As I carried my granddaughter up the stairs of the old 1910 house, each step creaked loudly, echoing the sounds of yesteryears. I imagined how many times the stairs were climbed as a little child was carried off for nap time.
The day was struggling between releasing its summer warmth to embracing the coolness of the fall breeze and I closed a window before I grabbed a book from the shelf. Cordelia loves to read so books are important at nap time.
But today was different. Cordie said, “Nan, I’m too tired today. I’m going to sleep.” And in she climbed to her little bed and covered up. I saw the cat trying to make her way in the door to prepare herself for a nap at the end of the bed, and quickly pushed her out and shut the door.
There was a still darkness that made me sleepy and began to envelope us both. A restful, relaxing stillness of the early afternoon began to whisper, “sleep … sleep … sleep.” But just like that, as I reached for the doorknob, the peace was gone!
There was no doorknob.
In the utter darkness of the room I began to breathe heavily and said, “Cordie! We can’t get out. The doorknob is broken. It’s gone. We’re locked in.”
I turned on the light and began to fiddle with the 1910 keyhole, where there was once a doorknob. I could feel the panic settling in around me. The room began to feel closed in and small and I couldn’t catch my breath.
I threw open the closet door and madly began looking for something to help open the door. I could find … nothing.
Out of my frantic state, I heard a little voice say, “Nanny, what’s wrong?”
I repeated my frantic words … “We can’t get out. We’re locked in.”
I held back the tears. Why was I so frantic? Well, aside of the fact that I had a recently potty-trained child down for a nap, and that her parents would not be home for another 3.5 hours, I was worried about a fire breaking out or an emergency where we couldn’t get out of the room. The episode of Little House on the Prairie where the woman and baby end up dying in the upstairs bedroom when a fire breaks out was all I could imagine.
A gentle and unaffected voice sounded out and broke my fear, “Don’t be scared, Nan. You know what to do. You need to pray. Jesus will help us.”
I reached in my back pocket. My phone, something I never take with me when I tuck in Cordie, was in my pocket and I dialed the Farmer. “Dean, we’re locked in!” I exclaimed. My poor husband tried hard to bring comfort and calm me down. “Look out the window,” he suggested. “Keep breathing,” he said.
Next I called my son-in-law. He said he’d finish up at work and come home to help us. He’d not had a chance to put the doorknob back on after it had broken.
I sat in the church and prepared for a long cry. When Cordie’s little head popped off of her pillow and she said, “Nanny. We’ll be okay. I think you should pray. Jesus will help us. You pray.”
And so I did. I prayed out loud and asked for help. I asked for peace as we waited and for God to send us help.
When I said “Amen,” Cordie said, “Nan, I’m so tired, I have to go to sleep. You’ll be fine.”
A few moments later, I heard the rhythmic breathing floating across the room and heard the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit. I felt like He said, “I’m here, Kathy. With you and the baby. It’s alright. You’re safe. There is nothing to fear. Cordie has a child-like faith in me. Can you remember when you had that?”
I couldn’t remember. I work hard at being faithful, but Cordie’s faith was effortless. It was as though there was no other option than to trust God because of course He was going to send help. That was that. It was time to forget about it, rest, trust and sleep.
I put my head back in the chair and after another hour we heard Cordelia’s daddy opening the door. She shouted, “Hurrah! My daddy has saved us. Jesus sent my daddy to save us!”
And so He did. I knew it was once again time to focus on, pray about, and strive to live life a little freer, a little stronger, and a little more faith-filled.
I need more of a child-like faith.