Emily anxiously twirled her hair, holding her six-year-old daughter's hand. She stood up on her tiptoes, peeking over the sea of people.
"You excited to see your husband again?" A gentle voice asked from behind Emily. Her brain didn't register that the strange voice could be talking to her. She glanced behind her to see an old woman with two long white braids and a wrinkly, kind face looking straight at her.
"Oh!" Emily exclaimed apologetically. "I'm sorry, I did not realize you were talking to me," She explained. The woman waved her hand like there was an annoying bee buzzing around her head.
"Don't apologize, my child. I understand...You must be very happy to see your husband again!" Something about this woman made Emily not want to question how she knew of her husband's military connections.
"Yes, you'd think so," Emily muttered shyly. The woman's face twisted into a mask of confusion.
"Why do you say that?"
"Well, I wrote to him a few times these last few months, but he hasn't written back! I'm worried that...Maybe he..." She trailed off, her voice letting out more of her bottled-up despair than she'd intended. The woman smiled knowingly.
"My child, God knows what He is doing! He'll take good care of your husband," She said, a hint of sadness in her voice. "He's got a plan for him, and for you," The woman continued, her eyes patiently searching Emily's like a surfer would search the sea's waves. Emily irritably turned her head away, pretending to look for her husband.
Half of her truly was looking for him, but half of her was ignorantly annoyed by this woman's public expression of her faith. Like Emily cared! She was not a Christian, but not because she didn't agree with the Bible's teachings, but because she was being ignorant. She didn't want to venture out to explore the religion of Christianity, because she was a person who didn't like change.
Whatever, lady. If you think saying some otherworldly, mysterious being has the fate of my husband's life, go ahead and say it to yourself. I don't need any sort of problems in my life like THAT. I'm already busy enough. Emily thought bitterly.
"If you'll excuse me, ma'am," Emily said, a hint of sarcasm entering her voice. She shoved it down and nodded curtly to the woman. Her expression was unreadable, but Emily couldn't have cared less. She turned on a heel, pulling her daughter with her. Then a bony, dry hand closed around Emily's wrist. To her surprise, the old woman wasn't quite done with her yet. She gently pulled Emily's ear to her lips. She whispered something faint and gentle, yet it was the most powerful statement Emily had ever heard. The woman released Emily and gave her a pat on the cheek. Then the elderly figure turned and was lost in the crowd. Emily stood right were the old woman left her, her heart beating and her mind racing. However, her thoughts were interrupted when her daughter squealed.
"DADDY!" She screamed. Emily had been so distracted by the old woman's presence that she hadn't realized that her husband's plane had landed. Emily felt her daughter, Olivia, pulling her arm. Emily's breath caught in her throat at the sight of her husband. He crouched low to the floor, his arms spread wide. His blue eyes twinkled like the sea as he wrapped his six-year-old daughter up in his strong arms. Emily almost ran to her husband, her eyes welling up with tears of heartfelt joy.
She slammed into him, and he twirled her around in a little circle. She sobbed into his shoulder, getting his crisp uniform wet.
"You had me so worried, Mason!" Emily scolded.
"You don't need to worry about me," Mason assured, stroking Emily's soft, auburn hair. She pulled his face up to hers.
"That's never an option," she teased. He snorted quietly, then kissed his wife passionately, joy swirling through his stomach at the thought that he was finally home.
"Oh, gross!" Olivia said mockingly. Emily laughed as she pulled away to pick up their daughter. The three of them embraced tightly, all worries temporarily forgotten.
"Where would you like to eat, Mason?" Emily asked, knowing her husband would be hungry after the long flight.
"I don't care," He responded. "Let Olivia decide," he said, winking at his daughter through the rear-view mirror in their car on the way home from the airport.
"McDonalds!" Olivia chirped immediately. Emily laughed.
"If that's ok with your dad, then it's fine by me!" Olivia looked at her father with hopeful eyes.
"Sure," he said. Olivia did a little celebratory shimmy in her booster seat. Emily didn't exactly feel like celebrating, and not because of the decision for their dinner destination, although she wasn't exactly excited about that.
The woman's face from the airport kept circling through to the front of her mind, her words resonating with Emily. When she'd whispered in her ear, Emily had let her guard down.
"Em?" Mason's voice gently broke her concentration. "You okay?" He asked kindly. Emily didn't want to lie to her husband, but how was she supposed to explain what the woman was saying? He sensed her hesitation, and turned up the music in the back of the car so Olivia wouldn't be able to hear what they were saying.
"Well, a woman approached me at the airport, and she said; 'Jesus told him, "Don't be afraid; just believe.' And for some reason, that got to me." Emily looked questioningly at Mason, and was shocked to see him looking relieved.
"Well, I'm glad she told you instead of me!" He said with an air of an untold joke.
"What?" Emily asked, extremely confused at his unexpected response. Mason sent a little puff of air through his lips, like he wasn't sure how to explain what he was trying to say.
"One of the men that was in my barrack is very forwardly Christian," Mason explained. "He's an interesting man, and he was telling me about a bible story the other day. It was about a King who threw three men into a blazing inferno oven thingy as their punishment for obeying and believing in the Lord. In the story, the king looks down into the death pit and he sees that there are now four men in the fire, each of them unharmed. The guards who threw them in the fire were dead. Then the king started to believe in Jesus, and he made his whole kingdom a Christian establishment. And then I got to thinking, is that what this man is trying to do? Expand God's kingdom and such? So I borrowed his bible, and I've been reading it ever since he told me that story," Mason finished, watching his wife while still trying to keep an eye on the road. "I wanted to tell you before, but it didn't seem adequate to explain all that in a letter," Mason laughed. Then his face turned serious. "I think we need to attend some sort of church, and see what all this stuff is really about," he said.
Emily thought about Mason's story, the old woman, and the man in Mason's barrack. Were all those people trying to bring them to God? Were Emily and Mason really that important to some mysterious, celestial being?
"Yes," a voice whispered in her ear. She jumped, looking at her family. Nobody was close to her. Nobody could've said that to her. Except...except God.
"I think that's a wonderful idea, Mason," Emily said, smiling at her husband. They pulled into the McDonalds parking lot, and Olivia happily jumped out when they were parked. Mason stepped out of the car as well, but Emily stayed put. She closed her eyes and awkwardly put her hands together. A quick prayer. Her first prayer. When she was finished, she walked into McDonalds with her wonderful husband and daughter, a strange, happy, calm, and cared-for kind of feeling coursing through her body. She walked into the restaurant, looking at all of its occupants with a new kind of gaze.
This is what I'm meant to be. A wife. A mother. And, most importanty, a messenger. Just like the old woman and Mason's barrack friend, I'm meant to be a messenger of God.