Robby's Easter Miracle
"Chad. Are you looking out the window again?"
"Yes, I like the view out of this window. I was noticing that the sun was particularly bright today. For me this window is like a view of our home and family. I feel warm when I'm here. I think that this window has a magic to it that always brings a smile to my face."
"Sometimes I think you're a hopeless romantic."
"I probably am, but that's ok, right?"
"Yes, as long as you're with me and still love me, you can be the romantic partner."
Troy was a smart man, he loved Chad and if looking out a window made him happy, then he could look out that window 24/7.
"Dad, are coming to our school play"
"Of course Andrew, Dad C and I wouldn't miss it. It's tomorrow night, right?"
"Yes, it starts at 7 o'clock."
"Good, go and remind Dad C. He tends to forget things."
Every since we adopted Andrew and his sister, Susan, they have referred to Chad and myself as Dad C and Dad T. I guess in a family where there are two men, the kids have to come up with a system to distinguish us. If this works for them, it certainly will work for us.
School will be out this Thursday for the Easter break. The family will go to church at noon on Friday as its Good Friday and then we'll go and visit Andrew and Susan's mother and dad's grave. Chad ordered some Easter lilies for the kids to put on their grave. This'll be hard on the children. Their dad, Dave, joined their mother 2 years ago after suffering quite a bit. It was a blessing to see the end of his suffering but it was hard on the children even knowing that this was going to happen.
The school play was excellent. The actors did a splendid job and we thought Andrew was the star. Fathers' pride, I guess.
We let the kids sleep in till 9 o'clock. Chad began breakfast for the kids and me. I asked Chad one time why he didn't eat breakfast or anything till after 3 o'clock. He told me that in his family they'd fast on Good Friday till 3 and then they would break the fast but would not eat any meat or food that originated in an animal. When I asked him what he ate, he said they ate fish cooked in olive oil with fresh vegetables; his mother would sauté the vegetables in olive oil and garlic. He never imposed this diet and custom on any of us, he understood that this was his way and didn't feel it was right to press his customs on other people. The amazing thing was that this didn't cause any friction between us. I respected Chad's customs and accepted them when I accepted him.
The children came downstairs rubbing their eyes, Andrew in shorts and a t-shirt and Susan in here pajamas. Chad had their orange juice ready and a bowl of their favorite cereal. He made the sweet rolls that I liked. Andrew took one when he finished his cereal, but Susan really wanted to go back to bed.
"OK kids, go and shower and get dressed. We have to go and pick up the flowers for your parents resting place." Chad always thought the term grave was too morbid. Resting place, for him, had a different connotation.
In 30 minutes the kids came down dressed for church and each held a note for their parents. Somehow in the last two years, Chad convinced the kids to write a short note to their parents and to leave them with the flowers. Remember I said Chad was a romantic.
You would think it would be hard for two children to sit in church from 12 to 3, but that wasn't the case. I'm not sure what Andrew and Susan were thinking during the service, but I'm sure their thoughts revolved around their parents. Susan sang the hymns beautifully, after the service many of the congregation came up to tell her she had a beautiful voice.
Upon leaving the church, Andrew noticed a young boy who was sitting on the church lawn. "Andrew, do you know who that is?"
"No Dad. But I've seen him at school. He's usually by himself. He isn't in any of my classes. I don't know if he's a junior or senior."
Chad just looked at the boy; I followed his eyes and also saw the boy. He was dressed in what I would call play clothes. He appeared to be clean so I figured he was just a neighborhood boy.
We went to the cemetery to deliver our flowers and notes. We stayed there for about 30 minutes. I noticed that Andrew and Susan were moving their lips as if they were talking to someone. Occasionally they would shake their head 'yes' or 'no'.
On the way home, Andrew and Susan hugged each of us whispering "I love you" in our ears. If I wasn't a skeptic, I'd actually believe that they talked to their parents who told them they were lucky to find a loving home. Of course Chad, being a romantic, believed all things were possible.
Whenever, we discussed his beliefs, he would remind me of the angel who brought two joys into our lives. I found this hard to defend against, so as I accepted Chad into my life, I accepted him wholeheartedly, faults, beliefs and all that goes with it.
Dinner that evening was baked fish with fresh vegetables and a salad. There were rolls and butter for anyone who wanted them as well as a butter sauce for the vegetables. Of course, Chad had put aside some vegetables without the butter sauce for himself. Andrew noticed the difference and wanted to try some of Chad's vegetables. He took a bite and asked what was on them.
"I use a very fine grade of olive oil and a little bit of sea salt. Do you like it?"
"It's ok, but I think I like the butter sauce better."
"That's fine. Olive oil, at least this quality, takes a while to like."
Hearing what Andrew said, there was no way Susan was going to give it a try. I just sat there watching the whole thing thinking how accommodating Chad was. He prepared the meal for us and was able to join us without breaking his customs.
Later that evening, you could see the wheels turning in Andrew's head. He sat beside Chad watching TV but he had his brow scrunched up as if he was in deep thought.
"Dad, why don't you eat till after 3 and then no meat or products from animals?
I noticed Susan's head popped up when Andrew asked his question.
"Well Andrew, you know what Good Friday represents. From early morning until He died on the cross, He was tortured and then made to carry His cross to the site where He would be crucified. When I think of the suffering and pain that He went through, I try to bring it into my life by not eating till after 3 when He died. I avoid meat because it's a result of killing an animal and meat products, like butter and milk, generally because there's the possibility of having some miniscule protein from the animal in those product. It's something I do to bring me closer to God and to help me identify with His suffering. Of course there's no way I'll ever understand what He went through but it gives me an idea. I guess in my way, I feel I'm part of His agony. That's why I don't eat till after 3. Do you understand now?"
"Yes, I need to think about it some more and maybe read about those events. But I'm glad you explained it to me."
Andrew wasn't the only one who had to think about it. Chad may have something there and I should think about it as well. I knew there's no way we could ever experience the crucifixion even if we were nailed to the cross. The pain yes, but the desolation of being forgotten by your father, we could never relate to that feeling.
Easter Sunday was a beautiful morning. The sun was just breaking over the horizon and the slight breeze brought the spring smells. Chad had gotten up early to attend Sunrise services. He was also going to help Pastor hide Easter eggs for the little kids to find after the Easter service.
I got the kids up just as Chad returned from church. While they were getting dressed, I went downstairs to help Chad with breakfast. I could smell the pancakes as I entered the kitchen.
"How was sunrise service?"
"It was great. When Susan gets a little older, we'll go as a family. There were quite a few people there but I didn't see any kids, it's a site to see that sun break the horizon. The colors that are flashed upon the sky before you actually see the sun are beautiful. You have an appreciation of the work that went into the creation of this world we call earth."
"What smells good?
"Pancakes. Would you please pour yours and Susan's orange juice?"
"Good morning, Susan. Are you ready for some pancakes?"
"Yes, they smell really good. Did you put chocolate chips in them?
"Yes, just for you."
"Hey! I like chocolate chips as well."
Chad placed a plate of pancakes on the table along with butter, maple syrup and sliced strawberries. After everyone had their plates loaded, Chad asked Andrew to say grace. Andrew bowed his head and said something we couldn't hear, and then asked the blessing he used when his dad was here. When I looked at him, there were little tears in his eyes.
After breakfast, the kids went to brush their teeth while I helped Chad clean up the kitchen.
"Did you notice Andrew when he asked the blessing?"
"I noticed the tears in his eyes when he said the same blessing he used when his dad was here."
"Before he said the blessing, I noticed his lips were moving as he if was talking. I think he's becoming like you."
"What do you mean?"
"He has a special sensitivity like you do. There are times when I think you see things that no one else sees or feels. Like that Christmas angel that you felt. I think that's a part of you that's a mystery and maybe that's why I love you so much. You have a sensitivity that I don't. But I don't feel threatened about it and in fact I think it brings us closer."
I got a hug out of that deal. Andrew and Susan came down all dressed for church. They looked quite handsome and beautiful in their new clothes. Susan was going to sing a solo this morning as part of the children's choir.
On the way to church, "Dad, there's that boy again that we saw on Friday."
We saw him cross the street and it looked like he was heading toward the church. Chad stopped the car and asked him if he wanted a ride to church. The boy had a frightened look but politely declined the ride. I looked at Chad and noticed a strange look on his face.
Church was overflowing. Additional seats were added to the side aisles and that area was quickly filled as well. Chairs were added to any empty space where they would fit. The processional began with the junior choir followed by the adult choir followed by a young boy carrying a cross. Pastor was the last one to enter saying, Halleluiah, He is risen .We could hear Susan as she passed our seats. Her voice was clear and there was no doubt that she'd be singing in the adult choir before she was a teenager.
After service, the congregation went outside to watch the kids hunt for the Easter eggs. They actually were plastic eggs filled with candy. As the kids took a basket from the Pastor, they headed for where the Easter eggs would be. As we were standing there, Andrew pulled on my sleeve.
Whispering, "Dad, there's that boy again. Look he's helping the little kids find eggs."
We watched and what he was doing, checking the baskets to see who didn't have eggs. Then he would hide the eggs and show the child where to look. The joy on the face of the little kids, who didn't stand a chance against the older children, was priceless. I continued to watch as he checked the baskets and pointed the child to a secret cache of eggs. I saw Pastor watching him as well.
"Pastor, do you know that lad?"
"No Troy I don't. But he appears to be helping the little ones. I think I'll talk to him and tell him that I think what he's doing is a good thing."
We watched Pastor approach the boy. The boy got a scared look on his face and was ready to run when Pastor said something. The boy stopped, dropped his head, and replied. Pastor put his arm around the boy's shoulder and said something.
I looked at Chad. I couldn't believe what I saw. His face seemed to be smiling but his lips were not in a smile. Sometimes Chad scars me.
"Chad, what is it?"
"That boy needs our help."
"How do you know?"
"I just know. This morning when I was looking out the window getting ready for sunrise services, I had a feeling something was going to happen today that would bring a change. I wasn't sure what it was. But as I look at Pastor, I think it has something to do with that boy."
When Chad said that, a chill ran up my spine. I think Chad has a telephone line to his angel.
Pastor approached us with the boy."Chad, Troy, this is Robby. I was wondering if he could have Easter dinner with you today."
Before I could even open my mouth, Chad pulled Robby into a hug, "You certainly can have Easter dinner with us. There's plenty of food."
Pastor smiled and I just shook my head. It was Chad who had the feeling that brought Andrew and Susan into our lives. Somehow deep down, I knew that Robby would end up in our lives as well.
The kids brought their empty baskets back to the pastor and thanked him for the eggs. The little kids came to Robby and thanked his as well. Robby politely told them they were welcome and maybe next year they wouldn't need him as they would be with the older kids. One little boy said if he was, he would make sure the little kids had their share of eggs. Robby smiled and roughed his hair.
It was time for us to head home and prepare our dinner. Before leaving for service, Chad had placed a ham in the oven. So all we needed to do was finish off the side dishes and set the table.
"Andrew, please show Robby where he can wash his hands before dinner. Also please change out of your good clothes into something more comfortable. Susan you can change as well. Troy, upstairs in our closet is an extra Easter basket, could you bring it down with Andrews and Susan's."
"Why did you buy an extra basket?"
"I don't know. When I was shopping for Andrew and Susan's basket, something told me to take another. So I did. Strange. Sometimes, I think I do crazy things but they always turn out right. I just don't understand it. But I'm glad it hasn't scared you away."
"Nothing will scare me away from you. All these strange, crazy things have made my life richer. Andrew and Susan came from you seeing that angel, so babe; I'm with you till the end, strange or not."
Andrew, Susan and Robby came down ready to eat. Susan set the table, telling Robby where he could sit. Andrew asked Robby what he'd like to drink indicating that he and Susan where having milk. Robby said that milk was fine with him as well.
Andrew asked to say grace. We all bent our heads, while Andrew again silently said something before saying the familiar grace we had heard when his father was alive. But this time, Andrew thanked the Lord for sending him a brother.
I looked at Chad, who just smiled, and proceeded to pass the food. This was getting weird for me. Chad made sure the kids had a full plate but I knew the reason behind that. If they stuffed themselves on dinner, there would be no room for candy, at least only a little.
When dinner was over and the kitchen was clean, Chad asked everyone to come and sit in the living room. He began to tell them a story, not about Jesus, but about the little drummer boy. Everyone knew about the little drummer boy because of the song. But this story was about the boy before he became a cripple.
"In a village on the side of a hill, a little boy was playing with his friends, more or less the same age. They had fun playing tag and other games that children in those times played. The little boy was the only child and being an only child he was lonely. So when his usual friends were not around, he would go and meet boys who probably were a little too old for him. But he sought attention and unfortunately not among the right boys. Just as today, there were bullies than as well. One day he went to see his new friends; they were on the roof of a home. When they saw him, they started to throw stones at him. Oh they weren't big stones but big enough to hurt. When they hit him with a stone and he cried they called him a cry baby. The little boy tried to run away, with tears in his eye, he couldn't see and fell into a hole in the ground; he hurt his leg. Crying, with no chance of getting out of the hole, he prayed that someone would come and help him. Just then, an angel appeared to the boy. The angel spoke to the boy, he told him that he would help him out of the hole, but he could not fix his leg. That was his punishment for not listening to his parents. The angel helped the boy out of the hole, and took away the pain. But from that moment on the boy would be a cripple.
As time passed, the boy started to beat upon a log with a stick. Soon he had certain rhythms that he'd play. One night, in his dream, the angel came to him and told him about a child being born in Bethlehem who could make the blind see and the lame walk. The little boy was filled with joy when he heard this. That morning, he got up early and told his father about his dream. His father told him that if this was true he must go and see this child. In order to prevent him from becoming distracted, his father made him a drum out of sheep skin. And so, the little boy set off, beating his drum, in search of the child. I'm not sure if he ever found the child, Jesus. But I do know, if you could keep your focus on Jesus, and his love for mankind, all of mankind, then you would be like the little boy; seeking to correct your faults by coming to know Jesus."
"I never heard that story, Troy. When did you hear it or read it?"
"I dreamt it last night. It was so vivid I couldn't forget it. It must mean something."
Chad went and got the Easter baskets. He gave each child one, admonishing them not to eat too much candy. Robby couldn't believe they had one for him as well.
"I can't accept this. I'm sure you must have meant it for someone else."
"No. I was lead to believe that someone would be in our home today and the basket was for him or her."
Just then the door bell rang. I went to see who it was. "Hello Pastor, what brings you out tonight? I thought you'd be home with your family."
"If I'm not interrupting, I'd like to talk to you and Troy for a minute."
"Sure. Come on in. Would you like a cup of coffee or a piece of pie or both."
Troy came into the kitchen to see who was at the door. "Hello Pastor. How may we help you?"
"How's Robby doing?"
"He's fine. Right now they are watching a movie on television while gorging themselves on chocolate."
"No matter where they are, kids will be kids. Actually Robby is why I'm here. If you remember Robby and I had a little talk at the Easter egg hunt. He told me about his life and why he was at the church. He liked he music and would sit outside the church to listen to it. I asked him why he didn't come in. He said he was embarrassed because he didn't have the right clothes. We talked some more and I promised him I'd find someone to share their Easter dinner with him. That's where you came into this conversation."
"What's his story? Does he have a family who is just too poor to buy him clothes? What he has on looks clean and he looks clean. Someone must be looking out for him. How old is he? He looks like he might be about 2 years older than Andrew."
"From what I can put together talking to Child Welfare Services, he's 17. Since there isn't a possibility of placing him in a home because of his age, he stays in a shelter. They provide some used clothing and he can wash his clothes there as well as himself. However, as soon as he's 18, he must leave."
Chad looked at me and I knew what he was going to say. I just broke out laughing. They both looked at me as if I was crazy but when I looked at Chad I knew what he was thinking. I just nodded my head yes and continued to laugh. Pastor must've thought I lost my mind.
When I got myself under control again, "I'm sorry for laughing. But all day today, Chad has been saying he felt a change in our family was going to happen."
"Pastor, what Troy is saying, we'll be glad to open our home to Robby. But if possible, we would like to adopt him before he's 18. We have the room and he certainly gets along with Andrew and Susan. After what we saw today at the Easter egg hunt, I think he'll fit very well into our home and lives."
"I'm so glad that you both feel that way. I wonder if I may talk with Robby privately."
"Certainly, I'll send him out to you. You can talk to him here in the kitchen or in the spare bedroom upstairs; which actually will be his room."
"I think here will be ok."
"Find we'll send him to you."
"Robby, Pastor is here and would like to talk to you in the kitchen. Why haven't you opened your basket?"
"There are some little kids where I stay, that have nothing, and this would be a big treat for them. I can do without."
When Andrew and Susan heard this, they sealed up their baskets and offered them to Robby to take as well. God bless these kids. Who said, 'and a child shall lead them'.
Robby went into the kitchen to talk to the Pastor. "Dad, what Robby said. Is it true?"
"Probably. There are a lot of kids who have no hope of receiving a gift for Easter or Christmas."
Robby came back into the room with tears in his eyes; looking at Chad, "Is what the Pastor said true?"
"I'm not sure what the Pastor said, but if he said we want you to live here and for us to adopt you, then yes it is true."
"Because you need us as much as we need you. Ask Andrew or Susan why and see what they tell you."
While Troy spoke to the Pastor, I put my arm around Robby's shoulder, "Let's go and look at your bedroom."
I took Robby upstairs, pointing out Andrew's room and Susan's room. "Your room is right next to Andrew."
I open the door and turned on the light. The room contained a queen size bed, dresser, night stand and a closet."I'm sure once you see Andrew's room; you'll need more furniture, at least a desk and perhaps another chair. We can shop for those things over the week-end."
Going back down stairs, I saw that Pastor was getting ready to leave. Going to say good bye, Pastor asked me if Robby was ok. "I think he'll be just fine after the shock wears off."
Since the kids had school the next day, I told them to take their baskets to their room and get ready for bed. "School tomorrow; Andrew show Robby your room. He'll be in the room next to you and this week-end I'd like to complete the room."
"Robby, we'll go to the shelter tomorrow and get the rest of your clothes and personal effects. Then we'll see about school and do some shopping for clothes. After looking at Andrew's room, if we see anything tomorrow, we can have it delivered. For tonight, I'll give you a pair of shorts to sleep in, set your clothes outside of your door; I'll wash and dry them so you can have them to wear in the morning."
With that, 3 kids headed to bed. I waited about one hour when Chad came down with Robby's clothes. "I gave him one of my shorts considering I'm slightly shorter than you"
After washing and drying Robby's clothes, I placed them in front of his door. I checked on Susan and Andrew as I always did. I wasn't sure if I should check on Robby as well. I was about to turn away from the door when I heard a sob. I knocked on the door and went into the room. Robby was in bed but had his back to me. I set his clean clothes on the dresser. Sitting on the bed, I rubbed his shoulder.
"Why are you doing this?"
"Because every child should have the opportunity to live in a home where they are loved and cared for."
"But, why me?"
"Why were you at the Easter egg hunt today?"
"I don't know. I just felt it was something I was suppose to do. You know how you get the feeling that you need to be some place or you're missing something and you know you'll find it if you follow your hunches."
"Robby, I think you answered your own question"
"This is a miracle for me."
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