It was a day like any other day. But in it began the final countdown to the destruction of the Earth and all left in it. Those who heeded the first warning had no need of a second, and those who did not heed the first would not heed a second. All that needed to be announced had already been announced - there was nothing left to say. So the day passed unheralded - but not unnoticed...
By D.J. Ludlow
As the seemingly endless crowd drifted easily and steadily down the hospital corridor Ruth marvelled at how smoothly and quickly a crowd can move when everyone was kind, considerate and well behaved. For the life of her Ruth could never understand why people insisted on jostling and stampeding like a herd of wild animals whenever they needed to move as a crowd. Up ahead a voice she did not recognise spoke up. “Boy! It looks like this kid’s got a whole host of visitors.” The witty play on words was not lost on the crowd and a wave of good natured laughter washed back along the hallway. Behind her another voice spoke up. “We’re so packed in you couldn’t fit a pin in here.” A collective light-hearted groan backwashed up the corridor at yet another “pin” joke. A small giggle escaped Ruth’s lips. “Well it was funny,” she thought to herself. The mood in the corridor lifted noticeably and Ruth realised that she was not alone in that inner turmoil of emotion that is evoked when occasions of great joy conspire to coincide with occasions of great sorrow. Ruth’s mood brightened even further when she realised she was nearly at the door of the room that was the focus of this momentous occasion. Just how momentous was brought home to Ruth as she glanced back down the still crowded corridor stretching off into the distance, conscious that the crowd continued on around the corner at the far end. It was incredible to see so many here. Normally they would all be off on separate assignments both here and abroad. But here today they had come from all over the world just to catch even just a brief a glimpse of this one special assignment. “And why not,” thought Ruth as she pondered the moment, “after this there would be no new assignments. It is fitting that we all can take away at least a little share of this last one, however brief.”
As she crammed through the door with several others at once she gave a little chuckle. Drawing quizzical looks she smiled. “Was just thinking about that pin episode – it’s times like this that you wished they were right!” An appreciative chuckle to yet another in a very, very long line of “pin” jokes informed her that this was one they really could appreciate in the moment. Ruth found herself at the end of a standard hospital bed in a less than standard hospital room, transfixed as always by the miracle of childbirth as she gazed in unashamed adoration at mother and child. It was as if the mother glowed in the reflection of the pure, fresh, almost translucent countenance of the newborn baby girl in her arms. Ruth never ceased to be amazed by the miracle of a newly created soul, but this one was something special. Ruth reluctantly moved over to the window to make room for others to have a look, unable to bring herself to leave just yet.
Janelle was oblivious to the crowd filing slowly through the room. Her eyes never left her newest child in her arms, or her dear, devoted husband almost asleep from his all-day, all-night bedside vigil. She smiled as his sleep-deprived mind visibly struggled to bring his thoughts into focus. “Oh, sorry hon. kind of drifted off there for a moment,” he grinned wearily “Yeah, called your parents and mine earlier while you were still under from the surgery. The kids are fine and your mum and dad will bring them in around ten’ish. They can’t wait to meet ... Brianna.” The name rolled reverently off his tongue like he was savouring the excellence of a very fine wine. They had decided on the name weeks ago but the complications with the pregnancy had been so serious that neither could bring themselves to say her name out loud, afraid of the heartache had things not worked out. But the doctors had battled tirelessly to bring both mother and child to full term and a healthy birth. They all knew that this would be Janelle’s last, her body damaged and ravaged beyond any further chance of childbirth. It was as if something malevolent had put all its effort into preventing this birth, thankfully in vain. But with their other three healthy children only Brianna’s safe arrival mattered. With her they knew their family would be complete. That almost instinctive parental sense that “these, and only these, are given to us as our family”. Janelle’s gaze returned to the tiny miracle in her arms. Only moments before Brianna’s eyes had been wandering all over the room, looking at what, Janelle could only imagine. Now she lay, eyes closed, peacefully asleep in the complete security and comfort that only a mother’s arms can give. A tender smile played on Janelle’s lips, catching its own reflection in her eyes. “You may be our lastborn,” she whispered gently, “but you are as loved and precious as our firstborn”.
Ruth stood by the window looking down into the hectic main street below. Busy people leading busy lives, oblivious to the momentous event unfolding in this tiny hospital room. She wanted to fling open the window and shout “can you not understand – this is the Lastborn? Can you not stop long enough to read the signs of the times? Can you not lift your eyes up to see destiny on the horizon?” She wanted to run down that street, grabbing and shaking everyone she met. Stare them in the eye and and shout “Wake up! Can you not see it is vanity - it is all vanity?” A single tear cascaded down her left cheek. She new it would be a futile exercise. Many others had shouted in times past, louder than she ever could, and His children valiantly bore witness all day long, desperately searching out any who would hear, but it made no difference to those who chose not to hear, who chose not to see. “It is true ,” she thought resignedly, “there is none so blind as those who will not see.” Ruth looked down into the street once more. “Yes,” she whispered under her breath, “it will be a day just like this. People going about their daily lives one minute, standing before His judgement seat the next. They will keep their eyes tightly shut to reality to the very end and will simply not see it coming.”
She turned away from the window. The room was empty now except for the humans. She watched Janelle lovingly looking down at Brianna sleeping peacefully in her arms. Even they were blissfully unaware of who Brianna was for the choice Brianna must eventually make, will eventually make, must be her choice alone, for such is the nature of free will. But, for them, it did not matter for they kept themselves always prepared, eyes firmly open to reality. They had chosen to hear, chosen to see. When the time came they would be ready. Ruth looked on at mother and child, at the father’s gentle and protective gaze, at the love, almost palpable in its presence. “So much like the Firstborn,” she mused, “and loved just as much.”
Ruth stood a little while longer, drinking in the moment, unable to take her eyes off Brianna’s angelic beauty. Brianna, the lastborn of the Lord’s children. One day in the not too distant future, perhaps as a teenager, perhaps as a young woman, only the Lord knew for sure, Brianna would make a momentous decision to give her life to the Lord. To accept Him as her Spiritual Father. And as she rises from the Baptismal waters the last of His children will have come of age and that long awaited day will finally come when He will gather up His family to be with Him, and this Earth will be no more. As in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot those who are left will not see it coming. But in the midst of their very busy lives, their tight schedules, and their headlong pursuit of comfort, of pleasure and of happiness it will all come to nothing but a waste of time – a vanity. “Yes it will be a time of great sadness,” Ruth admitted to herself, “but also a time of great joy, a wonderful coming together of the Lord and His children in the newness of eternity together,” she added as she watched Brianna asleep in her mother’s embrace. Ruth’s emotions did battle once more as she turned back to the window – and stepped through it. “So much to do, and so little time left in which to do it,” she grimaced wryly as she prepared to follow the rest of the Heavenly Host now rapidly dispersing to be about their appointed tasks. It had been a brief time of gathering but the divine power that emanated from that rippling ocean of white, stretching as far as she could see, charged the very air around her. Most had already left but it was still an impressive - and formidable - sight. “Boy! Are they sure going to get a surprise,” Ruth smiled, “How many Angels could fit on the head of a pin indeed! I couldn’t even fit my little toenail on the head of a pin.”
Much as Ruth would have loved to stay and protect Brianna that task had been assigned to another Guardian Angel. She blew a kiss to Brianna before turning to go, “Must go for now, but you will see me soon - and that is a promise I know He will keep for the both of us.”
D.J. Ludlow Copyright 2004.