When I close my eyes I can almost feel tiny Mitch bouncing enthusiastically on my shoulders as only little kids know to do. “Dat’s Ashie!” he would yell, pointing over the rickety wood, water-stained fence that stood tall in our back yard. 

Mitch, being a little boy, could finally see over the great wall that kept the outside world from view. His big sister was walking to school on the other side of the fence and Mitch blurted, “I see her! I see her! I wuv you Ash!” Ashley would smile and wave back to her baby brother – Mitch would then shrill with delight.

The fence was too tall for me to peer over, but Mitch could and he described all that he could see. I listened to his words of love and excitement, and that was more than enough for me. 

Summer was just around the corner and we made modest plans to picnic at the park, splash at the public pool and play in our back yard. There were flowers to plant and our lawn to mow – our backyard was coming together by the skin of our toes. It wasn’t much, but it was our place and we loved it so.

At the time, I thought our young family had found its place in the universe. We were invisible to the world and that is just how we wanted it. If given the choice, I would have lived out my life in the quiet of our backyard and comfort of our family room. 

But there was another fence in my life over which I couldn’t see; a fence so tall, it kept the future from my sight ... hardships I didn’t see coming straight for me … things that would break my heart and change the landscape of my family. 

I wonder what would happen if we could see over the fence. There’s a reason we can’t and I believe it is heaven-sent. For faith is not just a gift but it’s a power, too; a guide and a teacher for souls like me and you. 

As I’ve written in earlier posts, sometimes I think to myself, “If only Mitch could see what I see.” Then, I feel a gentle whisper that he would say the same to me. I am on my tippy toes trying to peer over the fence – to catch a glimpse of heaven and see where exactly my little boy went. But I cannot see what happens over there, for the fence is much too tall. So I am learning to listen closely for those quiet whispers and heaven’s gentle calls. 

Though my heart cries out to see my son, that I might love and keep him safe, I know he’s on the other side – and that is a matter of my faith. But because faith is a power, too, it allows us to hear and see things hidden from mortal view. I can almost hear my son, “Dad, keep trying and one day you’ll see, the struggle and the sorrow not only taught you, but me. Remember that time when I was little and could see Ashley? Well, I can see over the fence again, Dad, if only you could see what I see.”