Though Stan was not the kind of man to pick up his bags and dash away from home for some distant lonely refuge up in the mountains, he would occasionally bolt for his room and coop himself up in there until either gently persuaded by one of us to come out or, once he had solved his problem, come out of his own accord. Suszana and Andreea were the best at helping him in such moments. Others tended to go in canons blazing and wonder why they had been ignominiously thrown out. Kasia was one such two-gun kid and believed at times that anything could, and should, be forced by direct confrontation. Kryztina just kept away because that is what she wanted when she had some periods of self-doubt or self-disappointment herself. And Stan would leave her alone too, discovering that attempts at mediation were quite useless. In that respect the two were similar, solving their lapses from Christ-centredness on their own. Anna and Sarah-Jane had both been burned in earlier clumsy efforts and never interfered. Isabel was always too scared. On occasion I would venture in and play it quietly and mostly I would meet with some success. He seemed able to open up to me at times and I was grateful to be able to help. Sensitivity, not being pushy, and patiently waiting always paid handsome dividends.
We had been so absorbed with Andreea's dream and our discussion of it, plus calling Tartu, that for an hour we quite forgot Stan. Since we knew he had been exhausted, Hanna telling us how he had collapsed in his bed in the Helsinki motel, we assumed that he had probably crashed and was fast asleep. So nobody went in to disturb him.
As he lay in his bed, Stan wondered how New Agers must feel emptying their minds, though he had no intention of surrendering his mind or will to anyone or anything. He felt like an old Soviet era car that had simply burned itself out in making a journey too long for its own good.
His mind drifted off to Augustenhof in Rügen and for a moment he wished he had bought the schloss2 there. He loved Germany for its rich cultural heritage and sensed accutely what was absent in Sweden. A rugged life in the sub-arctic wilderness, which was the legacy of the Swedish people, was not to his liking at all. Men of breeding need constant artistic and intellectual stimulation and in the short time he had been in Sweden he had sensed accutely his famished state. Estonia had been a great release for him but it had been spoiled by those infernal satanists and by the struggle which had taxed his strength so. He loved to preach, teach, and hold Christian fellowship with brothers and sisters in the Lord, but passionately hated the constant crusade against unseen demonic forces. But he knew there was no way to escape them. It was his misfurtune to have been born into a world that was becoming ever more rapidly infested with them. Everyone, it seemed to him, was plagued with them.
It was his practice before every public meeting began to bind up demonic powers in his invocatory prayer. Every new Christian had to go through deliverance ministry to get properly cleaned out. Though the result - a cleansed soul - was a delight, raking through the people's previously sin-filled lives in order to locate demonic strongholds was at times highly depressing for him. It felt like being a soldier in a water-logged First World War trench with enemy shells exploding all around day and night. I understood why he yearned for the second coming of Christ, not just because the Saviour would be back and the Millennial era of peace would begin, but because all those foul demons would be chained up along with Satan and so give the human race a spiritual respite. And that's what he felt he most needed.
If the truth be known, he did not want to go back to Estonia, or even Poland, for that matter. The latter was out of the question, and possibly now the former too. Would this be his fate from now on? Would he have a gargantuan fight with demonic powers in a new country, achieve a victory through Christ, and never be able to return? How many countries in the world were there that he could visit only once? And what about other apostles and evangelists called to the same dirty work? He felt sorry for them.
There were times - and this was one of them - when he yearned to be in heaven away from it all, even at the cost of leaving his big family behind. He loved his wives dearly but there were times when he wished he was alone. Wives sometimes find that hard to understand because they more naturally wish to be around their menfolk, and plural wives find it harder still. At least some of them did, especially Kasia, Sarah-Jane and Anna. Those who liked to be alone themselves at times, like Isabel, had no problem with this until too much time had passed for their liking and they suddenly felt excluded. Keeping up with so many personality types and fleshy expectations was at times hard for Stan, and on occasion, unbearable, unless they were in the Spirit and were not making such frequent fleshy demands on him.
"Do you ever wish you were a monogamist sometimes?" I once asked him.
"Sometimes," he smiled, "especially when I am tired and the ladies have lost their Christ-focus. And sometimes I want to be a batchelor ... but I get over it." He smiled again, and winked.
"Polygamy comes with a lot of knocks and if you aren't prepared to receive them, you have no business being in it," he had continued. "And a covenant is a covenant. The person who runs away from a covenant is a coward and deserves to be lashed."
I gulped. I just couldn't imagine Stan with a whip. He saw my reaction and grinned.
"You know what Yah'shua said:
"No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God"3.
"We have to accept the bad times with the good no matter how we choose to serve in the Kingdom. A person who expects only good and flees the battlefield when hard times come deserves the fate of all deserters. I know that sounds tough, but it's what the Master said, isn't it?"
I was not happy with that thought at all.
"But there's always mercy, isn't there? We all run away sometimes, huh?" I asked sheepishly.
Stan nodded. "Yes, my love, we do. The issue is one of fitness. And if we're not fit then we need to get into training until we are fit."
"So you wouldn't put up a wife before a firing squad if she if she bolted like that proverbial colt of yours, then?" I asked, teasingly.
I had Stan on the spot - or so I thought.
"You know me," he replied. "The door is always open for runaway wives. But first they've got to get into spiritual fitness training otherwise they'll just run again. You know Isabel ran several times. But on the last occasion she stayed away until she had got that training and was ready to return. It was the same with Suszana, though ten times worse. Look at them now. Did I put them up before a firing squad?"
It was my turn to smile. I was beginning to understand this man whom I called my husband and who I shared with eight others. A rapport quickly developed between us as we came to understand one another's minds. Conversation between us was always enjoyable, even when we disagreed, for I learned not to go off the deep end as one or two of the others did. I learned that much from my mother who was a fine Baptist lady.
I never once looked back to my former life after I left home for Poland, and then Sweden. I never regretted my move. Even the tough times didn't seem to matter because there was so much love around. Never was the whole family dragged down into despair as so often happens in monogamous relationships because there were so many wives. I understood that there was safety in numbers, and the more the better. I was happy with my family, and I loved Stan deeply. And though I know Stan was not enamoured with Sweden, I had grown used to its rugged earnestness and was learning to appreciate the qualities of its people. They were a race apart with much to commend them. My one wish was that Stan would find a Swedish wife and learn to appreciate them as much as I did.
But perhaps I do him a diservice. For I know of the deep affection he holds for Björn, Lars and Bengt. For some reason, winning his approval took time. He was never liberal in his compliments of others until he had really searched them out, but when he was sure, he was not slow to praise or to show deep appreciation.
I saw something of that when he first met Hanna. How any man couldn't have been overwhelmed immediately by such a beautiful woman I shall never really understand, but he kept his distance until all the spiritual knots were untied and she had been cleansed of all the demonic strongholds which had damaged her personality. When they arrived back from Estonia I could see that there was a change between the two, not just because they had partaken of the delights of full marriage, but because of the shared ministry they had had together. Hanna had grown up in the space of two weeks and seemingly made up for all those lost years in spiritual suspended animation caused by the Armstrong cult. The formerly distant Stan clearly now adored Hanna and was completely at ease with her. It was thrilling to behold.
Time and time again he proved the soundness of his 'Temple Portico Pillars' doctrine.
"The roof of the portico of Herod's temple was held up by two magnificent pillars called Jachin and Boaz," he had once taught us. "They were carefully placed according to the rules of architecture. Place the pillars too far apart and the roof collapses. Place them too close and you get the same result. The knack is getting them in exactly the right place.
"In any human relationship you have to know just where those two pillars are supposed to lie. You can be too distant or too intimate, and only the Holy Spirit can tell you where to place yourself spiritually relative to someone else."
With Hanna he had maintained a safe distance but once she had been restored to Christ he was up alongside her like a shot. Now they were happily married and we in our turn were enriched by her and by the new Stan. Only at this juncture in time something was wrong, and we were all concerned.
Stan was up early the next morning and went outside to witness an autumnal dawn. He had spotted Tytus who had left his room without his mother Kryztina noticing and called him over to ask if he would like to accompany his father outside. Tytus was not slow in accepting such an invitation as it was not often he would get his father all to himself.
The two tip-toed into the kitchen, grabbed a banana each, and were soon outside.
"What do you say if we go down to the farm, son?" asked Stan.
"Can we go in the buggy?" asked Tytus excidely.
Stan nodded smiling and they made their way to the garage and pushed the vehicle outside.
"Hop in!" said Stan and the two were soon roaring down the road past the orchard. Tytus was thrilled to bits. At the bottom of the road, they turned a sharp right and headed for the farm buildings. The new electronics factory was still in darkness as it was only 6 a.m. and only the farming folk were out at this time of the day. Father and son munched away at their bananas.
"Morning Brother Stan!" called out Bengt who passed them by in the red tractor as Tytus waved furiously at him.
"Can I drive the tractor, father?" he asked hopefully. Stan shook his head much to the boy's disappointment.
The two wandered around the farm for an hour and chatted with Karl a while before returning to the herregård. Getting out and about with his young son had lifted Stan somewhat and he seemed refreshed upon getting back to the house. Kryztina had figured that Tytus had gone out with his father when she had checked her husband's room and found it empty but he still got a friendly rebuke for not telling her. He paid no attention and headed off towards the west wing. Kryztina was too busy with little Rachele who had broken loose to run off in search of her best friend Alexei.
Stan did not hang around to meet the stream of wives and children who would want to hug, kiss or talk to him, and when he saw Kasia and Sarah-Jane walking arm-in-arm down the stairs he made a beeline for his room before they could intercept him.
Kasia was visibly annoyed and slightly hurt but Stan was in no mood for her yet. She snorted and lightly stamped her foot. Sarah-Jane giggled. But before she could get herself really worked up she had to dash after Alexei who was kicking up a fuss in the kitchen and upsetting someone. Before he got to his room, though, Nikki caught up with him and stole a hug and a kiss. Then he shut the door behind him and was gone.
The 'phone rang in his room. He ignored it until it rang itself out and the answering machine took over. Someone from a competing telephone company wanting to sell him a subscription. He loathed salesmen and saw red whenever his email box filled with junk advertisements. He had a little program which automatically made a hundred copies of junk mail from known senders and sent them back to the sender with a cryptic note telling them to buzz off. He was forever having to filter the wretched things out. And now the 'phone was harrassing him just when he wanted peace and quiet ... and unusually so early in the morning. Usually they called in the evening.
He had enjoyed his hour with Tytus and had even found pleasure talking with Karl. He had asked him how things were coming on between him and Maria but had not been happy with the reply.
"I'm really sorry to say this, Brother Królewiec, but Maria still won't grow up or take the Gospel seriously. And until she does I'm afraid nothing is going to happen as far as I am concerned." he had replied soberly but politely.
Stan sighed and said that he understood him perfectly and accepted his decision, though he did not conceal his disappointment. Maria was a difficult child, her mother's long absence not having helped one bit. She was still very immature for her age and too fond of many worldly things. Stan admired Karl for his robust spiritual attitudes and complimented him liberally. The two got on well which boded well for a future in-law relationship ... if it ever happened.
The unfavourable news had taken Stan out of his momentary sense of well-being and had sent him back to the way he had felt the previous evening, but he was glad Tytus had enjoyed himself. He went back to his bed and lay down. In half an hour's time it would be breakfast and he had to think up an excuse not to go.
Now his conscience began to trouble him. He knew only too well what his responsibilities were and that he was being inconsiderate. But the metaphorical colt had bolted from the paddock and it had no disposition to go back to where it had been before. He did not consider himself to be a particularly weak colt for he was used to enduring pain and hardship. He just felt he had crossed the threshhold and that enough was enough ... at least for now.
He was not being rational and he knew it. He felt a hypocrite for all the pep talks he had given his wives about exerting will-power when the flesh was weak. His fleshy nature was in rebellion against his spirit and he knew it but still felt justfied by his war-weariness. He knew he would find any amount of comfort from his wives with the slightest gesture but for a reason he could not understand he didn't want that right then.
"How contrary the flesh is!" he said to himself, annoyed at being trapped by the things he so often preached against. A stubbornness of mind seized him and he lay helpless in its tight grip. Only ten minutes to the breakfast bell - what would he say? And if he did go, he knew he wouldn't know what to say. Suszana and Andreea might understand him, and maybe myself, but the others wouldn't. And he didn't want the hassel of explaining something he couldn't explain and didn't want to explain.
When he felt like this it was all he could do to pray. He would always force out the Lord's Prayer - that was no problem, because it was habitual - but he never felt compelled to pray with power unless he was under demonic attack, and then he would launch out with the whole of his inner spiritual cavalry. It was this middle-ground, a kind of purgatory, which got him the most, because he was both left alone and left himself alone. It was neutral space in which to float as though in suspended animation. He liked it, as far as anyone can 'like' such things. He wondered if Simon Stylites, the Christian aescetic who spent the whole of his life on top of a pillar, had ever had such feelings.
The buzzer in his room rang. It was Hanna.
"Breakfast in five minutes, darling!" came her cheerful voice, and he felt guilty for not wanting to go to her and the others. He made a snap decision.
"Coming," he said back, "but I'm not much in the mood for talking, OK?"
"All right, darling. I'll tell the others," and she was off-line and, to his great relief, without even questioning him further. Hanna was turning out to be like Suszana and Andreea in many ways and I was happy for Stan and for us all.
Stan arrived at the breakfast table which, having got the message from Hanna, grew silent at his approach. He said Grace and everyone tucked into breakfast. Hanna and Andreea were sitting next to him, which made him relax. He ate his meal without a word, hugged everyone, and then disappeared back to his room. It had been a strain for some not to launch into a barrage of questions, and I could see three or four sister-wives champing at the bit, but everyone was marvelous and let him be. Hanna did most of the talking, filling in the gaps in our knowledge about the Estonian visit as we questioned her. Stan was evidently satisfied by her account.
Eveyone was keenly interested to know more about Elisa and Salme who were due to visit us in a little over three month's time, together with Hilda and Silvia who wanted to look around the colony and meet the others. Elisa and Salme would be staying permanently, to marry Stan and join the family. Hanna painted a fascinating picture of the two women and everyone agreed it would be a blessing to meet them. The conversation wandered and then everyone broke up for the day's routine.
Björn arrived at 9 a.m. to see Stan and I told him that he was out of sorts and wanted to rest a little longer before engaging in colonial activities again. The trip to Estonia had taken a lot out of him. But Björn was persistent, saying that important decisions needed to be taken and that only Stan could give the final word on them. There was an urgent need for a business meeting to consider all the various projects now underway.
"No-one has spoken to Stan since he got back yesterday," I said, not knowing that he had earlier spoken with Karl, until Björn put me right. I was flustered now, not knowing what to do or say and for the first time I felt irritated that Stan was locking himself away.
"Aren't you as his number two entitled to make decisions in Stan's absence?" I asked him.
"But Stan isn't absent," spluttered Björn, who was himself becoming irritated. "There are important decisions that need to be taken which have already been postponed too long because of his trip to Estonia. Lars and I have to see him now."
I found myself in a quandry, feeling sympathy for both parties simultaneously.
"I'll try to speak with him. Would you wait here a moment, Brother Björn?" I said.
He nodded and I set off in mild trepidation towards Stan's room. I knocked but there was no reply. I knocked again and heard a groan from within which sent my heart pounding. What was wrong with him? I had never known him this way before. I dared not knock again so I scribbled an urgent note on a piece of paper and slid it under the door.
A minute later the door was unlocked and a voice said: "Tell Björn and Lars that I'll meet them in the Conference Centre in ten minutes."
I was relieved and hurried back to the front door. Björn looked relieved too and hurried back to prepare a few things.
Stan emerged from his room just as I was walking away, took me by the hand and swung me round. Before I could say a word he was holding me in passionate embrace and kissed me deeply. I sighed with relief and joy and clung to him like a limpet.
"I've missed you, my love," he said sweetly to me, "but I'm a bit out of balance right now. Just give me some time to get myself together." And he was off to the front door and on his way to the Conference Centre.
My whole body was filled with warmth. I wanted him to see Tom and for all three of us to be together just for five minutes but I resisted the temptation to place demands on him. He would come along soon enough, I assured myself.
An hour later he returned haggered, having obviously loathed every minute of the meeting, but I learned that the decisions thad needed to be made had been made. He disappeared into his room again and once more we had an absent husband.
Stan sat down at his desk and noticed a small brown leather-bound book written by an American minister about a century before. He opened it idly and his eyes fell on the opening words of a sermon about self-sacrifice. What he read made him shake in his chair:
"It was because He would save others that He could not save Himself. The soldier in battle cannot save himself and save his country. The mother cannot spare herself and save her child. Jesus could have saved Himself, but what would have been the fate of sinners?
"Three little children wandered from home one afternoon. Evening found them playing on the sea-shore. It grew suddenly dark and cold, and they could not return. In the morning they were found, the two youngest sleeping warm and safe under coverings of garments and sea-weeds, and little Mary, the elder, lying cold and dead, with her arms yet full of sea-weeds. She had taken off nearly all her own warm clothing to cover the younger children, and then carried grass and sea-weeds to pile upon them, until she died in her loving devotion. She did not save herself, because she would save the little ones entrusted to her care."
The tears were rolling down Stan's face as he realised how, in a moment of weakness caused by tiredness, he had suddenly and unknowlingly slipped into that inner sanctum called Self. Though ministry was available to him he had foolishly tried to give it to himself at a time when he had none to give. The patriarch-leader had not been willing to become the helpless child for a while because of pride.
He went into prayer on his knees, confessed his sin, and emerged from his room half-an-hour later and went in search of each of his wives in turn, first to the bedrooms where some were cleaning, to the kitchen, washing room, and throughout the building, telling them how much he had missed them and loved them. It took him all morning to do it, minding children for a while to allow his wives to catch up on lost time caused by pausing to embrace and talk with him, but he did it nonetheless. He bent down over little Tom and stroked his thin, whispy hair. Joy surged through by bosom and for a second I was transported into another world of time and space.
Over the following week Stan regained his composure and at length became his usual self, much to everyone's relief and delight. Björn had felt guilty dragging him to the meeting especially seeing the anguish on his face during it, and wished he could have found another solution. The two men reconciled and the business of Kadesh-Naphtali was once more in full swing.
Stan never forgot what he called his 'Helsinki Experience'. It was a reminder to him that everyone, irrespective of their maturity in, or commitment to, Christ was vulnerable in fleshy matters. The soul does not have a limitless capacity and is definitely mortal, and though such might seem to be an obvious statement for someone who is older, when you are young - whether in the flesh or the spirit (or both if you are lucky) - it is not always so obvious. Having an older husband helped me and others of my age maintain a proper focus on these things even though at times it was hard to actually empathise and put ourselves in his position. The confirming witness of his older wives - Suszana, Isabel and Kryztina - certainly helped, though.
Autumn4 rolled by, the harvest was gathered and stored or marketed. The apple crop was an excellent one though not all the apple types were suitable for storage. These we converted into either jam, purée or apple juice. It was a busy time, as it always is, getting ready for the harsh winter months. And amidst all this activity were the autumnal festivals of Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles. Building projects that were unfinished had to be rushed so that they would be ready to withstand the rain, snow and ice to come.
Soon everywhere was a carpet of leaves as the trees shed their leaves, and I was reminded of my original visit to Raj when for the first time I was inducted into the polygamous way of life. Here I was, now, in Sweden, and with a son of my own to add to the Królewiec Fourteen.
Each month I would write a detailed letter home. In early November Mom became seriously ill and passed away peacefully to be with her Lord before I was able to return home to Missouri. My only consolation was that one day I would meet with her again in that blessed place to which all believers go and I only wished I could have told her about her son-in-law and grandson.
"She knows now," said Stan smiling, as he sat opposite me holding my hands during one of those moments when I suddenly felt alone. I looked up at him, puzzled, my eyes still moist from the sadness of my loss.
"What does she know?" I asked, wiping away a tear with my hand.
"That you are married and have a son - and because she is in that perfect place where there is only truth, she will be happy," he said, reassuringly.
"Do you really think so?" I asked.
"I'm sure of it. What you were never able to tell her in life she now knows in death. And what is best of all, she will only ever know the joy of this revelation."
I sniffed and smiled. "Yeah, I guess ... still, it would have been nice to introduce you and Tom to her in the flesh."
"I understand," Stan continued, "but you will be able to introduce us in the resurrection, and that'll be a lot better!"
I began to chuckle. "Yes, but there won't be any surprise, Stan, will there?"
"Oh, I don't know. I think even I'll be surprised when I see myself there ..."
I laughed. He had a way of cheering me up by getting me focussed on the eternal realm. But I didn't give up so easily.
"Hey, Tom'll be grown up when she sees him - she'll never see him as a baby!" I said, feeling a little sad again.
"True, but then she'll never see me as a baby either - and I was really cute ... or so my mother said."
I giggled again. I quietly thanked the Lord for this special husband.
"Besides", said Stan, "I wouldn't be at all surprised if she has been shown a record of parts of your life since you left home."
"Do you really think that happens?" I asked, getting my hopes up again.
"I don't see why not," said Stan seriously now. "I don't know for sure, of course, but if I were in God's position I'd want to show my family my photograph album, and what better way than to give a heavenly video presentation."
I paused, wondering just how much Mom might be shown but Stan read my thoughts. "Don't worry, darling, I'm sure your mother won't be shown our first shower together at Raj."
I laughed and the sorrow seemed to diminish again. When you focus on the eternities, temporal loss doesn't seem so bad. But you can never remove it, and Stan never tried to do that. He understood the therapeutic and spiritual need for mourning, just as Yah'shua taught in His Sermon on the Mount:
"Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted."5
Stan immediately gave me permission to fly out to the funeral but then I was faced with a dilemma. What would I do about Tom? I couldn't easily leave him behind - I didn't want to lose my mother's milk, which I risked doing if I was away too long, and I worried about weakening the bond between us even though I knew one of the others would have been prepared to breast-feed him for me. But if I brought him, what would I say? Dad would be both happy and shocked and I wasn't sure whether it was fair to burden him with the shock of a surprise marriage and grandchild at such a tragic time. Someone would also be bound to notice my swollen breasts, especially if they started leaking.
"Stan, darling, I don't know what to do - please help me!" I was desperate and could find no solution. I began to deeply regret not telling them about my marriage earlier, not a healthy thing to do when you're all emotionally worked up.
My sister-wives were roughly evenly divided amongst the 'go-homers', the 'stay-putters'. And the 'go-homers' were divided between those who thought I should take Tom with me and those who thought I should leave him behind with one of the nursing sister-wives (even Misha and Sonja volunteered to look after him).
Stan refused to give his advice, which he knew would weigh heavily with me, until everyone else had given their opinion.
"There is no perfect solution because none of them are satisfactory emotionally-speaking," he finally said. "If you take Tom with you you will both make your father very happy and make his sadness worse. I remember when Stanisław, Jr. was born right after my own father died - it was a great comfort to my mother, though on balance it didn't lessen her grief that much. She didn't know I was a polygamist then, so my case history isn't much help. My own opinion is that you should go alone, leave Tom with one of your sister-wives, but not stay long. Your father will have plenty of other relatives to comfort him in his sorrow even though I know your being there will mean such a lot to him. If you milk yourself regularly you should be able to keep your milk supply going and your breasts won't get too large. Wear loose fitting dresses. It's possible someone might notice something but under the circumstances I doubt they'll say much. Go for a week, no more - one day travelling there, five days there, and one day to come back. Maybe you could make it a bit less, but not any longer, for Tom's sake. You can say you've been given a week's leave by your employer, which is me, and that'll be perfectly true. That's my advice. I don't say it's God's will - that's what you have to find out for yourself before you ring your father tomorrow."
I was so grateful for Stan's advice. If he had said stay at home in Sweden I would have found that hard. I wanted to take Tom, but that was only my heart talking. When I sat and thought about it calmly, I concluded that Stan was right.
I left Tom in Sarah-Jane's care after I tried feeding him on all those who were nursing because he seemed to take to her most naturally and seemed happiest there. I was a bit afraid that he would reject them all and he would have to be bottle-fed whilst I was away because I didn't want him to reject me when I got home. No-body bottle-fed except Isabel because she had inverted nipples and coundn't feed that way anyway.
Leaving Tom behind was hard - really hard - but once I got my thoughts on Dad it got easier. I will never regret going back. In the end I stayed only four days but was still away for a week because of all the flight connections. I returned home absolutely emotionally and physically drained both from jet-lag and the trauma of the funeral and being at home. I was really afraid that my milk would dry up but praise Yahweh it didn't. And Tom didn't seem to miss me too much, for frankly he was spoiled by the others. And Sarah-Jane had the time of her life nursing both Tom and her own Shallum.
The death of a parent is not an easy thing and when I got home Stan spent a lot of time with me with the others' agreement. Dad and I got really close together which was good, only now I had another problem - he wanted to come and visit me in Sweden. He said that he missed me even more now that Mom was gone and that he would have flown out before but was too worried about Mom's health. The problem is he would want to see the school I worked in and everything about Kadesh-Naphtali. I was more stressed when I got back than I had been before I had left!
Stan came to the rescue. "You'll go crazy worrying about this, my love. You must put it in the Lord's hands. He will show you a way. You know we'll be having a Conference here in April - you could invite him then when there are lots of people around. We can always have a fortnight's vaccation from schooling so all you'd have to show him are the classrooms. He could meet some of us, especially the men, and then you could take him sightseeing in Stockholm or into the countryside."
"But what about Tom??" I cried in near desperation.
"Oh, I don't think you need worry about him," said Sarah-Jane grinning. "He won't be able to talk much by then and he'll probably call you 'Hélène' instead of 'Mom' like all the little ones do until they're about two or three years old, because all they ever hear is your first name. And you can go off for the day, or even a day or two, and he'll be fine. Your trip to the States proved that, didn't it, honey?"
I breathed a sigh of relief. It was true. Tom had managed fine without me. He had slept in Sarah-Jane's bed with her and when she was busy Anna, Andreea and Isabel had looked after him. It was amazing to see how practical polygamy could be when everyone helped out, and to see how secure Tom felt amongst so many even though he was very small.
I began to praise the Lord - and I mean, really praise Him - for creating this special family. It was just so ... wonderful!
Selma Lagerlöf, The Story of Gösta Berling
This page was first created in 2002
Last updated on 5 March 2009
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