By Linda Porter Carlyle
MacKenzie Isabelle Evans edged closer to the telephone so she could hear what Mom was saying.
“Oh! That’s too bad! I’m really sorry! No, it’s no problem at all. I’m glad to help out,” Mom said into the phone.
As Mac watched, Mom rummaged in a drawer for a piece of paper and a pen. She scribbled something down. Mac listened as she repeated a phone number back to the person on the other end of the telephone line.
“OK,” Mom said. “I’ll go over there and get things ready. I’ll call you back in a little while.” She hung up.
“What’s the matter?” Mac asked quickly.
Mom pulled out a chair and sat down at the kitchen table. “That was our neighbor, Mrs. Robertson. You know she’s been in the hospital this week for surgery.”
“Sure!” Mac interrupted. “We’ve been praying for her.”
“Well,” Mom continued, “she’s ready to go home now. Her daughter from Cincinnati is coming to take care of her until she gets on her feet, but her daughter can’t get a plane yet because of the bad snow storms they’re having back there.” Mom took a breath. “So, Mrs. Robertson’s daughter is stuck in Ohio, and Mrs. Robertson is coming home from the hospital this afternoon. And she needs somebody to take care of her. I told her I’d be happy to stay with her until her daughter can get here.”
“You mean you’re going right now?” Mac wailed. “And you’re going to stay there all night?”
“Yes,” Mom answered. “I’m going over right now to turn on the heat and warm the house up and put clean sheets on the bed. An ambulance is bringing Mrs. Robertson home in a couple of hours. I’ll fix her supper and stay with her until her daughter gets here. I might need to be there for a couple of days.”
“But I don’t want you to sleep at Mrs. Robertson’s!” Mac exclaimed. “I want you to be here with me!”
Mom laughed. “Dad will be here. He can take you to school in the mornings, and in the afternoons, you can come over to Mrs. Robertson’s and be with us. I’m not exactly leaving you all alone, you know.”
“I know! But it’s not the same!” Mac complained. “And you told me you would take me to the mall this afternoon,” she went on. “I was really, really looking forward to it! You told me I could get black velvet pants today! You promised!”
Mom frowned. “I can’t believe what I’m hearing!” she said sternly. She pointed to the chair at the end of the table. “Sit down right there. I’m going to go put my toothbrush and pajamas and things in an overnight bag. And when I come back, I expect your attitude to be a lot less selfish!”
Mac slumped into the chair as Mom left the room. It wasn’t fair! She had been waiting forever for Mom to take her shopping. There probably wouldn’t even be any black velvet pants in her size left in the whole mall by the time she finally got there! And she didn’t like it when Mom wasn’t home at night. Mom was supposed to be home! What if she got a stomachache? What if her loose tooth came out and she accidentally swallowed it? What if she fell out of bed, flat on her nose, and got a nosebleed? Would Dad know how to stop a nosebleed?
Suddenly Mac giggled. She had never fallen out of bed before in her life. It could happen. But it probably wouldn’t, she had to admit. She sighed. Maybe she was being selfish. OK, she was being selfish. But she really did want to go shopping today! She’d been counting on it! And she really did want Mom to be home!
Mac heard Mom’s footsteps coming back down the stairs and through the hallway. She stopped in the kitchen doorway. “How’s the attitude?” she asked.
“Maybe I am being selfish,” Mac said softly. “I’m sorry.”
Mom smiled. “You know I would try to help any of our neighbors who needed it,” she said. “But I think it’s especially important that I help out Mrs. Robertson.”
“Why?” Mac asked.
“Because Mrs. Robertson doesn’t know Jesus,” Mom answered.
Mac thought for a minute. “Then it’s like my Sabbath School lesson, only backwards!” she exclaimed.
“What?” Mom asked.
Mac sat up straight. “In my lesson, some men brought their sick friend to Jesus. But you’re going to bring Jesus to your sick friend!”
Mom laughed. “You got it!” she said. She opened the pantry and looked around.
“What are you looking for?” Mac asked.
“I think maybe I’d better take some food with me,” Mom answered. “I don’t know what Mrs. Robertson has in her cupboards or when she was able to go shopping last.” She set a jar of home-canned tomatoes on the table. Then she pulled a couple potatoes out of a big brown paper bag. “I think I’ll make a pot of vegetable soup. That should be good for someone just home from the hospital.”
“And you won’t even have to make a hole in the roof,” Mac said.
“I beg your pardon?” Mom said, startled.
“The friends had to make a hole in the roof and lower the sick man down to get him to Jesus,” Mac explained. “You won’t have to make a hole in the roof when you take Jesus to Mrs. Robertson. You can just go in the door!”
Mom laughed. “I’m sure Mrs. Robertson will appreciate that!”