Snow crunched under her boots as she walked alone under a full December moon. A horse snorted from a nearby corral as a greeting, vapor rising from its flared nostrils. Janice gave him a wistful smile and passed on, digging her ungloved hands deeper into her jacket.
Welcoming light spilled outside the farmhouse windows behind her, staining the cold snow with a false sense of yellow warmth. She didn’t look back, but moved forward, trekking a path deeper into the woods.
Clouds scudded across the moon, making shadows dance over the whitened landscape. A quick wind played with the tips of the towering evergreens, brushing fresh snow from their boughs in hushed whispers. A deer darted in front of her, and then disappeared. She followed its path to find it with three others, in a small clearing, drinking from a brook.
Gentle puffs of snow began to fall like sprinkles of starlight. She made her way to a boulder to silently watch. Moments later, below the cold white moon, she looked up into the nighttime sky and cried. The sobs came uncontrollably, causing the deer to raise their heads and bound away.
Wiping her face, she whispered, “God, if you are there, help me. I’ve prayed. I’ve done everything I’ve ever been taught to do.” She paused, drew a breath and raised a clinched fist. “Where are you? What have I done?” Her cries were met with a stony silence. “Why did you take my baby!” She screamed. “Why did you let her die!”
Snow fell harder; white fairies, dancing with an unearthly grace in the night. Parchment-like sheets falling through the light of the waxing moon; each unique, some melting as they brushed her cheek, some whisked helter-skelter by her very breath.
Suddenly transfixed by the scene, her eyes tried to focus on each one, but found it impossible. Snow upon snow fell before her, but for reasons unknowable, one flake in particular stood out from the rest.
It appeared to have words written across its translucent surface; words that glowed with a golden light against its frozen watermarks. The parchment like sliver of snow paused, and grew in size before her, allowing her to read its luminescent words with a gasp:
You need to know, I love you. I always have. I always will. Nothing can ever change that. And you need to know that this love I feel, this priceless portion of God, I would never have known without you.
When I was growing in your womb, when you talked to me, sang to me, these were like prayers, tender arms of love, reaching out surrounding me in a holy embrace. It comforted me as surely as the sweet breath of God sustained me. No child could ask for a greater gift. Sometimes you told me you couldn’t find the words you wanted to say, but I was part of you, Mom, I knew your heart - words weren’t important.
When I died, you shared your grief with your friends, and even in those silent moments, heads bent and touching brow to brow – Gabriel calls it the language of a suffering soul, you were teaching me love. Your friends, sharing your anguish, taught me the example of the Holy Spirit always within us.
I’ve done a little bragging about you up here, Mom, about the earthly things you taught and told me to expect. But I also mentioned how sad you are. Jeremiah heard this and asked to remind you of what you read once from his works in the Bible - that God’s plan for you is to give you a future and a hope. That’s so true, Mom. Just wait, you’ll see.
I know I’ve missed sharing your love of horses with you, but do not grieve me, for I am and always will be here; in your heart. Listen for me, for I will whisper in your ear. Find me in the hoof beats of our rides together that you promised; I will be saddled beside you, riding the wind. I will be with you to meet each sunrise, thundering across the fields. I will be with you at sunset, to rein in the closing day.
God promise, our trails forever shared, Angela
The snowflake was whisked by the wind, Janice reached to hold it. It paused on her fingertips and dissolved. Some words written on paper miss their mark; some penned on flakes of melting snow never do.
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