Joseph Anderson Donetti
More Adventures With Mac
Joseph Anderson Donetti -- More Adventures With Mac, Chapter 10
Mac's Big, Huge, Colossal Problem
Joseph Anderson Donetti pressed his nose against the window in the kitchen door. It didn't help him to see any better. In fact, his breath fogged up the glass, and he couldn't see anything at all. Joseph rubbed the glass clear with his fist.
"What is the matter with you?" G.M. asked, putting down her cup of tea. "You have been pacing back and forth and peering out the window ever since Mac left."
"I don't know," Joseph admitted. "I guess I'm just wondering why Mr. Evans wanted Mac to go home so quickly. He sounded weird. He didn't ask how I was or what project we were working on or anything. And he always does." Mac's father, Mr. Evans, the sheriff of Jacksonville, had just come to G.M.'s to take Mac home but hadn't been his usual friendly self at all.
G.M. frowned. She got up and looked out the window too. "Hummm," she murmured. There wasn't much to see. Night was already falling. The lights shone from Mac's windows. But the shades were pulled so it was impossible to see anything that might be going on inside.
G.M. gave her head a shake. "Well, maybe he was just in a hurry. I'm sure if there is a problem, Mac will tell us what it is. Here," she continued, opening the pantry and handing two big potatoes to Joseph. "If you want to look out the window, stand at the sink and wash these while you are doing it."
Joseph turned on the water and began to scrub the potato skins. He divided his attention about equally between the window and what his hands were doing. "I'm done," he said.
"Great. Put them in the oven and turn it on to 400 degrees," G.M. instructed. She looked at Joseph. "What else shall we have for supper?"
Joseph was looking out the window. "Here comes Mac!" he exclaimed. He opened the back door wide.
Mac walked straight across her yard and then G.M.'s--she didn't run. She climbed the back porch steps--she didn't jump and thump. She stopped just inside the door--she didn't say a word. Joseph stared. Big tears streamed down Mac's cheeks. And then she sort of seemed to melt. She sank down onto the kitchen floor and leaned against the wall with her head in her arms.
"Close the door! Close the door!" G.M. motioned to Joseph with her hands while she talked. Then G.M. squatted down in front of Mac. She touched Mac's drooping red curls. "What in the world is the matter?" she asked softly.
Mac began to sob louder. The sound was so sad and so scary that the little hairs on the back of Joseph's neck tingled.
"Should I call her mom?" Joseph whispered to G.M.
"No!" Mac shrieked. She looked wildly from Joseph to G.M., her face all pink and puffy from crying. "Don't let him call my mom! You can't call my mom! That's the problem!"
"Go get a wet washcloth," G.M. told Joseph. She settled down on the floor beside Mac and began to rub her shoulders.
And Mac cried.
Joseph hurried down the hall to the bathroom. He grabbed a washcloth out of the cupboard and turned on the faucet. He looked at himself in the mirror. His eyes were wide. He looked scared. He was scared!
Joseph squeezed the extra water out of the washcloth. He dashed back to the kitchen and handed it to G.M. She began to wipe Mac's forehead. "Do you know what's the matter?" he whispered.
G.M. looked at Joseph. "S-h-h," her lips said.
Joseph sat down on the floor also. It seemed to be the thing to do.
And Mac cried.
They sat there together for a long, long time. Finally Mac was quiet.
"I've heard that some people feel better after a good cry," G.M. said.
Mac looked up and glared at G.M. "I feel terrible!"
"Well, then, I guess you're not one of those people," G.M. replied.
A tiny giggle escaped from somewhere inside Mac.
"Can you tell us now what the problem is?" G.M. asked.
Mac nodded. But her face scrunched all up.
Joseph was sure that if she had had any more tears left, they would be spilling out.
"I told you my mom went to the doctor today," Mac began. "And the doctor says she has cancer."
Joseph's stomach suddenly felt all hollow. He didn't know very much about cancer. But he did know that it was a very bad thing.
"Oh, Mac, I'm so sorry!" G.M. said. She put her arm around Mac's shoulder.
Mac sat quietly, leaning against G.M. Then she softly asked the horrible question. "What if my mom dies?"
"What did your mom and dad say about that?" G.M. asked her.
Mac took a deep breath. "Dad said the doctor said that mom has the best kind of cancer. That if a person has to have cancer, this is the best kind to have because most people with it can get well. But," she wailed, looking at G.M. with red-rimmed eyes, "most people doesn't mean all people. What if Mama isn't one of the people who gets well?"
"Mac!" G.M. said. "God doesn't promise us that we won't have troubles in this world. In fact, He tells us in His Word that we will have troubles. But He does promise us that He will always be with us in our troubles."
G.M. went on. "It's OK to cry, and it's OK to be sad--even very sad. But it's not OK to assume that the very worst is going to happen. We are God's children, and nothing can happen to us without His permission. And nothing that happens to us is a surprise to Him.
"And there is nobody who loves us more than God does," G.M. said firmly.
"But I'm scared," Mac whispered.
"Of course you're scared!" G.M. agreed. "But this is not the time to give up. This is the time to fight! And we will fight. Together. All of us. Our weapons are hope and trust and prayer. Lots and lots of prayer! Dear God," G.M. began, "we need to talk to You about this really big problem."