Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Peter Langbroek
It was silent in the living room with its large bay window facing the front lawn and the country road near PeterÕs Corners; silent except for the tinkling of spoons as the three women stirred sugar in their tea.

The youngest woman, Sarah, looked longingly out the window. ÒI sure missed Hannah today,Ó she said.

ÒYou got more work done while she was gone, I bet," laughed Sarah's mother.

"Yeah," Sarah sighed. Then she smiled. "She sure looked cute when she got on the bus. She was so proud of her teddy-bear book-bag and her little red dress. For a minute I wanted to walk her back home." Sarah paused. Even Caleb was asking where she was.

"Where Anna; where Anna, Mommy?" Sarah laughed as she mimicked her two year-old son. Sarah looked at her Oma sitting beside her mother.

ÒOma, do you remember your first day at kindergarten?"

Oma sat up from the lazy-boy and thought a while. She smiled as she thought back 72 years ago when she walked hand in hand with her brother Dierk in Wormerveer, Holland. "That's a long time ago, Sarah," she laughed. "I can remember my mother putting my hair in a bow before I left for school. And when it was the queen's birthday I wore an orange bow. My brother Dierk and I walked a half an hour in our wooden shoes on the cobble stone streets to school. I remember how scared I was when we got to the big doorway. It was a wooden building and I could hear all the wooden shoes inside going "closs-closs-closs,"

The three women laughed.

ÒBut when I saw the toys in the room, I loved to go because we didn't have such toys at home. I always loved to ride the rocking horse and play with the dolls. After kleuter-school (kindergarten) I went to a "School Met de Bijbel" (School With the Bible). Every morning we had to wait in line in twoÕs at the big entrance. The teacher would open the door. We followed him quietly down the hall and into the class room. The first thing we did was sit down and sing the psalm for the week. And the very first psalm I learned was Psalm 81:12."

Oma began to sing,

Opent Uwen mond,
Eischt van mij vrijmoedig.
Al wat U ontbreekt
Schenk ik zoo gij't smeekt,
Mild en overvloedig.

Do you understand the words, Sarah?" asked her mother.

"Beats me."

"Oma's singing from the verse, ÒOpen wide thy mouth, and I will fill it from Psalm 81: 10.Ó

Just then, the bus stopped at the end of the gravel driveway. The three women stood up and walked to the bay window. Hannah stepped out of the bus, a red bow in her hair, running toward the house, the teddy-bear book-bag in one hand and pieces of paper in the other. The three women walked down the stairs to open the door.

"Mommy, Mommy!" Hannah exclaimed, quite out of breath. "Look what I got!"

"Let's see!" Sarah said, hugging her.

"Did you have a nice day?" asked Grandma.

"Yup!" Hannah said, climbing the stairs and putting the papers in her mother's hand.

Sarah looked through the papers as Grandma and Oma looked over her shoulders.

ÒA colouring picture. You're drawing in the lines. Oh neat, and an octopus holding eight letters. Are you going to learn about them, Sweetie?"

"Yep," Hannah said, "and I'm going to learn a song too!"

Sarah turned to the last paper, the newsletter, and read it. ÒIs this the song, Psalter 431:4?

Open, saith the Lord,
Wide thy mouth, believing
This My covenant-word:
I will if thou plead,
Fill thine every need,
All thy wants relieving.

"We're going have to start learning it right away. But first we'll have a snack."

Oma slowly returned to the lazy-boy while her daughter and granddaughter went to the kitchen. Her thoughts wandered. ÒHer first great granddaughter at school... Where had time gone?Ó She thought of her seven children and 13 grandchildren. What are they doing with their lives? Oma thought of her six children who she could tell loved the Lord, but what about the grandchildren? Sarah, yes, but Mark and William? And her son Dan? How she worried about him. Even at 18, he had left the house and rejected the Lord.

Oma remembered that she had to memorize Psalm 81:13.

Maar mijn volk wou niet
Naar mijn stemme horen,
Israel verliet Mij and Mijn geboÕen;
't Heeft zich andÕre goÕen,
Naar zijn lust verkoren to be.

In English it is Psalter 222:

But my people would not
Yea, they would not yield to Me,
So I left them in their blindness,
Their own counselors to be.

What joy, but also what grief she felt for her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren! Oma sat with folded hands and silently in Dutch, she prayed: "May Hannah hear Thy Word and open her mouth, 0 Lord, that she may know the riches of Thy grace which Thou dost promise."

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