoms had momentarily disappeared.

Angrily, she stood up, grabbed a stray towel that had been left outside, and wrapped it around her head like a turban. Turning, she made her exit into my backyard and began running through the snowbanks. That’s when I heard car doors slamming near my driveway.

I opened the front door to see three police officers walking up.

“She’s out in the back!” The wind had picked up, and light snow was beginning.

They took off running with their hands on their holsters.

I went to see what was about to take place. Two of them jumped the fence and started chasing her. It looked like they were playing a game of slippery tag. Somehow, one caught up to her, and she seemed to let him willingly.

The other officer came up to the porch. He had a notepad and pen to take down my name and other incidentals. He kept glancing at the front of my shirt.

“We didn’t believe someone was here. We thought you were high on drugs when you called in.”

“Why?” I said, totally taken off guard. “I have the flu and have a fever, and I’m not seeing things.”

I looked down at the gigantic sweat stain that had appeared like I had gone into the shower with my clothes on. Apparently, my fever took this opportunity to break.

“We believe you now. The girl is 16 years old, and from what she said, she was with friends in a car, they stopped and left her here. They took her phone, so she was wandering looking for help. You are the only person who went through all this trouble. She knocked on doors, but no one would help her. There are some pretty heavy substances in her system, so we are taking her into the emergency room for evaluation. Could you unlock one of the gates so we can get her to a safe place?”

I told him I would. I changed out of my drenched shirt and threw on another. My head was buzzing loudly as I stepped into the cold night to get this over. I watched them handcuff her and made her get into the squad car’s backseat. All of her energy seemed to have been spent, and I hoped this would never happen to her again.

As I watched them drive away, I wondered why she had gone through all the trouble of jumping the fence when she could have kept trying doorbells? I walked around to my backyard and looked up toward the porch. Clearly, I could see the kitchen light.

I heard in my mind: She was drawn to your house because of the light.

I looked around at all the other houses, closed up and dark for the night.

Matthew 5:14 says: You are the light of the world.

Isn’t that the point of our existence? Aren’t we here to offer a kind word, a smile, and encouragement to someone who is downcast? The timing of this person’s appearance wasn’t the greatest, but I found the strength to get her into the hands of people offering shelter. We are called not to add to the frigid darkness but to radiate God’s warm, inviting light.

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