Chapter 20

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

Gram was watching the weather forecast when Elijah came downstairs. Still a little groggy, he stood gazing blindly at the television for a moment. “Light rain this morning then clearing up this afternoon,” the weatherman said. That was fine with him; rain during school and sunny while meeting with the missionaries.

“Did you manage to get any sleep at all last night?” Gram asked.

Elijah nodded affirmatively.

“Well, a good breakfast should help get your blood flowing,” she said.

They both made their way into the kitchen. The smell had already given away that Gram had made pancakes. “Mmm, pancakes. All the sugar from the maple syrup should help kick start the brain,” he thought.

Elijah plopped down in a chair and forked some cakes onto his plate. Gram sat down across from him and smiled.

“I think I’m ready to meet with these missionaries now. A good night’s sleep always clears the head,” Gram reiterated. “I’m not saying I still don’t have concerns, but I’m ready to hear what they have to say.”

“I can’t wait,” Elijah said through the end of a yawn. “Just feels right.”

“Well, keep an open mind both ways,” Gram suggested.

Elijah finished off several pancakes and put his plate in the sink. Before long he was dressed and ready for school. He looked at the time on the clock radio beside his bed; Mark would be picking him up any minute for prayer group. He grabbed his book bag and headed back downstairs. Gram had packed him a lunch and was waiting for him in the kitchen.

He stopped in the living room to grab his jacket since he could hear that the rain had started coming down on the porch roof. The T.V. was still on from before breakfast. Elijah blindly stared at a commercial about seat belts saving lives as he put on his jacket. His thoughts were still on the Mormons and the events of the day before. There was a knock at the door. “Must be Mark,” he called out to Gram.

Springing into the kitchen, he threw his lunch into his book bag, kissed Gram on the cheek, and headed for the door. “No principal’s office today!” Gram called after him. He turned and gave a mischievous grin then closed the door behind him.

The rain wasn’t bad yet. Mark’s jacket only showed a few wet spots. The rain caused a slight fog to start forming that Elijah though made the morning look kinda cool. Despite the rain, his spirits were still high.

“Hey,” Elijah greeted.

“This is a little earlier than I thought,” Mark yawned.

“I’m still getting used to it myself.”

“There always this many people outside your house?”

“It’s actually gotten a little better this week. Must be something more newsworthy going on somewhere,” Elijah said with a shrug of his shoulders.

Soon they were driving towards the school, a line of media vans trailing behind. Elijah thought seriously about going out and telling them about the Mormons, but felt he had better learn a little more about it first. Heck, if meeting the missionaries worked out, he could sic the press on them. Elijah smiled to himself.

“Gram said we’re all set for tonight. Did your mom hear from the missionaries?”

“Yep! All set. Should be there around six,” Mark replied. “I have to admitt I was too excited to sleep last night. I mean, I’ve always believed in the church, but to have you say that it was Joseph Smith in your vision. It was unbelievable.”

“Yeah, I actually found the church website and was up late reading through it. I can’t wait to tell Jonathan and the others about it.”

“I need to apologize to him, too. I was a total jerk the other day,” Mark sighed.

“Jonathan’s a good guy. I’m sure everything’s gonna be fine today. I just know it.”

There was a moment of silence as they drove. Elijah’s thoughts returned to earlier that morning. For some strange reason Elijah could see the commercial about seat belts saving lives again. It played on the windshield before him as though he was still standing before the television.

Shocked by the premonition, Elijah looked over and realized that in his rush to get going he hadn’t put his seat belt on. He reached up and took the belt in his hand and buckled it in place.

“Come on, my driving’s not that bad,” Mark joked.

Before Elijah could respond there was a screeching of tires from his right. He turned in time to see the headlights of a media van hydroplaning into the intersection they were passing through. Then everything went black.

********

The world spun around him as Elijah woke up. He felt dizzy and disoriented. But where was he? He looked around at the interior of the car. It seemed surreal. Glass covered his lap and there were several splotches of blood.

“This has got to be the most realistic dream I’ve ever had,” he thought, his body still in shock.

A far off sounding voice started to fade in from a distance through the driver’s side of the car. An unfamiliar woman was standing at the open driver side door. He struggled to focus so he could understand what she was saying. She sounded so far away. Something about an ambulance was on the way and that everything was going to be all right.

Over her shoulder stood Mark. He was talking to a policeman and holding his neck. There weren’t any signs of blood or injury on him, but Elijah could see the worried look on his face. The realization hit him like a hydroplaning news van. This wasn’t a dream.

He felt something trickle down his cheek, a raindrop falling through the opening that had once been a window perhaps. Reaching up to wipe it away, Elijah looked at his hand. It was covered in blood. His blood!

With a “knee-jerk” reaction, Elijah’s hand reached for the source of the blood. Pain seared through his head like a hot poker. “Impossible! This can’t be happening, not now, not today,” Elijah thought frantically.

Like the day before, Elijah could feel the adrenaline start to surge through his body, but this time it was not for a “good” reason. He had to do something. Had to change this. The window seemed higher than it should be. The seat had come off the runners and the seatbelt had locked across his shoulder. He tried to slide his head under the seatbelt, but a sharp pain shot through his neck and caused him to stop. There had to be a way out of this. The only thought that came to mind was to pray.

“Dear God, please! I will do anything if you get me out of here. I’ll listen to anything the Mormons tell me. Anything! Please, just help me.”

As suddenly as Elijah’s prayer ended so did the pain. Elijah could again hear the woman’s voice, “Everything’s going to be O.K.” The voice slowly faded out as Elijah blacked out again.

********

Elijah moved in and out of consciousness enough to realize that he had made it to the hospital. The doctor that took care of him when he arrived told him that, thanks to the seatbelt, the cut wasn’t as bad as it looked and stitched it up. He also had a nurse give Elijah something for the pain. Gram arrived looking pale and teary eyed, but seemed to relax a little when the nurse said it was only a concussion. All going well, Elijah could be released to go home after a couple hours of monitoring.

The hospital’s emergency room area was small, so they were transferred to a room on the second floor. Now that things had quieted down, Elijah had a chance to think. He looked out the window for a moment. There was still a light rain, tracing patterns down the glass.

“How’s Mark?” Elijah asked.

“Oh, he’s fine. He and his mother stopped by to see how you were doing just before we came up here. Mark’s gonna have a stiff neck, but other than that he’s none the worse,” Gram assured him softly.

“What happened?”

“Apparently some over anxious news crew hoping to jump to the front of the pack wasn’t able to stop at a stop sign and side-swiped you. Seems like you were the only one to get really hurt. Doctor said you were lucky to have your seat belt on or it would have been much worse.”

“That’s the amazing part. I was in such a rush that I forgot to put it on. Just before the accident I had a vision. Not a spiritual one like before. It was a T.V. commercial I saw just before Mark came this morning. It was about seat belts saving lives. If it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t have noticed I hadn’t buckled up,” Elijah recounted.

“Well, one thing’s for sure. Someone was looking out for you this morning,” Gram told him.

“I’ll still be able to see the missionaries tonight though, right?” Elijah questioned.

“We’ll see if you’re feeling up to it, dear.”

“Gram I’ve got to see them. This is just one more crazy thing slowing me down. I just don’t get why everything’s got to be such a pain,” Elijah exclaimed, sounding aggravated.

“I’m not sure either, but if God meant for this to happen there’s a good reason. And if God meant for you to meet the missionaries, that will happen too,” Gram replied. “Well, at least if we do meet with them tonight your father should be here by then.”

“Dad’s coming? But I’m fine now. He doesn’t have to leave work for this.” Elijah only half meant it, though. It would be good to have Dad here, especially for the missionary meeting.

“Well, we didn’t know that when I talked to him this morning. Speaking of which, I should call and update him. He’s probably half way here by now.” Gram got up and began walking from the room. She fumbled through her pocket book looking for her cell phone. She looked worn out to him, but she had a strong, almost majestic stride. “I’ll just be a couple of minutes.”

Elijah looked back out the window. The rain had finally stopped. If God does have a reason for all this, why’s He got to make it so difficult to get through? He took a deep breath in through his nose. The place wreaked that awful hospital smell.

It reminded him how much he hated being in hospitals. It reminded him of his mother. The cancer spread so quickly there wasn’t much time before she was stuck in a room just like the one he laid in now. There were tubes and IV’s all over her. All meant to keep her alive and out of pain, but they also kept him from being close to her. He missed her so much he could actually feel the pain in his heart.

Where was she now, he wondered? She must be in Heaven. Maybe she was the one that seemed to be watching over him? Maybe that’s why she had to die. Still, he wished she could be here for all this, the vision, the missionaries, all of it. Maybe she was part of it, somehow. He thought about what Gram said, “If God had a reason...” God had to have had a reason, but what was it?

Elijah felt something trickle down his check. This time he knew what it was and wiped the tear away. He drew a deep breath through his mouth and looked out the window again. The sun had started to peer from behind the clouds. The dark room became a little less dreary. All was quiet except for the distant squeak of a cart being pushed down the hallway.

His mind began to focus on the sound of the cart. It would stop and start with each passing room, each time getting a little closer. “Oh great!” he thought. “Someone coming to flash more lights in my eyes, or worse, to draw more blood.”

Soon the cart was right outside the door. Elijah watched the hall intently. The squeaky wheels stopped in front of his door, but it wasn’t a medical cart at all. It was full of magazines and books. Two young men dressed in white shirts and ties stepped into the room. He knew immediately who they were.

“Hello, I’m Elder Poulson and this is Elder Horsewood. We’re here delivering magazines. Would you like something to read?”

At first Elijah didn’t know how to respond. “Did the Roche’s send you?”

“We deliver magazines here every Wednesday as a service project. How do you know Brother and Sister Roche?” Elder Poulson asked with a puzzled look.

“I’m supposed to meet you guys at their house tonight.”

A look of surprise came over both of the missionary’s faces. “You’re Elijah,” Elder Horsewood exclaimed. “No way! What happened to you?”

“Mark and I were in a little accident on the way to school this morning,” Elijah explained, still a little awestruck. So, God really did mean for this to happen. “Don’t worry; it would take more than a bump on the head to keep me away tonight.”

Elijah told the missionaries what happened and that Mark was O.K. They spoke for a few more minutes before the Elders needed to move on.

“Are you sure you don’t need anything?” Elder Poulson asked.

“Nah, I should be out of here soon. Unless you have a Book of Mormon I could read?”

“Sorry, were not allowed to proselyte in the hospital, so we don’t carry them. We’ll definitely have one for you tonight, though.”

“Thanks! I’ll see you then.”

And with that, the missionaries went back to passing out magazines. It was awhile before Gram returned. Elijah was starting to wonder where she’d gone. After her call to Dad she talked to a nurse who said they were ready to discharge him. When she got back to the room she had already filled out the necessary paper work.

She was amazed as Elijah told her about the missionary’s visit. “‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.’ That’s what the good book says. See, I told you; if God meant it to happen it’s gonna happen. Maybe this was the Lord’s way of teaching you to trust in Him and He’ll make sure that things work out.”

“Hah,” Elijah smiled. “He must have known it would take a good whack on the head to get it through to me.”

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