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Friday, June 8, 2012

Fiction Friday - ONE MORE TIME, Chapter 48A - Jesus

CHAPTER 48 – SEPTEMBER, 30 CE – JESUS

Tamara had another bad night, as did Paul and Sarah. He helplessly watched her slide downhill, just as had happened before. Tamara weakened more each day, she didn’t play, she wasn’t hungry, and she slept most of every day. He had made Tamara another doll for her birthday yesterday, and she acted excited about it for maybe five minutes.

Dorcas and Hamath understood, and they had Shalisha prepare meals while Sarah stayed with Tamara. After he prepared the lessons for the other children, Paul hurried back to check on them. It would be the Sabbath again tomorrow and the third meeting with the group of former slaves. He didn’t think Tamara should go even if she did nothing but sit, and neither of them wanted to be more than a few steps away from her.

What if she needed them, or if she should go away with her friend, Jesus, again? As before, each moment with her seemed too precious to miss.

Tamara woke up from yet another nap just before noon. “Jesus said He will be here today,” she said.

Sarah shot an anxious look at Paul.

“Is—is He going to take you through another windy net?” Sarah asked.

“I don’t know. He said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll be there today.’ I don’t know why He said ‘don’t worry’ though, ‘cause I’m not worrying.”

“You don’t have to worry, Tammy, I’m doing enough for both of us.” Sarah brushed a lock of hair back from her little one’s face.

“Mama, don’t worry. Jesus is coming. Everything will be okay.”

“How about Papa? Is it okay if I worry?” Paul asked.

“Oh, Papa, you’re so funny,” Tamara giggled, almost sounding like her old self. “Papas don’t worry!”

Oh, sure. Papas are always calm, cool, and collected—NOT! Paul ran fingers through his hair.

Tammy grew serious. “You have to go see him tomorrow, Mama. Jesus wants to talk to you.”

Her eyebrows lifted straight up. “Jesus wants to talk to me?” Sarah squeaked.

“Why does Jesus want to talk to Mama?” Paul asked. “Will Jesus be at the meeting?”

“I think that’s what He meant,” Tamara said. “He didn’t say where. He just said He wanted to talk to you tomorrow.”

“Then we should take you there,” Paul said. “Even I remember the stories where He is supposed to have healed people. I didn’t use to believe in the stories—I thought they were myths—but after seeing the Man who gave me the choice between a squashed car and seeing you two again and after other stuff I’m hearing, I think I’m changing my whole outlook on the subject of Jesus. Yes, I think we’ll all go see Him. Or better yet, invite Him here.”

“Papa, you’re s’posed to stay here with me when Mama goes to talk to Him.”

“I don’t understand why you don’t want to go, or rather why He wouldn’t want you to go see Him,” Sarah said. “If He is going to be at the meeting we should take you there to see Him. He might be able to help you get over these fevers. I just don’t understand,” she said.

“Me neither, Mama.” Tamara said. “I’m thirsty, though. Would you make me some more juice?”

“I’ll get some for you. Do you want to come with me?”

“No, it’s too far to walk ‘cause I’m tired. Can I stay home with Papa?”

“Okay, Tammy. I’ll go get you some juice. I’ll hurry, too.”

Good as her word, Sarah was back in record time, with not only some fresh-squeezed juice, but also some chicken, cheese, bread, and milk, enough for the three of them. Tamara ate very little, but drank the juice.

This was their mid-day meal, and Paul left after lunch to lead the other children through their Greek lessons. His morning lessons had been brief, and he had left the children with enough to keep them busy until he returned in the afternoon. Dorcas, Hamath, and Benoni often checked on the children to make sure they were working and not playing.

After he dismissed the children, Paul returned to the house. He peeked in at the sleeping child, then returned to Sarah in their room. “I’m going to go see Jonas. He might know something about Jesus’ plans to visit Tyre. On the other hand, if Jonas doesn’t know, I can tell him that Jesus will be here tomorrow.”

Paul chuckled. “Funny, isn’t it? We accept without question a little girl’s announcement that Jesus is coming to visit.”

Sarah nodded. “True. And good idea. Jesus’ presence could make the meeting tomorrow pretty exciting, couldn’t it?

Paul’s eyes twinkled. “That’s putting it mildly.”

When he reached the marketplace, he went directly to Jonas shop. There were no other people around his shop, so Paul could speak to him interruption. “Hi Jonas, how is business?”

“Shalom, Paul. Business is good, my friend, very good. God has blessed me, and there is not one thing I can complain about. How is Tamara?”

“Not well, I’m afraid. She weakens. The fevers and convulsions don’t just come at night any more—the fever never goes away, and she has convulsions a few times every day and several more each night. Sarah’s feeling the strain—her eyes have deep circles under them, because she doesn’t get enough rest. Worse, most of the other servants say Tamara’s demon possessed, I guess because she has so many convulsions. She had one in the middle of the courtyard yesterday. Before she was through convulsing, everyone in the household was gathered around her.”

“I suspect you also don’t sleep well, my friend. Your eyes also tell the tale of your sleeplessness. If it’s any consolation, we’re praying for her many times a day.”

“We pray, too, but Tamara just keeps getting worse. However, she tells us not to worry because Jesus is coming soon. In fact, she says He’ll be here today.”

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