By Linda Porter Carlyle
MacKenzie Isabelle Evans stood with her nose pressed against the window of the back door. She hopped impatiently up and down. “When will he get here?” she asked Mom for about the seventeenth time. “Shouldn’t he be here by now?”
“Mac!” Mom spoke sternly. “Stop asking me that question! You father will be here when he gets here! And I can’t tell you exactly when that will be except that it will be soon!”
Mac twirled around the kitchen. “I know. I’m sorry!” she apologized. “I just can’t wait to tell him my news! Don’t you think he’s going to be excited? I’m excited! I’ve never seen a real, live hero before! I can’t wait!”
Mom looked at Mac and laughed. She opened the oven to stick a fork into the baking potatoes to see if they were done. “I’m know you’re excited! Even your hair looks excited,” she said. “It’s a good thing you didn’t find out until today that Michael Allen will be visiting your school tomorrow. If you had known he was coming and had had to wait more than one day to see him, you probably would have burst. And that would be an ugly sight!” she added with a twinkle in her eye.
“Mom! Ugh!” Mac wrinkled her nose. “That’s disgusting! Oh! Dad’s home!” She threw open the door and sailed off the porch. “Guess what! Guess what! Guess who’s coming to my school tomorrow!” she shouted as she ran across the grass.
Mom watched through the window as Mac’s dad stepped out of his patrol car and braced himself for the giant bear hug that was coming. Mac ran straight into him at full speed and threw her arms around him. Dad picked Mac up and swung her in a circle before he set her back down.
Mom watched Mac trot backwards in front of her father as they headed toward the house. She could hear her voice through the open kitchen door. “Michael Allen is coming to school tomorrow! I can hardly believe it!” she heard Mac say. Mom smiled to herself. She turned off the oven and set the bowl of salad on the table.
Mac and Dad climbed the porch steps and entered the kitchen. Mac was still talking. “He’ll tell us all about how he saw that van crash off that bridge into that lake and sink in the water. He’ll tell us all about how he dove in and pulled that woman out of the van and saved her life! And how he had to dive in the water again to get her baby and rescue him!” Mac took a deep breath. “I’ve never met a famous hero before! I wonder if he will look like his picture in the newspaper. Sometimes people don’t, you know.”
Dad pulled one of Mac’s red curls. He leaned over and kissed his wife. “Michael Allen is coming to Mac’s school tomorrow,” he told her. “Have you heard?”
“Oh, Dad! Stop teasing me!” Mac protested.
Dad leaned against the counter and put his arm around Mom’s waist. They watched Mac dance across the kitchen. “I’m so excited!” she exclaimed. “I can’t wait! I’ve never met anyone who really, truly rescued somebody before!”
“You have one of the worst cases of hero worship I’ve ever seen,” Dad commented.
Mac stood still. “Is that a bad thing?” she asked. A tiny worried frown creased her forehead.
“Not necessarily,” Dad answered. “Michael Allen is a true hero. He did a very brave and heroic thing. He saved two people’s lives, and you should look up to him. But think about this. The excitement you feel about seeing Michael Allen tomorrow is nothing compared to the excitement you should feel about seeing your Real Hero one day.”
Mac tipped her head to one side. “You mean Jesus, right?” she asked. “Sometimes I forget to be excited about seeing Him,” she admitted. “I mean when I think about going to heaven and all, I get excited. But I forget to think about it every day, I guess.”
“Maybe we should talk about Jesus and His coming back to get us more often,” Mom suggested. “It is the one thing we should be most excited about because it really is going to happen! Jesus really is going to come back and rescue us, and it really is going to happen soon!”
Mac spread her arms wide and twirled in two complete circles. She stopped in front of her parents. “I’ve got so much to look forward to!” she exclaimed.