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Chapter Five
Night Vigil

"When my father and my mother forsake me,
then the LORD will take me up."
~ Psalm 27:10 ~

It was 2am before the airplane lifted off the ground. As it gained altitude, Izumi tightly held on to her seat. She soon fell asleep, tired and worn out from the strenuous events of the day. As a long lost friend, the familiar garden dream faithfully returned to her. A small smile played peacefully on her sleeping face, as if lost in a world more pleasant than the one she had been experiencing. Truly, God is a merciful God, to give Izumi this reprieve from sorrow!

"For Thy mercy is great unto the heavens"
~ Psalm 57:10 ~

There were three things in life that Izumi valued most: Love, Gentleness, and Mercy. She rarely witnessed these qualities in the people around her, so when she found them, Izumi would savor every moment as if hoarding food for the long periods of famine that were so familiar to her. Indeed, had she not endured famine that very day? How welcome then, was the kind look on the face of the embarrassed American! If he had known the happiness that the one smile gave her, he would not have reproached himself for speaking.

Anna sat in the seat next to Izumi, her mind wakeful and restless. She knew God was judging her for the decision she made seventeen years ago. Her father's voice kept tugging at her: "Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the Commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the Commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known." (Deuteronomy 11:26 - 28) The harder Anna resisted the conviction of the Holy Spirit, the colder her heart became. She looked at her sleeping daughter, who unlike herself, was resting peacefully. Anna quickly got up from her seat next to Izumi, and walked to the other end of the airplane. There she found an empty seat and fell asleep.

Izumi was sleeping soundly, when she sensed her mother's absence. As if in a dream that suddenly turned nightmare, she began to cry in her sleep, without making a single sound.

The dark-lit airplane was filled with sleeping passengers, except one. A young man had found, to his great surprise, that the girl he had tried to cheer up in the airport, was sitting two rows across from his- peacefully sleeping. From his vantage point, he could see the look of hate on Anna's face, as she left her resting daughter. Five minutes later, Izumi began to cry in her sleep.

Upon seeing this heartbreaking sight, he quietly got up, and sat down in Anna's seat, beside Izumi. Contented that her mother had returned, she fell peacefully back into her dream. All night, the young man sat watch, filling in for the delinquent mother. When the sun announced a new day, he silently returned to his seat, near tears himself.

Anna returned before Izumi woke up, and they sat side by side through the rest of the flight without one word passing between them.

"I ... considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun:
and behold the tears of such as were oppressed,
and they had no comforter."
~ Ecclesiastes 4:1 ~

end of chapter
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