Jenna struggled with herself as she yanked the car door open. “ I don’t want to go to small group tonight. Don’t feel like being with people and bearing my soul. Don’t really even feel like reading the Bible.”
The shining figure beside her gently touched the side of Jenna’s face. Jenna turned and saw the book on the seat beside her, John’s Bible. The figure wrapped an arm around Jenna’s shoulder enveloping her in a soft glow. Tears threatened, fell, following the worn path down her cheek.
“God, I just don’t know if I can.” Her cry mingled with the rumble of the engine coming to life. The figure settled beside her, the glow surrounding them both. Jenna drove past brightly lit houses, shiny Christmas trees, people laughing, pulling packages out of their cars to carry into their warm, happy homes.
Was it just last Christmas that she had been one of them, rushing in to hide John’s present before he got home? It seemed so long since the accident, like forever; each day a new, black eternity to survive. The dark hole where she lived was so deep she couldn’t remember when she’d last seen light. Light and John had left together.
Just lately, occasionally the black seemed a little lighter, a dark shade of gray. Maybe since she’d started going to the group? She always went to church. John would be disappointed if she didn’t, and she did feel comforted there, holding John’s Bible, opening to the right places, seeing his underlining and notes. It was easy to slip in and out without talking to anyone. Once-in-a-while Megan would catch her though. A couple months ago she finally coerced her into coming to the small group at her house.
Meg - a small smile touched Jenna’s lips. They’d been friends forever, even before John. Everything was measured in Before John and Since John. Her smile faded; the glow intensified. Jenna felt warmth, peace, settling over her. Her grip on the steering wheel eased. She was so blessed to have a friend like Megan; someone who’d been there BJ and SJ. Her lips curved slightly again.
She sat for a minute in the dark after parking the car. “OK, here we go.” With a deep breath she stepped out into the night. She walked slowly to the house, the silent, shining figure beside her. Inside it was like the homes she had passed – warm, happy, colorful and bright; brighter than she new in fact.
As she joined friends the angel with her joined the others already there. They formed a shining circle around the room, lighting every dark corner. A few black shapes shrunk back, searching for hidden places to take up surveillance, but giving up scurried outside. This room, this house, was claimed in the strong name of Jesus, surrounded by the shining ones. They had no place there now.
Jenna was welcomed with warm hugs and a cup of hot cider. This was one of those gray times where a little light entered her black world and she felt like maybe dawn was still out there somewhere. Slowly everyone settled down and Meg’s husband opened in prayer. The shining protectors moved in close around the group, each standing behind the one they guarded.
An attempt was made at singing a few Christmas carols which mostly ended up being a joyful noise. Jenna didn’t sing, but she laughed with the others. It felt good.
People in the group started sharing the challenges and triumphs they had experienced that week. Oh no! Jenna shrunk lower into the corner of the couch. Challenges? Triumphs? Had she felt either? Probably. They just didn’t matter enough to remember. It was quiet. Jenna felt all eyes on her. The angel behind her reached out and placed strong, gentle hands on her shoulders. She looked up and saw love shining back at her from around the room.
“My challenge this week was to come here tonight. My triumph is making it. You’re here for me every week, praying for me and caring. I still never really want to come, but when I do there’s a brightness here that’s just enough to make my black world a little gray. Maybe you don’t know how beautiful gray can be, but for me it’s that place between dark and light that makes me believe that light is still out there. Thank you for turning my world gray, and helping it get a little lighter every week.”
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