>The Heart of the House

>A single knock sounded at the door. Mary Jane galloped to the door, sliding a little on the floor in her stocking feet. “Hi, Jesus! Come on in, I’ve been waiting for you!” she chirped, bouncing alongside him like an excited puppy and unaware of his dusty feet leaving tracks on the floor. “I was cleaning all day before you came. Can I get you anything? Do you want something to eat? Oh my gosh, my cookies!” Hurrying into the kitchen, she pulled a tray of slightly scorched snickerdoodles out of the oven. “Oh no, I’m sorry, Jesus!” He smiled, picked up a cookie, and ate it. His smile broadened.

“I’ll make you something better later,” she promised as she tipped the burnt cookies into the trash. “Gosh, what a mess. Do you want to see my _ collection?” She turned around and saw him disappearing upstairs. “Hey, where are you going?”

She trotted up the stairs after him and found him in her bedroom looking around. “What are you looking for, Lord?” His gaze moved over the pile of books by her bedside; the framed certificates and snapshots taped on the wall; the closet full of clothes neatly organized by color, sleeve length, and fiber content. Mary Jane shifted from foot to foot, feeling a little uncomfortable with his silence. She opened her mouth to say something, but decided to wait.

He stood for a few more seconds, then knelt by her bed. “Oh, no, Lord, don’t look there!” She hung her head. “I couldn’t clean everything up fast enough before you came, so I had to put some stuff under the bed.” He just smiled at her and reached under the bed frame. “Really, God, there’s nothing important under there. It’s just some old junk I haven’t gotten around to throwing out yet.” Her voice took on a pleading quality.

He pulled out a small mirror, the glass cracked down the middle, the frame thickly covered with dust.

“Hey, I forgot that was down there. What do you want with that?

He looked straight at her and spoke for the first time since coming in the house. “I’m going to clean it up, and repair it, and make it new. Then you will be able to see yourself as I see you.”

Mary Jane began to tremble. “Can you really do that? It’s so old, and it’s cracked all the way through. I don’t know if it’s really worth saving, I haven’t looked at it in years.”

“I like it. It’s beautiful. I want you to have it. Are you going to let me fix it and give it back to you?”

–to be continued–

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