Words of life spoken

Published 4:45 am Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The sun shone brightly as I skipped through the backyard. I felt so big to be able to visit my friend who lived through the woods on the other side of the lake. At the edge of the yard, I slowed down to a walk and maneuvered through the brush to a small path.

It wasn’t far across the lake to my friend’s house, but to a 6-year-old who stopped to pick wildflowers along the way, it seemed to take a while. The path ended abruptly, but I knew the rest of the way through the woodland.

The strangest thing happened next. A sudden tremendous urge to run hit me out of nowhere. It was as if a commanding voice said, “RUN!” The voice was not loud or rude, but it was forceful, and held a sense of urgency. I can’t explain it in any other way. I immediately ran through the briers and bushes as fast as my feet could carry me.

I heard an unusual sound that I had never heard before. It sounded like a rattle of some sort, and it seemed to be chasing me. After a while the sound stopped. At that point, I felt OK to slow down. This happened a very long time ago, but I remember it well.

Funny thing is I just put it in my memory bank. I didn’t tell anyone or worry about what had happened. Without ever being told I knew that God had spoken to me and told me to run, but I had no idea why.

My friend and I played together, and I went home the same way I had come. I didn’t feel an ounce of fear. Why fear? I was too young to realize how close I had come to real trouble.

Some time later my Dad took our family to the zoo in Jackson, Mississippi. The pink flamingos always attracted me with their bright beautiful colored feathers. And the wise, old elephants with their long trunks were also among my favorites.

My brothers and sisters ran ahead to the reptile exhibit, but I shrank back. “Come on! Don’t be a scaredy cat. They can’t get out and hurt you!” chided one of my older siblings. The thought of being teased along with my curiosity drove me to cautiously move forward. The snakes were in a glass-enclosed area, but I still didn’t care to get too close. I saw the others looking inside the glass and decided it wouldn’t hurt to get a little closer for a better look. As I peered into one of the exhibits my ears heard a familiar sound.

A chill ran over me causing the hair on the back of my neck to stand up as understanding awakened. I am still humbled when I think of the day over 50 years ago when the creator of the universe looked down on a little girl in trouble and spoke words of life.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.