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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)

TITLE: Finding Forgiveness
By Ruth Neilson


“‘Into your hands, I commit my spirit,’ such simple words that literally shook the heavens and earth that dark day. But, that was not where the true power lay. Instead, the power was found in another equally simple statement, ‘Father forgive them...’” Nicola rehearsed in front of her floor length mirror. She was at a loss as to why the Bible study that she had just joined asked her to speak.

Maybe they were just desperate for speakers and she looked like a good target to be one.

She was a new student, a foster child; a person who moved as the state so willed. But, she soldiered on. Mamma and Papá would have wanted her to do so. Her family was preparing to move. Arrangements were made for her to be met by her cousin in one of the New York airports. They had promised to follow Nicola in a few days, but they never arrived.

The entire plan fell through; the promised cousin was found, murdered in his home the same day that she arrived in New York. Unwanted and effectively abandoned at the age of five, Nicola was placed within the state’s care, temporarily, until her parents could be found again. Ten years later, Nicola still held onto the vain hope that they would come for her.

She still had the small gold cross that her parents had given her for her fifth birthday...three day’s before they had vanished. Unconsciously, she reached up and touched it as she licked her lips and stared at her reflection for a long moment before continuing.

“The forgiveness that is found in and on the cross. That is the same forgiveness that I offered my parents for...” Her voice halted and she took a deep breath to try to calm herself down...

This was the hard part for Nicola. She hated telling her testimony—it wasn’t that she hated her testimony or that she didn’t have one. It was because it was painful. She sighed and turned away from the mirror, shoving her pitch black, waist length hair away from her face. Could she really be open with these virtual strangers?

She glanced over at the crucifix that adorned the pristine whiteness of her room. Her eyes focused on the anguished look of the Christ, He had suffered so much...for her. He loved her before she knew Him. How could she not offer her own sorrows as a sacrifice?

She nodded once as what seemed to be an unspoken commandment passed between her and the Christ-figure. She had to be open. She had been praying that she would find a home...a real home; but a couple adopting a person her age was nearly impossible. And no one knew for sure what happened to her Mama and Papa for all she knew they were still alive. For now, all she could do was hope, pray and wait.

“That is the same forgiveness that I now can offer to my parents for abandoning me to whatever fate God had for me. I hope that one day I will learn what happened to my parents, and in the same, find my fate in this world.”

Nicola smiled as she gazed at the reflection of the crucifix. She was able to finally embrace her past and present situations.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/25/06
This is a very good story; one's heart aches for this young lady.

A few quibbles: an unnecessary apostrophe in "days" and a run-on sentence or two. And I think your best ending sentence is the next-to-last.

But, oh! How I long to know if she ever reunites with her parents! Great tension in this piece!
Marilyn Schnepp 08/27/06
A very well written story of dispair, the cross, and forgiveness. I liked it. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Jan Ross08/30/06
Very nice story. Aside from a few small items, this is a very well-written story and communicated very well. Good work! :)