She entered her own home as usual and set her keys down on the table by the door. It was the same table, the same door with the faint creak, the same home.
Yet everything was different. Her life was fundamentally changed; she had turned a corner. This night was her new beginning, and she knew it.
She moved down the hall in the dusky silence toward her goal, the thing she needed. As soon as it had entered her mind just an hour ago, she knew it would tell the real story--it told no lies.
She hummed the tune she had heard for the first time tonight and realized it had been the singing--the music had drawn her in.
Earlier on this warm summer evening, she had been walking past an old church with a gas can in her hand, feeling stupid that she had run out. She had trudged the mile or so to the station and purchased the fuel, and was on her return trip to her car when she heard the sound.
She was intrigued, and paused to listen. She realized she could hear the choir so clearly because the doors were open, to catch any breeze that could be convinced to share its freshness with the sweating crowd inside.
She moved toward the building, then mounted the handful of steps leading to the front door. She stood warily, uncertain of why she had even made this much of a detour on her walk back to the vehicle, her busy life, and all the tasks calling out her name.
But the song was mournful, and the mood of it matched her thoughts. The soloist sang of a life that had been so hard, but now was looking up, because of Jesus, walkin' with Jesus.
When the song ended, she turned to descend the steps again, still outside the church itself, but a kindly older gentleman approached her.
"Why don't you just set that down, right here--it'll be fine. Here's a fan, and there's a spot for you there, right on the back row. Sit down, and cool yourself, and listen for a while." His eyes crinkled with kindness, and his voice was so soothing...she surprised herself by doing as he suggested.
She wasn't much of a churchgoer. In fact, she couldn't even remember the last time she had been to a service.
She was soon drawn into the singsong rhythms of the pastor's sermon, and the enthusiastic responses of his crowd, and was indeed cooling off.
But even as she was physically cooling, her soul was warming, and it seemed that the words of the reverend were somehow intended for her specifically. He was speaking about carrying a load, and how the load could be so-o-o-o heavy! He mentioned bitterness, and sorrow, and unforgiveness--all things she was intimately familiar with.
He read from a Bible, and the words were simple and direct, yet they seared her deeply: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)
When the man invited those who needed rest for their souls to come and pray, she stood.
She walked up the center aisle weeping, and barely registered a woman who touched her hand and said, "God bless you, child. You go on up, now."
At her altar of healing, she had poured out her heart to God, asking Him to forgive her, and to help her to forgive. Many gathered around her and prayed with her and for her, pressing a new Kleenex into her hand from time to time.
She stood, a different person than when she had knelt, and made her way back to her seat to retrieve her purse, and to the corner of the lobby to get the gas can, and on to her vehicle.
As she drove home, she became more and more sure that she looked different.
In the hallway, approaching the bathroom, her steps quickened. "Soon I'll know," she thought.
She gazed in the mirror.
Now that the anger was gone, she could see herself more clearly, and she was, indeed, different.
No more disfigurement that only she saw when she looked deep into her own eyes.
She was free.
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