It was a chaotic morning in the Furuya household. It began with Frances waking with a start from a deep sleep, at the sound of her teenage son Jacob's voice.
"Mom, I slept in," he said, leaning over her with his flaming halo of red hair and serious brown eyes.
Usually Jacob gets up at 7.00 and wakes Frances up, but on this day, it was 8.15 and he was late for school.
Frances got up right away, rushing to get the girls, Summer and Eden to their public school. She was late dropping them off and had to sign them in at the office.
Summer went off into the school by herself, and Frances and Eden were about to leave the office, when they found the doorway blocked by two small girls, on their way in.
"You need to step aside," thought Frances, already out of sorts with the way the day had gone so far. Her thoughts found voice in a cool, "Excuse me please," aimed at the girls.
Frances was focused on the two little round bodies in the doorway. She saw orange T shirts and sneakers, but she didn't look in their eyes.
When she did raise her gaze to their eyes, she saw that one of them was crying and she was telling Eden that her mother had been in a car accident.
The office staff took care of the girls, but as Frances went on with Eden to drop her at her class, she could see Eden's anxiety building. She said, "I know that girl's mommy," and added with a wail, "I miss Brandy and Dawn."
(Brandy and Dawn are Eden's older sisters who live in the Maritimes. The emotions stirred by the distress of the girls at the school office, were spilling over.)
Frances's eyes filled with tears too; tears of increasing conviction at her quick, cold response.
Back at home, she finally sat down with her devotional book. The scripture for that day was from the book of James, and all about faith without works being dead.
She thought about the moment when she went from seeing the girls just as obstacles in her path, to seeing them as flesh and blood little people; it was the moment when she raised her gaze and looked into their eyes.
James 1:2-4 (New International Version)
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 2:26 (New International Version)
26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.