Five weeks marched by in regular succession. Alessandra continued to study the Lingala language, and her teacher Katey was happy with her success. She grew close to Katey and his wife and family, spending many happy afternoons in their home.
After a delicious Saturday morning breakfast, Alessandra and Jackie rode bicycles to Katey’s place to play with the children. As they maneuvered along the narrow path that led to his property, the girls were surprised by the lack of noticeable activity in the yard. It seemed everyone was gone. Esther came out to greet them.
Jackie asked in Lingala where her parents were and translated the answer for Alessandra.
“She said that Baby Cathy is very sick, and they took her to a clinic for treatment. They are afraid she might die.”
“Ask her where they are. We should go tell your father so that he can be with them.”
Jackie took a few minutes to understand Esther’s directions and wrote down the name of the clinic and then started home. As they rode bikes, Alessandra’s thoughts raced back in time to her first night in Ilebo when her sleep was pierced with the wails of a grieving mother. She prayed that God would spare Matshingi and Katey from such sorrow.
Life has routine, regular ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Some seasons, things are peaceful and happy. But then suddenly distress comes at us out of nowhere. That’s life. Short. Changeable. One verse in James 4:14 reminds us, “Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” As we enter a difficult time, may we remind ourselves that our life, all we worry about, is really short and temporary. Let us focus on eternity and plan for our forever life.