by L. H. Hall
In the days
and weeks that followed, Deejay slept most of the time, unless we
wanted her to, like in the middle of the night. She'd wake up at
all hours and decide it was time to exercise her lungs. Most of the
time a meal would satisfy her, but there were those times when the
five of us took turns walking the floor with her.
If we held
her long, regardless of the hour, we usually went to the lake to
take a bath. The leaves were fine in her cradle or if we were
sitting down, but they were so slick, it was hard to carry her in
them. The moss was a little help, but it leaked and seldom kept us
clean. That did not stop us from loving her. We all considered it
worth the trouble to have her in our arms.
dogs loved her. If we were out of the room for even a moment, and
she started to cry, one of the dogs would be by her cradle, and two
or three would be barking for us to see about her. In the mornings
and evenings we would take her cradle out onto the patio. The dogs
would form a ring around her, as if guarding her. If she was
asleep, and one of us wanted to pick her up, the dogs would whine
before they reluctantly moved out of the way. When she was in the
west room, there was always a dog lying in the exit to the beach,
and one in the passage to the main room. Usually, when we went
through the passage, we would trip over a dog if we were not
careful. One or two dogs always lay by her cradle.
the water. She was less than a week old when Sarah and I took her
to the lake for her first swim. She kicked and paddled. We were
just a few feet apart, when Sarah said, "I'll bet she can swim."
and turned her loose in the water. She started paddling and
kicking. We did not leave her there for more than a few seconds.
When we took her out, she kept kicking and working her arms, and
started crying. She would not stop until she was in the water
again. We took her out; she started crying again. We put her back
in, and she was all right.
was nearly a month old, we took her to meet the dolphins. Sarah was
just a little timid about taking her near them, but she need not
have been. The dolphins put up a real commotion until we took her
into the water. They came up one by one to smell of her and rub
against her. They were very attentive and gentle. After a while,
Sarah straddled a dolphin. "Lets take her for her first ride." I
got onto another, and we rode slowly side by side. The big animal
seemed to sense that she needed to be careful.
Sarah and I cut up one of the ponchos and made a baby seat that I
could carry on my back when we hiked. Sarah insisted that we make
our annual trip to the Top of the World on her birthday, and there
were places on the trail that it would be difficult and dangerous to
try to carry a baby in our arms. We checked the seat out on several
short hikes. It worked well. The baby was comfortable and secure,
and I had freedom to use my arms.
1958, Sara's sixteenth birthday, the three of us set off up the
mountain. The others had begged off. The Top of the World, they
said, was special to us, but it was not their favorite place on the
island. They would rather not intrude on our special day at our
stay here long today," Sarah said when we reached the crater. We
don't need to anymore, and it's too dangerous for Deejay."
did we come up here for?" I was more than a little perturbed.
gave us a beautiful little girl. Today I want to give her back to
Him, make our vows to raise her for His service, and ask for His
blessing on His child."
beautiful idea. I would have never thought of such a thing."
first got pregnant, I was praying; asking God's blessing on my
baby. He asked me to give her back to Him, and place her in His
care. I didn't know what to do, but He has been so good to us.
Surely he would take care of our baby. I said, 'Yes.' Then He told
me that he would give her back to us to raise, but we must teach
her, and raise her for His service."
you tell me?"
didn't tell Sarah when he took Isaac to the mountain, to sacrifice
him. When he got to the mountain, God didn't want Isaac's life. He
only wanted Abraham to be willing."
"This was a
vow I made to God. I thought you would hear from God too if it was
necessary. In a way, it's a sacrifice for me. I am giving up of my
child. From today, I will be God's handmaiden, raising God's
child. You are my husband, my head, under God. I must be subject
to your decision. If God hasn't talked to you about this, you--you
don't have to, but I'm asking you to join me. Let me keep my vow to
maybe, this is what dad used to call dedicating a baby to the Lord.
People would bring their babies, and he would take them and pray
over them, and give them back to their parents. I have thought that
we should dedicate Deejay, but I didn't contemplate it as deeply as
you have. I just thought it was a ceremony, a ritual that needed to
be performed. Naturally, we'll do it together, but I want to think
about it. I want it to be as real to me as it is to you. Can I
have a little time to draw close to the Lord?"
The baby needs to be fed, anyway." She took the fussing infant out
of the carrier and began to feed her, singing quietly.
I sat with
my back against the north end of the shelter, and prayed, "Lord, I
want to give Deejay to you, and raise her for your service, like
Sarah says, but I really want to understand the depths of what I am
doing? Please help me to understand."
inside me, that I had heard so often during the last seven years,
and know to be the Lord; said, "Timmy, you and Jamie were given to
me when you were babies. So were the girls. For reasons of my own,
I took you and raised you myself. I have told you before that your
parents needed the test; but also, you are not the same person you
would have been if you could have depended on your parents for
whatever you needed. You had to depend on me. Your brother and the
girls are different too for the same reason. I have prepared the
five of you for something special. That doesn't mean I'll take
Deejay. Many thousands of children are given to me. Only a few,
very few leave their parent's home, even when the parents break
their vows to raise my children to serve me. I can't share with you
what I have in mind for Deejay. It is enough that she will need
special parents, and you and Sarah are special parents. That's why
she was given to you in the first place. I can assure you, that if
you do not give her to me, you will deny her, Sarah, and yourself a
haven't even considered not giving her to you. Everything I have or
ever will have is yours. I just want to know what I am doing before
I do it."
said, you give up ownership of her. I gave her to you. She is
yours to do with her as you please. If you give her back to me,
she'll be mine to do with as I choose. I can take her in death. I
can have a wave wash her into the sea, as I did you. I can take her
to heaven as I did Elijah, or I can leave her with the couple I
entrusted her with in the first place, to love and raise. Just
remember, I love her more than you do."
"I am ready,
Thank you Lord."
Timmy, you will all be blessed. You'll never regret this day,
anymore than your mother regrets the day she gave you to me."
I sat there
for a few minutes to see if there was anything else. I heard no
more. "Are you through?"
There was no
"I think we
need a bath," she said smiling through her tears.
Deejay at arms' length while Sarah got into the water. Then I
handed her the baby. "You will rob yourself of a blessing if you do
this grudgingly or fearfully."
crying from fear or distress. I'm crying for joy"
was bathed, I took her, and Sarah came out of the lake. We climbed
the rock steps left from the year before to the Top of the World.
We stood facing each other, holding our precious daughter between
Almighty, Lord of the universe, our Heavenly Father, I thank you for
your many blessings. I thank you that you always hear our prayers.
I thank you for my lovely wife. I thank you for my family down at
the cave, and I thank you for blessing our home with this beautiful
child. Father, this is Debra Julia Davis, our precious daughter;
whom we love with all of our hearts; whom we cannot care for without
your help and guidance. Therefore, as the head of our home, under
you, I join my wife in fulfilling her vow."
Sarah continued, "I am too young and too inexperienced to know how
to be the right kind of mother to raise our daughter without your
help so I give her back to you. She is yours now to do with as you
wish. Take her in your blessed arms, love her and bless her. If
you give her back to us to raise, give me . . . No. Give us the
wisdom and determination to care for her, to teach her, and to
prepare her for your service in the special calling that you have on
her life. I pledge myself to you to be your handmaiden, subject to
the husband you have placed over me."
I continued. "Give me the wisdom to lead my family in the paths of
righteousness. Help me to deal fairly and maintain the high
standards necessary to prepare your child, whom you have placed in
our care, for her calling in your service. I thank you for
returning her to us now. In Jesus' name, Amen"
As we lay in
our bed in the west room that night, Sarah said. "Timmy, you didn't
take Deejay from me, while I was praying on the mountain."
didn't put her into my arms, when I was finishing, either."
us had to ask, "Did you?" at the end of our statements. From the
time Sarah asked the Lord to take her in His arms, until I said, ".
. . Your child, whom you have placed in our care . . ." neither of
us were holding her. Deejay had been blessed. She was no longer
ours. She was the Lord's child left with us to love and raise.
the Lord always seem so much closer on the Top of the World? or even
on the mountain?" She changed the subject. "We know He's always
with us wherever we are. He lives within our hearts, but up there,
He makes himself so much more real. Miracles happen in our lives on
the Top of the World that don't happen any where else; such as, us
rising off the rock at the wedding, and Deejay being taken from us
always with us, and we do see miracles nearly every day. The only
reason I can think of, that he meets us in that unique way, is that
we expect that special union with Him up there."
that first night on the Top of the World, when you were in that
dungeon with rats gnawing at you, when you really needed to feel His
"How could I
ever forget that?"
"We both had
a miraculous experience, but I don't think I would ever have
returned; however, you associated the experience with the place and
believed it would happen again if we returned. I was almost angry
the first birthday you dragged us all up there, but it was your
birthday. It was my duty to make you happy. Again the Lord met us,
and the place became special to me also. After that we both came to
expect those glorious experiences in that place, and He never failed
to meet us there. We could have the same experiences right here in
our bed, at Lake Four, or you and the girls could have them in the
ravine. You said it. He is in us and with us always, no matter
where we are."
being up there tonight. Do you think we might leave Deejay with the
others sometimes and go up there, because it is so special, and we
have such a short time left."
"If you can
figure out how to feed Deejay down here when you're up there."
to wait a few months until she can drink well out of a cup. Then
maybe she could drink goat milk for one night, once in a while."
can do that, but won't it hurt you awful bad not to feed the baby?"
think it will in a few months. I'll surely miss that place when
that's twice you have referred to leaving the island soon. Do you
know something I don't? Does it have anything to do with the reason
you were crying on the mountain this afternoon?"
experienced a visit with the Lord on the mountain, Timmy. We have
another year, but not two before someone finds us."
sure I'm your wife? Are you sure Deejay is our daughter?"
my life on it."
"I had hoped
it might be sooner."
tell the others?"
"It was your
revelation. What do you think?"
even sure I should tell you. If you hadn't asked, I wouldn't have.
I think they will be here before Deejay's second birthday, but I
know they will come before I am eighteen. The Lord said, 'Sarah,
you will only have one more birthday before you are discovered.
You may come back for others, but you will leave before your second
watching the sea on your next birthday. Until then we'll be safe."
think we'll be in any danger?"
really. The Lord is with us, but we have no idea what to expect.
It's kind o' scary."
"I know what
you mean. I wish whoever finds us would go away again and tell our
parents where we are, and ask them to come here. If we could get
reacquainted with them here on our island, it wouldn't be so scary.
At least we'd know somebody out there before we left. God can you
please work that out for us?" Sarah prayed. "We don't even know
our own parents any more."
we know Jesus. He'll be with us and protect us, wherever we are."
I pulled her closer to me. "Let's pray and see if the Lord will
make Himself as real to us here, as he does on the Top of the
snuggled even closer against me. "Lord God Almighty, in Jesus'
precious Name, we ask you to make your presence known to us like you
always have on the mountain. We know you are always with us, but it
is so nice just to feel that unity with you,and each other we have
always enjoyed on the mountain. Meet us like that, here, tonight.
Let us experience you and that total unity with each other. Thank
needed to be said. A warm glow settled over us. My eyes were
closed, and I know we never left the room, but it was like we were
on the Top of the World, looking out over the sea in the star light,
in total harmony with God, and each other. In the far distance I
heard Deejay whimper one time, and suddenly she was there with us on
Sarah's breast. I knew that she too was one with us. I gazed at
the stars and sea until I lost consciousness. I knew that we might
leave the island, but the Top of the World would always be with us
to be revisited whenever we needed it. Thank you Lord.
None of us
moved during the night. It was the first time Sarah had not been
awakened by hungry Deejay since she was born; and surprisingly, we
were neither wet nor dirty.
us remembered getting Deejay. We both thought that we were on the
Top of the World, and all the others denied being in our room, or
even hearing the baby cry.
"We can go
to the Top of the World any time we want." Sarah hugged me. "Isn't
because the memory of it is burned so deeply in our hearts; it's
easy for Jesus to remind us. I know Jesus wasn't talking about
things like this, when he said the Holy Spirit would bring all
things to our remembrance, but that's what happened."
the Top of the World is so precious to us."
"And we know
that Jesus is everywhere, not just on the mountain."
Almost over night, Deejay scooted, sat, crawled, pulled up to
things, walked, and even fell off the patio into the lake below.
Fortunately, she had been swimming since she was a week old; and
most importantly, she had God's protecting hand on her. She had
been up by the cave one minute. The next, some of dogs were jumping
off the patio, and others were looking over the edge, barking.
Sarah and I hit the water about the same time, but when we came up
we found our year-old daughter splashing in the water like she had
done something big, as she had seen the rest of us do.
I spent the
remainder of that day, and the next, putting a fence across the
patio. Jamie thought it was a nuisance because he could not run and
jump into the water without first climbing over the low fence, but
he said his little sister was worth it.
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.