Trena glanced around at the kids walking from their cars to the school building. I hope Ron’s not late today, she thought, just as his car turned into the lot.
“Hey, Ron,” she greeted him with a hug.
“Hi, Sis, what’s up?”
“Well, you didn’t call me back last night. Is everything okay?”
“Yeah. Uncle Tony helped me work on my car and we were in the garage real late. Sorry.”
“That’s okay. I miss you, though.”
“How come you miss your older, bossy brother so much?”
“Ron, you’ve always looked out for me.”
“Yeah, well, no need for that anymore, huh?”
“Anyway, I want you to know, I’m being baptized Sunday night. Will you come?”
“Isn’t that kinda like a dunk tank? Do I get to throw the first ball?”
Trena laughed at her brother. He never takes anything serious. “Yeah, it’s kind of like that. Will you come?”
“You know I’m not into that religious junk, Sis, but I’ll think about it.”
“Thanks, Ron. Have a great day!”
“You, too, Sis.”
Trena mused over her brother as she opened her locker. I hope he comes. He always makes me smile. Maybe I won’t be so nervous if he’s there.
Separated when their Dad went to jail, it was really hard living apart after relying so long on Ron to look after her. Thankfully, their Aunts and Uncles had kept watch over the situation for years, prepared to help by inviting them into their homes when necessary. At least they were both with family – and in the same school.
Trena tried not to let it bother her that Ron seemed to avoid her since she started attending youth group with their cousin Sheri. Trena shared with him what happened one night.
“You know, all that ‘religious’ stuff Aunt Karen has mentioned over the years makes sense to me now! The youth group leader talked about being lost, alone, and hurting. I was really feeling all that since we aren’t together anymore. Then, he talked about sin. I had always been so angry at our parents that I never looked at myself. Then he told about Jesus’ gift to take the blame for my sin. I just knew I had to go forward. I believed what he said, and wanted it more than anything I ever wanted before.”
“Hey, kiddo, that’s great! I’m real happy for you. I’m meeting the guys, though, and I’m running late, gotta go. See ya, Sis.”
As Trena waited off to the side, at the front of the church, she saw Ron sitting toward the back. When their eyes connected, Ron held up a ball in one hand and gave her ‘thumbs up’ with the other. She flashed him a big smile as her jitters vanished.
“…I forgive my parents, the way Jesus forgave me, and loved me while I was still a sinner. So, that’s why I’m here today – to show outwardly what Jesus has already done for me on the inside.”
“I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
As Trena stepped out of the water, Ron stepped out of the auditorium.
Trena was relieved to see Ron’s car in the driveway when she returned home.
“Ron is in the den waiting for you, honey,” Uncle Chip said with a wink.
“Why didn’t you stay for coffee and celebrate with me,” she asked as she entered the cozy den where she now lived. Tossing her bag on the floor, she hugged her brother and sat down.
“Well, at first, the things you said made me mad. So I left. Then, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted what you described. But, I don’t want to be all religious. Basically, I felt confused. For the first time in your life, it seemed like you didn’t need me anymore. And I couldn’t imagine forgiving our parents so easily. Next thing I knew, I was pulling into the driveway here. Uncle Chip and Aunt Karen had me come in to wait for you, so I talked with Sheri and them for a while.”
“I love you, Ron. I’ll always need you. And I never said forgiveness was easy. Are you okay?”
“Well, I am now! After all we’ve been through together; it looks like we both have a new start.” He tossed her the ball he had in his hand and gave her ‘thumbs up’.
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